One of the most famous landmarks in all of the United Kingdom, Buckingham Palace is the monarch’s residence in London, as well as the administrative headquarters of the royal family, located within the City of Westminster.
Always an important site of aristocracy in London, it includes a range of early 19th century designs that survive to this day and has an impressive array of over 775 rooms.
Where Is Buckingham Palace?
Buckingham Palace is situated within the borough of Westminster in central London.
It can be found to the north of Pimlico, Vauxhall and Nine Elms, on the northern side of the Thames.
There is a range of landmarks very close to it, including St James’s Park, Westminster Palace, and Westminster Abbey, all of which are just slightly to the east of it.
History Of Buckingham Palace
Before it was built into a Palace, the property on this location was known as Buckingham House.
It was built on property that belonged to the British monarchy for over 400 years, with previous properties on the grounds being built by William the Conqueror, as well as by the monks of Westminster Abbey.
Buckingham House was built by John Sheffield, later the Duke of Buckingham, in the early 1700s. It passed through the Sheffield family until it was sold to King George III in 1761, during which period it underwent its first series of renovations.
Built originally for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their children, it became known as “The Queen’s House,” a name that has stood till this day. It was George III’s son, George IV, who eventually turned his childhood home into the official royal residence.
Under the direction of architect John Nash, Buckingham House became Buckingham Palace, with additions such as rebuilding the existing east wings while also adding west, north, and south branches, as well as a large court and a triumphal arch.
However, the renovation was very costly and the Palace went under no further work, with no royal residents, until the British Parliament voted to complete the Palace.
It was then that Queen Victoria made it her London residence and, since then, it has played that role for every monarch.
Buckingham Palace Today
Buckingham Palace is placed by law under direct ownership by the reigning monarch. It is not part of the Crown Estate (the property company that owns and maintains the lands owned by the British Monarch) nor do they personally belong to the monarch (Queen Elizabeth II), like Balmoral Castle.
Rather, they are owned by the right of the Crown, so whoever is the current monarch will be the owner of Buckingham Palace until this changes.
As the London residence of the Queen, Buckingham Palace is not entirely open to visitors. However, there are guided tours throughout both the gardens and the State Rooms. At the time of writing, the visiting times for the different tours can change as a result of COVID-19 guidelines.
Both the Garden Guided Tours and the Guided Tours of the State Rooms are run on selected dates with timed admission based on when the tours were booked. However, the general opening times are as follows:
- From July to August, the tours open at 09:30 and close at 19:30, with a final admission time of 17:15.
- From September to October, the tours open at 09:30 and close at 18:30, with a final admission time of 15:15.
The State Rooms are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more detailed information, you should visit the Royal Collection Trust’s website, which has a page offering visitor information for Buckingham Palace.
Trips to the palace can be booked online, where you can find all of the following prices. The following prices are for visits to the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace, but also included are prices when this is combined with the Royal Day Out, which is a tour around some of the exterior grounds of the Palace.:
- Adult – £30 (State Rooms) / £55 (Combined with Royal Day Out)
- Young Person (18-24) – £19.50 (State Rooms) / £36 (Combined with Royal Day Out)
- Child (5-17)/Disabled – £16.40 (State Rooms) / £30 (Combined With Royal Day Out)
- All are Free to Under 5
- Group trips of more than 15 people can be booked on the site, too
As one of the most impressive and well-known palaces in all of Britain, you are sure to have a fantastic time when you do get to see Buckingham Palace up close for yourself.
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