Buckingham Palace Tours – How To Get Inside This Famous Castle

Since 1837 (and Queen Victoria) Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns. Today it's a powerful symbol of the British monarchy and one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Most impressive are the State Rooms, with treasures from the Royal Collection and paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and Canaletto.

Unlike other royal residences, like Sandringham and Balmoral Castle, Buckingham Palace is owned by the British state and is open to the public for two months of the year. Here we review our favourite tours — one combines a trip to Windsor Castle, an afternoon tea or watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Whichever you choose, remember that spaces are limited on these popular royal tours, so you must book early

Exclusive Tours Inside Buckingham Palace

Only Offered During August & September

Buckingham Palace Insiders Tour

Plus Windsor Castle Day Trip

Buckingham Palace Insiders Tour

Two Palaces in one day. After being picked up at your London hotel, you're driven to nearby Windsor Castle for 900 years of royal history. There you have Preferred Early Access, before the crowds arrive. Explore the grounds and the State Apartments before traveling to Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed.

Arriving at Buckingham Palace (the Queen's official home) you are one of the lucky few to explore the priceless artwork and the Queen's personal jewels inherited or acquired during her reign. This tour is only offered in August & September, but book now!

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The tour was amazing!!! I loved every minute of it. To be able to go inside these amazing buildings and look around was an amazing experience. Would highly recommend this tour."
– 5-Star Review

Royal London Tour with Buckingham Palace

Royal London Tour with Buckingham Palace

Craving the royal treatment (and who isn't?), sign up for this half-day tour. Stroll through St James' Park to the Royal Mews (the horse stables) on the grounds Buckingham Palace where you meet your guide for an informative tour of the stables and the royal coaches housed there.

Afterwards enter Buckingham Palace to explore Queen Elizabeth II's State Rooms and treasures from the Royal Collection. Be sure to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering in the palace gardens. Available only in August and September.

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This is really the best way to beat the crowds and get to see the Royal Mews and the Palace… Very easy access and instructions and when in London this is a must-do."
– 5-Star Review

Buckingham Palace Royal Tour + Afternoon Tea

Buckingham Palace Tour + Afternoon Tea

This activity combines a visit to Buckingham Palace with a viewing of the Changing of the Guard or a classic afternoon tea. With your guide, wander inside the royal residence for an independent audio tour. Guides are not permitted to speak inside the palace! Marvel at the chandeliers, sumptuous furnishings and treasures from the Royal Collection.

You can choose to have your royal tour include afternoon tea at a historic restaurant nearby for dainty sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and homemade preserves, cakes and pastries. Only available in August and September.

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The Palace was amazing and the best part was the tea afterwards."
– 5-Star Review

Buckingham Palace Tours – The Rest of the Year

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Not in London during August & September when the palace is open to visitors? No problem, here are some royal tours get you to the palace to see either the Changing of the Guards or the Horse Guards Parade, and combine it all with other star attractions of London…

Royal London Sightseeing Tour + Changing of the Guard

Royal London Sightseeing Tour + Changing of the Guard

This half-day Royal Tour takes you to Westminster Abbey where Prince William and Kate Middleton were wed, and Kensington Palace, where Diana, Princess of Wales, lived.

In addition you pass through St James Park to Buckingham Palace to experience the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony — military band, red tunics, bearskin hats, the whole dressed-up pageant. You also visit Trafalgar Square and see the Royal Albert Hall, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, and the Parliament buildings.

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The tour guide, was very informative. We loved seeing the Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. You should definitely take this trip if you have limited time in London. You do see some of the major sights with a little history mixed in."
– 5-Star Review

London Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

London Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

Here's a way to fit a lot of the best of London in one action-packed day. Start with a visit the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels (pictured) and then see the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace. Afterwards, relax on a sightseeing cruise down the River Thames gliding past St Paul's Cathedral and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. You also fit in a visit to Westminster Abbey and a tour of St Paul's.

We suggest you opt to include an afternoon tea at Westminster Park Plaza, or, if you're bold, a ride on the London Eye (called a "flight").

That's a lot of activity. Let's just recap a second. This full-day sightseeing tour includes —

  • Tower of London
  • Crown Jewels
  • Changing of the Guard
  • Thames River cruise
  • Westminster Abbey
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Afternoon tea (optional)
  • The London Eye (optional)

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We loved this tour. We were early in the line at Windsor Castle, which was an amazing place. We had fun in the Tower of London, the river cruise & St Paul's Cathedral. We just had a stopover at Buckingham Palace for picture taking. Our tour guide was amazing. She's very lively, animated and knowledgeable. Its like she's storytelling which makes her tour very interesting and lively. Overall, this tour is amazing!"
– 5-Star Review

Walking Tour + Priority Westminster Abbey Entrance

London Walking Tour + Priority Westminster Abbey Entrance

This fun walking tour kicks off right at Westminster Abbey, the Gothic church where virtually all the monarchs of England have been crowned, right back to William the Conquerer in 1066.

You get the chance to visit College Garden, the oldest garden in England, plus see the graves of Dickens, Tennyson and other writers. Then it's over to Buckingham Palace to experience first-hand the pomp and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard as you watch the Household Cavalry or the Queen's Foot Guards march to Buckingham Palace.

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This was terrific, we had a perfect view of the entire Changing of the Guard process. We also LOVED the info about Westminster Abbey. I can not imagine learning all we did without the expertise of our guide. Terrific way to end our trip!"
– 5-Star Review

Buckingham Palace Fun Facts

Buckingham Palace Fun Facts

Queen Victoria, was the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace, starting in 1837.

When her husband Albert died in 1861, Queen Victoria withdrew from public life and moved away from Buckingham Palace. For many years the palace was seldom used and neglected.

In 1901, King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra breathed new life into the palace with a Belle Epoque renovation.

"I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face."
– the Queen Mum

During World War I the palace escaped unscathed. However, during World War II, it was bombed seven times including the destruction of the palace chapel in 1940. Afterwards the Queen Mum famously said, "I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face." (The residential East End of London sustained some of the heaviest bombings.)

On VE Day (May 8, 1945) Buckingham Palace was the centre of British celebrations in London.

The palace contains 775 rooms — 19 state rooms, 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.

Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster and is owned by the British state.

Every year 50,000 lucky guests are invited to palace garden parties, receptions, and banquets. (Never us, we're sad to say!)

The Changing of the Guard ceremony occurs daily during the summer and every other day during the winter.