How to make the most of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms
If you said yes to all questions below, then I’m going to take you on a journey to Buckingham Palace State Rooms where the British royal family started their journey to being an aristocratic royal. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside for security reasons.
Are you a big fan of the British royal family?
Do you know that Queen Elizabeth II is the longest monarch that’s still alive in Europe since 1926? She is ranked sixth in her duration in the monarchy.
Do you want to learn more about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spending time at the Buckingham Palace State Rooms?
Have you thought about what it would be like to be in the grounds of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms? Imagine Buckingham Palace State Rooms in the 17th Century and how it has reflected itself in the present moment.
The Buckingham Palace State Rooms is one of 8 reasons to visit Buckingham Palace.
How long to visit Buckingham Palace State Rooms
When visiting the Buckingham Palace State Rooms, make sure you give yourself at least 2 hours of your time, however, you can stay there for as long as possible. There are so many rooms and items that are worth visiting.
The tour took me 2 and a half hours, and I paid £25 for the tour through the Fever App. I feel £25 is quite expensive for 2 and a half hours, you can just find the information online, however, please shop online for better deals. You can download the Fever app where you’ll find so many things to do and see in London. You can read more about my experience on the app down below.
The rooms you see online are bigger than what it is. There are so many rooms, but the sizes are quite small, and there are so many people squeezing past you that you’d have to take turns to read descriptions of items and what the rooms are used for.
Your highlights include:
The Grand Hall
Green Drawing Room
State Dining Room
Blue Drawing Room
White Drawing Room
Buckingham Palace History
King George III made Buckingham Palace his home in 1761 with his wife Queen Charlotte and their children, and it is already 318 years old. It wasn’t really a palace when he moved in, it was just a big mansion or a house, but by mid 1800s, he eventually made it into a palace, King George IV then commissioned architect John Nash to design it into a grand palace. Ever since then, his descendants, including our own Queen of England Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princes William and their kids have grown up here.
There are 19 State Rooms in Buckingham Palace where the Royal Family has been entertaining their guests and holding their meetings with Very Important People around the world, hence, this is why we call it the State Rooms.
Find out about the palace by clicking on their website.
How to get there
If you are going to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms from Victoria Station, you can walk through Bressenden Place which will link you to Buckingham Gate, turn right and walk straight on, turn right again until you see Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial. Alternatively, you can take the tube to Green Park Station, and walk through Green Park where you’ll see the Canada Gate in front of you. The entrance to the State Room will be on the side of the palace.
In front of Buckingham Palace, there are usually people taking photos of the palace and hang around by the Victoria Memorial. It was a great day, the sun was shining, and everyone enjoyed being there. In summer, there are usually around a thousand people gathering outside, and Buckingham Palace gets busier than any other seasons. In winter, it can be quiet, however, people still takes photos in front.
Buying my ticket through the Fever App to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms
You can only visit the State Rooms in Summer. Buying my ticket for the Buckingham Palace State Rooms through the Fever App online was easy, before I knew it, my ticket was already. However, if the Buckingham Palace State Rooms Visit is not on the app, that means the Fever App is not doing a promotion, so you may have to shop elsewhere.
The Fever app is a recommendation from me, and with this app, you can buy tickets to attractions and events in London every day with just a few clicks. A confirmation email was sent to say my payment was processed, and I got a scanned copy of my ticket by email a day before my visit for the 1:15 pm time slot. You’d have to choose a time slot to visit, you cannot just buy a ticket and walk-in, it’s not how it works unfortunately.
Alternatively, you can buy the Buckingham Palace tickets with the London Pass.
Before the tour
I came an hour early just to take pictures of the outer section of Buckingham Palace. It was quite difficult to take pictures of the guards because they were so far away and because there were a lot of people already, I was at the back of the crowd.
Before the tour, spend time admiring the Victoria Memorial, St. James’ Park, Hyde Park, or Green Park before you head in. It will be so convenient if you found accommodation near the palace. Take around 15 minutes taking photos, then start joining the queue 15 minutes before your slotted time.
I recommend walking around St. James’ Park or Hyde Park for an hour before or after you head in, they are more colourful and have more wildlife than Green Park. The line for the palace can be long, so make sure you get there at a reasonable time. Hyde Park is further away from Buckingham Palace than St. James’ Park but it’s only a ten-minute walk to the palace.
Going to the State Room
The Buckingham Palace State Rooms entrance was organised very well. There was a long queue and people were separated by types of tickets.
Since I booked my ticket online, she told me to go to Gate A and thought that I wouldn’t have to line up in the long queue. Gate A was just to pick up my hardcopy ticket to get to Gate C where the long queue was. Gate C is where they’d scan the tickets and take you to different sections of the queue. You can buy a hard copy book of Buckingham Palace, it’s quite expensive but it’s worth it if you’re not going to come back to London again.
Two sections divided the queue, one for the 1:15 pm time slot and one for the 1:30 pm time slot. The time slot for 1:30 pm couldn’t join the same queue as my time slot was for 1:15 pm. They had to wait. I wasn’t surprised by the fact that there were a lot, I mean a lot of people wanting to visit the State Room.
How long does it take to visit each area of Buckingham Palace State Rooms?
Before you head in, they give you headphones and a mini-interactive iPad. The best thing about the interactive iPad is that there are more than five languages if English isn’t your first language. Each item or room is numbered so if the Drawing Room is number 7, press number 7 on the iPad. The narrator will explain the history and the purpose of the Drawing Room. Below is a list of the things I saw and how long it took for me to spend time there:
The carriage, commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their journey to Dublin in the 1800s. The carriage is quite small too, considering Queen Victoria was a small person – 2 minutes to read and admire the carriage.
Grand Staircase where they have their important guests who visited the Queen for events and meetings. The Grand Staircase wasn’t as big as I thought, but it’s great to see. – 3 minutes to admire the decor.
Drawing-room where they have paintings of notable people related to the royal family. These include Van Dyck, Canova and Canaletto. The Drawing Room is larger, longer, lighter, and grander than any of the other rooms. 10 minutes to sit down in the drawing-room and 10 minutes to have a look at all the hundreds of paintings covering the room.
Throne chair that Queen Elizabeth used for her coronation as well as other formal photographs which include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding. The Throne Chair is already torn and tattered because it has been there for so many years, but that’s the beauty of the throne chair. It’s old, vintage, and has a lot of stories to tell. – 1 minute.
The ballroom where Queen Victoria enjoyed her dances with her Prince and guests. The Ballroom is larger than most of the rooms, and you will see an interactive puppet show of people dancing. 5 minutes
The royal nursery is also large, but not large enough for her 9 children and her 42 grandchildren – 15 minutes to read about which royal babies slept in the nursery and several items Queen Victoria used for her children and grandchildren e.g. cots, Victorian baby costumes, etc.
Meeting rooms Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth invited for state functions, administrative duties, and personal meetings. – There were several meeting rooms in Buckingham Palace. The meeting rooms were quite small considering there were more than 100 people the royals invited for events. – 10 minutes each to admire the decor and read the descriptions of what each meeting room was used for.
Chandeliers and a large, mirrored door used privately for the royals to get access to the rooms. You can see the view of the royal garden with a large lake, trees, geese, and birds here.
In the garden
People were able to sit by the benches where they could take all the surroundings in the garden. The garden is vast with a coffee shop, a gift shop, and toilets. I also heard a couple talking behind me saying “Just imagine the Queen coming to the garden on her stressful day just talking to the trees and enjoying the atmosphere”. You could see the swans, birds chirping, and large tall and old ash and oak trees. She might be right! Maybe the Queen does spend time in the garden to destress. It’s hard being a Queen! I spent 20 minutes in the coffee shop, 20 minutes sitting in the garden, and 10 minutes looking around the gift shop.
How long you want to visit Buckingham Palace State Rooms depend on how long you want to stay there. I spent 2 and a half hours there and wanted to take my time to enjoy the experience. I heard people taking half a day spending time here.
Take time to take photos in front and back for 15 minutes to half an hour.
Enjoy your time at St. James’ Park before or after the tour where you can take advantage of wildlife, greenery, pelicans and so much more.
After my tour, at around 3 to 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I didn’t see any pelicans at St. James’ Park so maybe during feeding times at around 2:30 pm, you’d see them. I didn’t see any as I was too late, but they’re scattered anywhere in the park at any time. You just have to be lucky. You’ll usually find them near the Duck House Cottage and the Blue Bridge, and sometimes, can get up close and personal, as well as taking pictures with them.
The State Room is only open during Summer. Bring a bottle of water with you as it can get hot.
Buy your ticket online and it will be downloaded through the Fever app. If you are too early, you can’t join the queue. You’d have to wait until the people for the earlier time slots enter the palace. Feel free to shop around for better deals. Don’t just rely on the Fever app.
The queue gets long but it moves down very quickly, and it was organised very well. I’m very sure that that there will be social distancing and safety precautions put into place since many London attractions have been very organised with their COVID rules.
There is no information on whether you can visit Buckingham Palace State Rooms in summer, but feel free to visit the Buckingham Palace virtual tour on their website to get a feel of what it would be like when you visit.
Whether you’re staying 3 days in London or 4 days in London, the Buckingham State Rooms is one of the attractions you must include in your itinerary, and visiting the nearby St. James’ Park, Green Park, and Hyde Park, 3 of the 8 Royal Parks of London should be the next thing you visit.
Buckingham Palace is situated in the West End, so check out my West End Walk for more ideas on what to do next.
Buckingham Palace is what a palace should look like when you look at its interior. When I touched the staircase, I felt lucky to be touching something that’s from the palace ground. We couldn’t touch anything that you see there though, but it’s a great chance to see British history.
The tour was more about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert more than anyone from the royal family. I learned Queen Victoria had 9 children and 42 grandchildren, and she built rooms after rooms for their nurseries. Considering how big Buckingham Palace is, most of the rooms are quite small, can’t imagine where the grandchildren would run around in.
The rooms she used for meetings and parties were also too small for her guests. She had so many guests to invite for meetings and events that they would have been packed like sardines in one room. Some of the rooms here were big enough for three master bedrooms put together but still didn’t fit all her guests in one room.
She also held Garden Parties in the palace gardens, which was passed down from one generation to another within the family, even up to this present day.
Would I visit again?
I wouldn’t visit Buckingham Palace again since it’s something that once you’ve seen it, go onto the next attraction but it’s a recommendation from me. £25 is quite expensive for worth a two-hour visit, but you’d learn a lot about the British royal family. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed.
The State Rooms is a must-see if you love British history and Buckingham Palace is number one on my list. Your holiday wouldn’t be complete without visiting Buckingham Palace. I haven’t had the chance to visit the Royal Mews because of COVID, but once it’s safe to do so, I’ll write a review on it. You can also get a package with the Royal Mews tour if you shop around.
If you have any questions regarding the State Rooms visit, feel free to contact me on Facebook, and if you have social media, follow me on more of the London’s attractions.
Take care and be safe!!!