The tour took me 2 and a half hours and £25 for 2 and a half hours was worth it. You can stay there for as long as you want and take time to seep in your surroundings. Below is a run down of what I learned and discovered when I visited Buckingham Palace State Rooms.
Introduction to Buckingham Palace State Room
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.
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?
If you said yes to all three questions, 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.
Your highlights include:
The Grand Hall
Green Drawing Room
State Dining Room
Blue Drawing Room
White Drawing Room
History of Buckingham Palace
King George III made it his home in 1761 with his wife Queen Charlotte and their children. It wasn’t really a palace when he moved in, it was just a big mansion/house. By mid 1800s, he eventually made it into a palace. Ever since then, his descendants, (including our own Queen of England Elizabeth II) Prince Charles, Princes William and Harry and their kids have grown up here.
Everything else, find out about the palace by clicking on their website.
Getting there – from Victoria Station to Buckingham Palace
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 until you see, you guessed it, ta-ta Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial. Alternatively, you can take the tube to Green Park Station (Victoria Line) and walk through Green Park where you will see the Canada Gate in front of you.
To be honest, at the front of Buckingham Palace, people were just taking photos and hanging around by the Memorial than do anything else but the sun was shining though, everyone enjoyed being there. In summer, there were around a thousand people gathering outside the Palace. I believe in summer is when it gets busier than any other seasons. In winter, it can be quiet, people taking photos in front of the palace.
Buying my ticket online to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms
Well, first of all, 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 peasy. Before I knew it, my ticket was all ready.
The Fever app is a recommendation from me. You can buy tickets to attractions and events happening in London every day with just a few clicks. A confirmation email was sent to say my payment was processed. I should get 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 here.
Before the tour
I came an hour early just to do a take pictures on 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.
Allow yourself two hours inside the grounds but you can spend time in there for as long as possible. Spend time admiring the Victoria Memorial, St. James’ Park, Hyde Park or Green Park outside the Palace before you head in. Take around 15 minutes taking photos, then queue up 15 minutes before your slotted time to get in.
I recommend walking around St. James’ Park or Hyde Park for an hour before or after you head in, they are more colourful and has more wildlife. Just to warn you though, the line into 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 only 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. I 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. I heard that the time slot for 1:30 pm wasn’t able to join the same queue as my time slot 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. Two sections divided the queue, one for the 1:15 pm time slot and one for the 1:30 pm time slot.
How long is the State Room tour at Buckingham Palace?
It takes a minimum of 1 hour to visit but you can take as long as you want when you’re inside.
The highlight of my tour – 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. There are more than five languages if English isn’t your first language. Each item or room are numbered so if the Drawing Room is number 7, press number 7 on the ipad and the narrator will explain the history and the use 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. – 2 minutes to read and admire the carriage.
Grand Staircase where they had their important guests who visited the Queen for events and meetings – 3 minutes to admire the decor.
Drawing-room where they had paintings of notable people related to the royal family. 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. – 1 minute.
Ballroom where Queen Victoria enjoyed her dances with her Prince and guests. 5 minutes
The royal nursery – 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 so I took around 10 minutes each to admire the decor and read the descriptions of what each meeting rooms were 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.
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, gift shop, and toilets which you can take advantage of. 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”. 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 and 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 for. 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. My advice is to spend at least 2 hours to keep the experience in your head.
There are time slots for visiting The State Room, you can’t just buy your ticket and go in as you go. Choose which time slots you’d like and go from there using the Fever app.
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. You’ll find them near the Duck House Cottage and can get up close and personal, take pictures with them. I’ll post one with them pretty soon.
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. I recommend you get 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.
The queue gets long but it moves down very quickly. It was organised very well.
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.
What I learned was that the tour was more about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert more than anyone from the royal family. I learned that Queen Victoria had 9 children and 42 grandchildren and Victoria built rooms after rooms for their nurseries. Considering how big Buckingham Palace is, most of the rooms are quite small. The rooms were too small for all of them.
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 of her guests in one room.
She also held Garden Parties which was passed down from one generation to another within the family, even up to this present day. That’s nice to know.
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. Visit the State Room and £25 is worth it for a two-hour visit inside the grounds. You’d learn a lot about the British royal family and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed.
There you have it. 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.