Changing the Guard | Royal Palaces / Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, is one of the few working royal palaces, remaining in the world today.

The administrative headquarters of the Monarch Buckingham Palace is also used as a venue for Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures.

The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, which are used regularly, for official and State entertaining, by The Queen and members of the Royal Family, are mainly in the west wing facing the gardens.

The State Rooms are open to the public for 8 weeks during August and September. Visitors to Buckingham Palace will see priceless works of art and exquisite furniture which are part of the Royal Collection.

Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Monument

Facts and Figures About Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837.

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to take up residence in Buckingham Palace.

The familiar and much photographed view of the Palace is the East Wing. The State Rooms are behind in the West Wing.

The Palace, measuring 108 metres across the front is a 120 metres deep, including the quadrangle, has a total floor area exceeding 77,000 square metres.

Inside Buckingham Palace there are 775 rooms including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

The largest room in the Palace is the Ballroom, where Investitures and State banquets take place today. It is 36.6m long, 18m wide and 13.5m high. It was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War.

The Palace's garden, which covers 40 acres, is used for summer garden parties and has been the setting for charity events, it has a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court.

More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as The Queen's guests at banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and garden parties.

Over 800 members of staff work at Buckingham Palace.

Marble Arch, originally at the entrance to Buckingham Palace, had to be moved to its present site, near Speaker's Corner, when Queen Victoria added the East Wing. in the 1840s.

The forecourt, where Changing the Guard takes place, was created in 1911, was part of a scheme to commemorate Queen Victoria. The gates and railings were also added in 1911.

In addition to being the London home of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh Buckingham Palace is also home to The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra who have private offices and apartments located within Buckingham Palace.

History of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace was built in 1702 by the Duke of Buckingham as his London home. The house was then later sold to George III in 1761 by the Duke's son.

In 1774 it was renamed "Queen's House" as Queen Charlotte resided there.

The Palace has of course seen many renovations and alterations, the first of which was in 1820 when John Nash was commissioned by George IV.

Nash, one of the foremost architects of the day added a new suite of rooms facing west into the garden, this doubled the size of the building.

Queen Victoria, who was the first monarch to take up residence in Buckingham Palace, in 1837, made extensive changes including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds outside.

The Queen and Royal Family on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace

The Portland stone facade, that overlooks the Mall today, was added during the reign of King George V with works being completed in 1914.

Visiting The Royal Mews At Buckingham Palace

The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is one of the finest working stables in existence and home to the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages.

The most dazzling of all the coaches on display is the Gold State Coach, last used during The Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

Opening Times For The Royal Mews

3 February - 31 March 2014 Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:00 (last admission 15:15)

1 April – 31 October Open Daily 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:15)

1-30 November Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:00 (last admission 15:15)

The Royal Mews is closed during State Visits and royal events and on the following dates in 2014:
18th April, 31st May, 7th June and 14th June 2014

Tickets for The Royal Mews are available online from Visit Britain, the official shop of the British Tourism Authority.

Queens Gallery Buckingham Palace

An exhibition of the art and treasures, from the Royal Collection, held in trust by the Queen.

The Queens Gallery is open weekly, 10:00-17:30 [last admission 16:30]
Typically a visit lasts 1 and 30 minutes.

The Queen's Gallery is closed - 12 October - 12 November 2015

Tickets can be obtained from the Royal Collection.

Visiting the State Rooms

The State Rooms,at Buckingham Palace, opened to the Public for the first time in 1993, can be visited between August and September when they are open to visitors for eight weeks.