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Highlights of Buckingham Palace

Discover the highlights of a visit to Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen. 

The safety and wellbeing of our visitors and staff are our priority. In order to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, some parts of your visit may not be available. For more information about safety measures during COVID-19, and the changes to your visit, see our Practical Information page.

 

 

The State Rooms

White Drawing Room

White Drawing Room ©

The State Rooms are the public rooms in the Palace where The Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. There are 19 State Rooms, which mainly reflect the taste of George IV, who commissioned the architect John Nash to transform Buckingham House into a grand palace in 1825. The State Rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Van Dyck and Canaletto, sculpture by Canova, Sèvres porcelain, and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.

Many of the State Rooms have particular uses today. The Throne Room is used by The Queen for court ceremonies and official entertaining, and was the setting for the wedding photos of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The White Drawing Room, perhaps the grandest of all the State Rooms, serves as a royal reception room for The Queen and members of the Royal Family to gather before official occasions.

 

Explore the White Drawing Room in our 360 image

Image credit: Will Pearson | Eye Revolution

The Throne Room

Throne Room

Throne Room ©

The Throne Room's dramatic arch and canopy over the thrones was the masterpiece of the architect John Nash, and was greatly influenced by his background in theatre set designs.

Central to the room is the pair of throne chairs which are known as Chairs of Estate, and were used for the coronation ceremony of The Queen in 1953. There are also chairs made for the coronation of King George VI, and a single throne chair made for Queen Victoria in 1837.

The chair embroidered with 'EIIR' was used by The Queen at the beginning of the Coronation, up until the point that she was crowned. After the crowning ceremony she sat in the Throne Chair, which is on display in the Garter Throne Room at Windsor Castle.

 

Explore the Throne Room in our 360 image

Image credit: Will Pearson | Eye Revolution

The Ballroom

Ballroom

The Ballroom at Buckingham Palace set up for a banquet ©

Throne Canopy

Statues stand on top of a triumphal arch, flanked by sphinxes and enclosing the throne canopy. ©

This enormous room, the largest of the State Rooms, was completed in 1855, during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was originally known as the Ball and Concert Room and features a musicians’ gallery complete with an organ. Today, the Ballroom is used for official purposes, including investitures and State Banquets.

There are two thrones in the Ballroom which were made for the coronation ceremony of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902. The thrones are located in a dramatic setting. Statues by William Theed stand on top of a triumphal arch, flanked by sphinxes and enclosing the throne canopy. The winged figures at the top of the arch symbolise History and Fame and support a medallion with the profiles of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

 

Music Room

Music Room

The Music Room ©

Originally known as the Bow Drawing Room, the Music Room was completed in 1831 and has not been altered since. This is the room where guests, having assembled in the Green Drawing Room, are presented before a dinner or a banquet. Here too, royal babies are sometimes christened – The Queen’s three eldest children were all baptised here in water brought from the River Jordan.

A spectacular feature of the Music Room is the parquet floor of satinwood, rosewood, tulipwood, mahogany, holly and other woods. Inlaid with the cypher of George IV, it is a triumph of English craftsmanship and one of the finest of its type in the country.

 

The Picture Gallery

Picture Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Picture Gallery, Buckingham Palace ©

The Picture Gallery inside Buckingham Palace displays some of the greatest paintings in the Royal Collection.  It was created by the architect John Nash as part of his transformation of Buckingham House into a palace for George IV from 1825.

The 47-metre room was designed as a setting for the King’s picture collection. The paintings in the Picture Gallery are changed quite regularly, as The Queen lends many works of art to exhibitions around the UK and overseas. Currently you can see Italian, Dutch and Flemish works mainly from the 17th century, grouped by subject and artistic nationality. Among the artists represented are Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and Claude.

The Picture Gallery has always been used for official entertaining.  Today it is the setting for receptions hosted by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to recognise achievement in a particular walk of life or sector in the community.  It is also here that the recipients of honours wait before being led into the Ballroom for their investiture.

Many of the paintings from the Picture Gallery are currently on display in our exhibition, Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace, at The Queen's Gallery. Plan a visit at the same time as visiting the Palace. 

 

Explore the Picture Gallery in our 360 image

The Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase ©

Designed by John Nash and inspired by his experience working in London theatres, the Grand Staircase provides a sense of excitement and expectation for the rooms that follow.

Full length portraits of immediate members of Queen Victoria's family decorate the upper part of the staircase. These include her grandparents George III and Queen Charlotte, by Sir William Beechey, her parents the Duke and Duchess of Kent, by George Dawe and Sir George Hayter, and her uncle, William IV, by Sir Thomas Lawrence. 

 

Explore the Grand Staircase in our 360 image

Image credit: Will Pearson | Eye Revolution

Palace Garden

Buckingham Palace garden

©

Features among the 16-hectare garden include the 150 metre herbaceous border, a summer house, rose garden, the enormous Waterloo Vase and the Palace tennis court, where King George VI and Fred Perry played in the 1930s. The garden is best-known as the setting for The Queen's garden parties. Read more about the garden today and the people who helped create it. 

Changing the Guard

Guard Change at Buckingham Palace

Guard Change at Buckingham Palace ©

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace encompasses colourful spectacle and British pageantry.

During the Changing the Guard ceremony, also known as ‘Guard Mounting’, one regiment takes over from another. The Queen’s Guard is made up of the St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace detachments. The New Guard, who during the course of the ceremony become The Queen’s Guard, march to Buckingham Palace from Wellington Barracks with musical accompaniment.

When can I watch it?

In line with Government advice to avoid mass gatherings, it has been agreed that the ceremonial of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and Windsor Castle will be postponed until further notice. Advice will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, with a view to restarting when appropriate.

The ceremony usually takes place, weather permitting, at 11.00 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and daily in the summer. For detailed schedules see the British Army website. Please note that this schedule is set by the British Army and is subject to change. If you have any queries about the schedule contact the British Army through their website. 

Treasures of the Palace

Vase in State Rooms

Vase in the State Dining Room at Buckingham Palace ©

Each room in Buckingham Palace is filled with furniture, paintings, and objects with a story. Discover more about these objects online with our room-by-room listing explaining which objects from the Collection are currently on display.