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Buckingham Palace

Top things to see and do at Buckingham Palace

Reading time: 5 minutes

Enjoy the ultimate royal experience at the home of the British monarchy. The Palace doors swing open to the public every summer as well as for selected dates during winter and spring for guided tours. We can’t wait to welcome you in and make some magical memories together.


The 19 State Rooms are the main reception chambers of Buckingham Palace, used by the monarch and members of the Royal Family for all kinds of ceremonial, official, diplomatic and personal occasions. There are many famous, must-see moments within these spectacular rooms. Don't miss the red-carpeted Grand Staircase, the Throne Room and the breathtaking Ballroom. 

1. Walk in the White Drawing Room

The White Drawing Room.©

The White Drawing Room, perhaps the grandest of all the State Rooms, serves as a royal reception room for The King and members of the Royal Family to gather before official occasions. While you take in the splendour of the room, see if you can spot the enormous hidden door formed from one of the four side cabinets and mirrors. 

2. View a Vermeer

The Music Lesson or Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman by Johannes Vermeer (RCIN 405346).©

Come for the majesty, stay for the masters. A visit to the State Rooms is a chance to see some of the finest paintings by some of the biggest names in art history.

The Picture Gallery inside Buckingham Palace displays some of the greatest paintings in the Royal Collection. A highlight has to be the Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer. There are just 5 Vermeer paintings in the whole of the UK and only 34 in total anywhere in the world, so this is a rare opportunity to see one first-hand.

3. Admire a Portrait of His Majesty The King

Artist Jonathan Yeo and The King admiring the portrait. PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

This summer come see the first official portrait of HM King Charles III as monarch while it is on display at Buckingham Palace. The portrait by the renowned artist Jonathan Yeo was commissioned in 2020 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales’s 50 years as a member of The Drapers’ Company in 2022.

4. Marvel at the marble

Mars and Venus by Antonio Canova in the Marble Hall (RCIN 2038).©

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the sculptures in the Marble Hall of the Palace. The beautiful sculptures were created by Italian maestro Antonio Canova, who is considered to be one of the greatest artists of his time. Canova created three masterpieces for King George IV, including the sublime Mars and Venus which was carved from a single block of stone.


You may have been through all the State Rooms, but the Buckingham Palace experience is not over just yet. You exit the building into the Palace garden, where there is plenty more to see and do. For security reasons, photography is not permitted inside, but out here you can snap away with the lawn, the lake and the Palace's garden front as your backdrop.

5. Treat yourself on the terrace

Visitors enjoying ice cream in the Palace garden.©

Could there be a more British welcome than tea at Buckingham Palace? During the Summer we have our Garden Café on the West Terrace so you can enjoy a cup of tea with a view. It is a moment to rest your feet and indulge a little. As well as tea, we also serve coffee, cold drinks, sandwiches, and sweet treats. If you prefer a pick-me-up on the move, there are also ice cream stands as you walk along the Garden path.

Don't forget to pick up a souvenir to remember your visit from our Garden shop.

6. Keep the kids keen

The Family Pavilion at Buckingham Palace.©

While our free multimedia guides have a children’s version, where Alice the footman and Rex the corgi help to keep kids entertained during the State Rooms tour, that’s not the only helping hand for parents at the Palace. Be sure to visit the Family Pavilion during the summer, set up on the terrace. There are activities and spaces to play to help burn some of that energy! See our family page and highlights page to discover more.

7. Get guided through the garden

Garden Highlights Tour.©

Ever wondered what was on the other side of those Palace walls? You can find out when the Palace is open in summer by booking a Garden Highlights Tour. Enjoy a 45-minute stroll around the private side of Buckingham Palace Garden with a guide. Soak up the colour in the Rose Garden, spot London’s most exclusive tennis court, and learn about the amazing wildlife in this little oasis in the middle of the city.


Even more royal spectacle awaits outside of the State Rooms tour, with Buckingham Palace's art gallery and working stables both open for visitors, and of course the world-famous Palace façade, with the balcony, the gates and the guards.

8. Catch the Coronation carriage

The Gold State Coach at the Royal Mews.©

Sometimes, all that glitters really is gold! One of the stars of King Charles III's Coronation in 2023 was the magnificent 260-year-old Gold State Coach. This carriage is a spectacular, living part of British history, having transported every king and queen to their Coronation since 1831.

The Gold State Coach is on display at the Royal Mews, the working stables of Buckingham Palace.

9. Peek at a Royal Portrait

Royal Portraits exhibition at the King's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.©

Our exciting exhibition Royal Portraits:  A Century of Photography, at the King's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, charts the evolution of royal portrait photography from the 1920s to the present day. Discover works from the most celebrated royal photographers, from Cecil Beaton and Dorothy Wilding to Annie Leibovitz and Rankin.

17 May - 6 October 2024. 

10. Greet the Guards

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace©

No trip to London is complete without experiencing the world-famous Changing the Guard ceremony where the New Guard replaces the Old in front of Buckingham Palace.

Changing the Guard takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11:00, weather permitting, and is organised by the soldiers of the Household Division of the British Army. Dates and times can change though, so we recommend checking the Household Division website for further details. Make sure you arrive well in advance of the ceremony to find a good spot, as the area around the Victoria Memorial, St James’s Park and the Mall can become very busy at these times.

So what are you waiting for...

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.