Tina Engstrom

Touring Buckingham Palace During The Summer Opening

The Summer Opening at Buckingham Palace in 2017 will be from Saturday 22 July to Sunday 1 October. Visitors will see the 19 magnificent State Rooms, which provide the setting for ceremonial occasions and official entertaining. All rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.

This year, a ticket to the Summer Opening also includes entry to Royal Gifts. This special exhibition tells the story of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign through  a wide-ranging display of official gifts presented to Her Majesty during the past 65 years.  With gifts representing every continent, including those from world leaders such as former US President Ronald Reagan, former South African President Nelson Mandela and President XI Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, the exhibition will present a spectacular display of craftsmanship from across the globe.

Royal Collection - Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, Caroline de Guitaut arranges outfits at a preview of Fashioning a Reign in the White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: ©Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.  Buckingham Palace: Royal Collections, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, Caroline de Guitaut arranges outfits at a preview of Fashioning a Reign in the White Drawing Room. Photo Credit: ©Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

For more information about the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and to book tickets, check out the website for the Royal Collection Trust.   This can be easily combined with our Royal London Tour to discover and learn about additional Royal places in London – The home of the British Monarchy!

Buckingham Palace Facts & Figures

Buckingham Palace is the working headquarters of the Monarchy, where The Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh live in the private apartments on the north side of the Palace, while rooms on the upper floors of the north and east sides are occupied by other members of the Royal Family. Much of the ground floor and the south wing of the Palace are used by over 800 members of staff. Their jobs range from housekeeping to horticulture, catering to correspondence. Some of the more unusual jobs include fendersmith, clockmaker and flagman.

Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: ©London & Partners.
Buckingham Palace. Photo Credit: ©London & Partners.

The site where Buckingham Palace now stands was originally a mulberry garden planted by King James I to rear silkworms. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong kind of mulberry bush, and silk production never took off in Britain. By 1628 a substantial house already existed on the site and in 1698 it was let to John Sheffield (later the Duke of Buckingham) who demolished the property and rebuilt it as ‘Buckingham House’. In 1761 George III acquired the site as a private residence and the house underwent considerable remodelling and modernising. Buckingham House was transformed into Buckingham Palace in the 1820s by the architect John Nash for George IV, but the first monarch to use Buckingham Palace as their official residence was Queen Victoria, who moved there in 1837. The white Portland stone facade was created in 1913 by Sir Aston Webb.

Buckingham Palace is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high. The Palace has 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows. All windows are cleaned every six weeks. The palace has its own chapel, post office, swimming pool, staff cafeteria, doctor’s surgery and cinema. There are more than 350 clocks and watches in Buckingham Palace, one of the largest collections of working clocks anywhere.

More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to State banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Garden Parties. Her Majesty also holds weekly audiences with the Prime Minister and receives newly-appointed foreign Ambassadors at Buckingham Palace. In 2015, Her Majesty hosted a reception for players, organisers and supporters of the Rugby World Cup.

Buckingham Palace: State Banquet
Buckingham Palace: The Ballroom set up for a State Banquet. Photo Credit: ©Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Buckingham Palace’s garden covers 40 acres, and includes a helicopter landing area, a lake, and a tennis court. It is home to 30 different species of bird and more than 350 different wild flowers, some extremely rare.

The first Garden Party at Buckingham Palace was held by Queen Victoria in the 1860s. Today, there are usually three Garden Parties at the Palace every summer, each attended by approximately 8,000 people, who consume 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 cakes.

In 2002, a music concert was staged in the garden of Buckingham Palace to mark The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which included a unforgettable performance of ‘God Save The Queen’ by Brian May from the roof of the Palace and at Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 members of the public were invited to have a special picnic in the Buckingham Palace garden.

Hundreds of distinguished historic figures have visited Buckingham Palace, including a seven-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Charles Dickens, American Presidents including JF Kennedy and Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi (who wore a loin cloth and sandals to tea with King George V), Neil Armstrong and Nelson Mandela.

Buckingham Palace: The Australian State Coach
Buckingham Palace: The Australian State Coach, used to carry the Duke of Edinburgh and Senora Rivera, wife of the President of the United Mexican States, in the arrival procession of the State Visit in March 2015. Photo: Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2015.

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