Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official residence in London. However, it's usually only open to visitors during the summer months, between July and September (the exact dates vary every year). During this period you can tour the State Rooms and see the palace's incredible collection of paintings and treasures. Here's what to expect on a visit.

What Will I See on a Tour of Buckingham Palace?

There are several tour options. The standard tour takes in the State Rooms, which are 19 lavishly-furnished rooms that host ceremonies and royal functions. On display in many of the rooms are collections of royal treasures. The standard ticket also includes unguided access to Buckingham Palace's famous gardens.

More in-depth tours incorporate a guided visit to the gardens or exclusive evening access with a glass of champagne.

The 'Royal Day Out' option is a combined ticket that offers access to Buckingham Palace State Rooms, the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews, which houses the royal carriages, horses and vehicles. Both the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews can each be visited separately on individual tickets, as well.

Will I See the Royal Family during the Tour?

In short, no. The Buckingham Palace tour is a self-guided visit to the State Rooms. Visitors are not permitted entry into the residential sections of the palace where the Royal Family live.

Do I Need a Ticket to See the Changing of the Guard?

Not at all. You can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace for free. Ceremonies take place at 10:30am St James' Palace and Wellington Barracks, and at 11am at Buckingham Palace. You can view the ceremony at Buckingham Palace from the front (south) gates. Arrive at least 15 minutes early.

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How Long Does a Tour of Buckingham Palace Take?

The standard State Rooms tour takes 2-2.5 hours, but you should allow up to three hours for the full visit including a walk through the gardens. The Royal Day Out tour lasts approximately 4.5 hours.

How Much Do Tickets Cost*?

Standard State Rooms tour: £25State Rooms and Garden Highlights tour: £35Royal Day Out tour: £45Exclusive Evening Champagne tour: £85 When Do Tours Take Place?

Buckingham Palace is generally open to the public from July to September each year. Tours run from 9:30am to 5:15pm. Exclusive Evening Champagne tours start at either 5:30pm or 5:45pm. Entry is timed in 15 minute increments, so you will choose your tour's start time when you purchase a ticket.

Where Is the Entrance for the Buckingham Palace Tour?

The entrance for the State Rooms tour is on the south side of the palace, next to the Queen's Gallery on Buckingham Gate. The tour ends in the gardens at the back of the palace, near the cafe and shop.

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What Should I Bring on the Tour?

You should wear comfortable shoes as the tour covers about a half-mile of walking. You must also bring a printed copy of your booking voucher to gain entry.

Do Tours Sell Out? How Far in Advance Should I Book?

Due to the popularity, timed entry and limited summer run of the State Room tours, you should book online as far in advance as possible. Or, alternatively, there is also a ticket window on-site where you can queue up and buy tickets for the tour on the day if you aren't able to purchase in advance.

Tickets for the Queen's Gallery and/or Royal Mews can be purchased independently from their respective ticket offices on the day.

Is The Tour Included in the London Pass?

Tickets to the State Rooms tour at Buckingham Palace are not included in the London Pass, and must be booked separately. Tickets for the Royal Mews and the Queen's Gallery are included in the London Pass.

Can I Take Pictures?

Though you may bring your phone and camera inside, photography is prohibited inside the State Rooms. You may take pictures in the garden at the end of the tour.

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Are There Cloakrooms/Lockers?

You must pass through an airport-style security check before entering Buckingham Palace. There are no restrictions on liquids, and you can bring in water. Some items must be checked at security and reclaimed at the end of the visit, including large bags and backpacks, pen knives, scissors, umbrellas, pushchairs and baby buggies, alcohol and aerosol sprays.

Do I Need to Show ID to Get In?

No, you only need to show proof of your ticket purchase. You do not need to show your passport or ID.

Is Buckingham Palace Accessible?

The State Rooms tour is wheelchair accessible, but mobility access and tickets for companions must be booked through the palace's specialist sales team on +44 (0)303 123 7324 or via email at specialistsales@rct.uk.

Mobility scooters, powered wheelchairs and wheeled walkers are all permitted. There are manual wheelchairs and folding stools available to borrow on-site for free.

Assistance animals are welcome inside the palace. State Room tours are offered in audio-descriptive and British sign language formats.

Are Toilets Available during the Tour?

There are toilet and baby-changing facilities at the beginning and end of the tour.

Book it: Buckingham Palace Tickets & Tour Packages

*Prices correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.