Thursday, July 18, 2024

Ideas for visiting Buckingham Palace with children

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Certainly one of London’s most iconic sights, there’s solely a 10-week interval every year when you will get a glance contained in the monarch’s official London residence – so I’ve pulled collectively the following pointers for visiting Buckingham Palace with children (or with out) to benefit from it.

View across the gardens to the Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids, during the summer opening of the state rooms
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There’s additionally a model new Coronation exhibition for 2023, so for those who’re planning to take the tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms, you’ve obtained an added incentive to e-book this yr.

The house of the British royal household since Queen Victoria moved in in 1837, it’s nonetheless a working palace with the ornate rooms used for state occasions and a uncommon likelihood to glimpse the gilded splendour behind the well-known facade. So for those who’re planning to go to Buckingham Palace with children, right here’s all the pieces you could know.

Do you have to go to Buckingham Palace with children?

A tour of the State Rooms isn’t the most cost effective factor to do in London with children, so the primary query to reply should be, is Buckingham Palace family-friendly?

And you’ll completely go to Buckingham Palace with children – with a couple of provisos.

Personally I feel that is someplace that’s higher for varsity age children and older. There’s an important free household multimedia tour and household actions within the gardens however in any other case it’s (understandably) not very arms on.

For older children, attending to see inside a palace and its spectacular rooms, imagining kings, queens and mischievous corgis as they go, it’s unbelievable. However the considered chasing a bored toddler who needs to run off, whereas surrounded by priceless artwork and furnishings makes my blood run chilly.

Having stated that, there’s nothing to cease you bringing youthful children in and I did see one younger toddler throughout my go to, so it’s definitely potential – simply be ready to go spherical sooner than you would possibly like.

Do take a look at the interactive map on-line earlier than you go to, to offer children a style of what they’re going to see as properly, and discover the palace just about. There’s additionally a listing of 10 highlights to identify, which makes a enjoyable treasure hunt.

You’ll be able to’t use your personal buggy/stroller – these need to be checked firstly of the tour and picked up on the finish – whereas bogs and child altering amenities are solely obtainable on the finish of the tour.

You’ll be able to’t eat or drink contained in the palace (aside from bottled water), though you may breastfeed wherever, and there are benches in a few of the rooms.

Rear of Buckingham Palace during a visit as part of the summer opening of the state rooms - if you're visiting Buckingham Palace with kids, my tips on everything you need to know

Do you must prebook tickets?

You don’t need to, tickets could also be obtainable on the day, however because the Buckingham Palace state rooms are solely open for a part of the yr, it’s a good suggestion to e-book prematurely.

There’s additionally a reduction for those who prebook tickets on-line – presently from £30 for adults, £16.50 for kids aged 5-17, underneath fives go free.

Get a reduction for those who e-book utilizing my hyperlink and the code MUMMYTRAVELS6

You too can convert tickets right into a one yr move, for those who assume you would possibly return inside 12 months.

There’s a household low cost which is routinely utilized for those who e-book no less than one grownup and two kids, as much as two adults and 4 kids, saving as much as £24 whenever you e-book direct.

Tickets have a 15-minute time slot, and also you’re requested to reach on the time proven in your ticket.

Image showing a graphic of the London Eye on the Essential Guide to London with kids ebook cover, and the words 'click to buy my 33-page guide to London. Itineraries, tips and all you need to know before a visit to London with kids' linking to my the London with kids shop page

When are the Buckingham Palace state rooms open?

The primary public opening runs for 10 weeks from mid July to late September. This yr’s opening dates are July 14-September 24, 2023.

The Palace is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in any other case opening time is 9.30am. Final entry is 17.15 throughout the summer season months (with the palace closing at 19.30), and at 16.15 from September 1-24 (with the palace closing at 18.30)

In case you’re visiting London outdoors these dates, scroll down for extra particulars of the guided excursions which occur on chosen dates between November and Might

The place’s the doorway to the Buckingham Palace tour?

You received’t get to undergo the grand gates on the entrance, sadly. As an alternative the doorway for the summer season opening of the Buckingham Palace state rooms is on Buckingham Palace street.

In case you’re standing wanting on the entrance of the palace, merely head spherical to the left, observe Spur Highway to Buckingham Palace Highway, and also you received’t be capable of miss the doorway, with employees checking tickets earlier than safety.

Gilded gates and front view of Buckingham Palace - my tips on visiting Buckingham Palace with kids for the summer opening of the state rooms

The closest underground stations are Victoria, Inexperienced Park and St James’s Park. In case you’re strolling from Victoria station, simply observe Buckingham Palace Highway from the station previous the doorway for the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery and also you’ll see it on the left.

Be ready for safety

You’ll have to move by means of airport fashion safety with bag searches and X-ray, though this was very fast and environment friendly.

In case you’re visiting with Buckingham Palace with children, you may’t convey a buggy/stroller into the state rooms, so might want to go away that firstly of the tour and gather it on the finish within the gardens.

You’ll be able to’t convey giant luggage (or numerous different objects together with bikes, folding bikes and rollerskates) in in any respect, whereas another objects have to be left and picked up after the tour, comparable to giant umbrellas (smaller fold-up ones that go in your bag are superb).

Test the full listing of safety restrictions right here – but it surely’s largely frequent sense.

Do get the audio information

The audioguide is included in your ticket, in 9 languages, plus British Signal Language (in addition to a descriptive tour for the blind and visually impaired). There’s little or no data within the rooms in any other case, so with out the information, you’ll miss many of the element.

You’ll be able to select the grownup model or the household multimedia tour (and it’s straightforward to flick between the 2 for those who do need to hear bits of each).

I began off alternating between the completely different choices, however switched to the household audio a couple of rooms in, because it did an important job of bringing the state rooms to life, selecting out quirky particulars and including some enjoyable components.

A view of the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, with its ornate chandeliers, gilded ceiling and secret door - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids
Courtesy Royal Assortment Belief/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023

Photograph: Derry Moore

The tour is narrated by footman Alice, together with Rex the corgi, and is geared toward children underneath 12. Having stated that, it nonetheless packs in comparable quantities of knowledge to the grownup tour, simply in a extra simply digestible vogue.

There are additionally some enjoyable video games for youths to play – I’m ashamed to say it took me three makes an attempt to appropriately set a desk – in addition to particulars to identify within the rooms, challenges and different interactive enjoyable.

One spotlight was being requested to identify the key door within the White Drawing Room: closed throughout our go to (it’s usually ajar), it actually wasn’t straightforward to identify however led to an important dialog with the member of employees within the room – and in addition the invention that one different set of extra apparent doorways are fakes, designed to steadiness the room, with nothing however wall behind them.

You received’t be capable of take images inside

For as soon as, you may put telephones and cameras away, as images aren’t permitted contained in the state rooms – solely within the gardens on the finish of the tour.

View of the Diamond State Coach on display as part of the Coronation exhibition at Buckingham Palace, at the start of the tour of the state rooms - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

We have been additionally given permission to {photograph} the Coronation Exhibition and Diamond Jubilee coach within the courtyard however ordinarily that isn’t allowed.

Don’t be tempted to sneak a couple of snaps – employees have been conserving a detailed eye on all guests and reminding them if that they had telephones out, so for those who’re caught, you might be escorted out.

Permit loads of time

There are 14 rooms with multimedia information commentary throughout the tour of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace, fairly aside from the possibility to discover a few of the gardens.

Permit no less than two hours to your go to, extra if you wish to benefit from the actions within the household pavilion on the finish, or go to the cafe.

You’ll be able to go at your personal tempo although, so for those who really feel inclined to linger – or in case your children are going to get bored after round an hour – you may velocity up and decelerate as you need.

What are you able to see within the state rooms at Buckingham Palace?

The tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms takes you thru 14 separate rooms with audioguide commentary.

Beginning within the Grand Corridor and climbing the Grand Staircase, you’ll go to the Inexperienced Drawing Room, the Throne Room, the Image Gallery, the East Gallery, the Ballroom, the State Eating Room, the Blue Drawing Room, the Music Room, the White Drawing Room, the Marble Corridor and the Bow Room.

Evidently, it’s unattainable to seize each element in a weblog submit, particularly one centered on ideas for visiting Buckingham Palace; you could go on the tour to essentially recognize it. However count on enormous rooms, priceless artwork, plenty of gold and ornamentation, and spectacular decor as you go!

View of the Throne Room in Buckingham Palace as part of a visit to the state rooms, with red walls and carpet, and two throne chairs with royal cyphers under a canopy of state - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids
Courtesey Royal Assortment Belief/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023

To pick a couple of highlights, you may spot all the pieces from a fragile pot pourri holder within the form of a ship, one in every of solely 12 ever made by Sevres (and one in every of solely 10 nonetheless in existence) proper as much as the thrones embroidered with the King and Queen’s cyphers and a few faux marble columns.

The artwork within the image gallery is only a small fraction of the million works within the royal assortment – which additionally consists of sculpture, furnishings and different artworks – together with all the pieces from Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer to Canaletto and Van Dyck.

There are additionally some insights into royal household life as you stroll by means of the lengthy East Gallery, whose rigorously positioned mirrors make it appear to stretch on without end.

Constructed for Queen Victoria, together with the ballroom, to permit her to host balls for as much as two thousand friends, the partitions are lined with portraits of the Queen and her household – with a reminder within the household audio information that Victoria was solely 19 when she was topped, a yr after she inherited the throne.

Or the jaw-dropping data that the desk within the state eating room might be prolonged so it’s so long as a cricket pitch – and the spare leaves are saved in one of many many secret rooms and cabinets within the palace, tucked away behind mirrored doorways.

There’s modern-day trivia too – seeing the room the place the present Prince of Wales was baptised, or studying find out how to clear a chandelier – in addition to details about the palace itself, from the variety of employees (round 800) to the variety of lightbulbs (round 40,000).

My favorite was maybe the White Drawing Room (truly way more gold and yellow), which has faux doorways, actual doorways and a secret door to search out…

What’s the Coronation exhibition at Buckingham Palace?

The brand new Coronation exhibition consists of the outfits worn by King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the coronation in Might, on show for the primary time.

Staged within the ballroom – which was used for Coronation rehearsals, the grand robes with their embroidered trains are joined by different objects of regalia, in addition to the Throne Chairs and the Anointing Display used throughout the ceremony.

There’s additionally the possibility to see sketches for the invites, alongside one of many completed creations, plus different symbolic objects together with the Coronation glove and girdle, to not point out the diamond necklace worn by the Queen Consort.

It’s fascinating to get likelihood to see a few of the gold embroidery up shut, hand embroidered by the Royal Faculty of Needlework at Hampton Court docket Palace, with private touches in addition to extra symbolic emblems – one thing even the very best TV protection of the day couldn’t present.

The exhibition will run till September 24, when the State Rooms near the general public as soon as extra. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach can even be on show as you enter the courtyard earlier than heading contained in the state rooms themselves.

In case you purchase a Royal Day Out ticket, additionally together with entry to the Royal Mews, you may see the historic Gold State Coach – amongst different royal coaches and carriages – which carried the King again to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey

Will you see the royal household?

Sadly not – or not until you’re very fortunate. Historically, the royal household heads to their Scottish dwelling of Balmoral for the summer season, so that they’re away from London whereas the state rooms are open – and King Charles has confirmed he’ll be persevering with the custom, as Queen Elizabeth did.

In any case, the tour takes you although the general public state rooms quite than the personal rooms, so even when members of the royal household are in residence, they’ll be elsewhere within the enormous palace.

You’ll be able to test earlier than you go in: if the monarch is in residence, the royal customary can be flying, in any other case you’ll see the union flag above the palace, if the royal household is at one other residence comparable to Windsor Fortress or Sandringham.

Don’t miss the household pavilion

In case you’re visiting Buckingham Palace with children, do save time to take a look at the household pavilion within the gardens.

Family Pavilion in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, one of the great things to do at Buckingham Palace with kids after a tour of the state rooms

You’ll discover it simply after the purpose the place you come the multimedia guides and there are some nice actions for youths.

There’s a small gentle play space for the youngest guests, in addition to tables with crafts and actions. You’ll additionally discover a dressing up field, plenty of possibilities to pose for images, and different video games and quizzes to check children on their royal information.

You too can obtain a backyard path, colouring and drawing actions from the Royal Assortment Belief web site, plus there are typically extra occasions for households.

Save time to benefit from the gardens

The trail from the palace to the exit on Grosvenor Palace leads by means of the gardens, with a view again to Buckingham Palace over the lake.

You might be restricted to the place you may discover within the gardens nevertheless – the lawns are roped off, for instance – so you may’t spend lengthy wandering and also you do have to maintain to the paths.

View of the rear of Buckingham Palace as seen from the gardens during the summer opening of the state rooms - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

What amenities are there at Buckingham Palace?

A lot of the amenities for guests are in direction of the top of the tour, together with bogs and child altering within the gardens.

If you’re visiting Buckingham Palace with children, it’s price discovering bogs earlier than you head inside – there are public bogs at Victoria station – because it’s prone to be over an hour earlier than you attain the gardens (and you may’t go away and retrace your steps). And no, you may’t use the king’s rest room on the best way!

In the primary block within the gardens, there are household bogs and really good handwash although. Preparations might be made for guests with disabilities, however you’re requested to contact the specialist gross sales staff prematurely.

There’s additionally a restaurant within the gardens, in addition to stands serving ice cream and drinks – sadly the coronation ice cream (which is purple, white and blue) wasn’t on sale throughout our go to.

There’s no consuming and consuming contained in the palace (aside from bottled water).

You’ll additionally discover the store alongside the trail by means of the gardens in your approach out.

Are you able to go to the state rooms at Buckingham Palace at some other time?

Sure, there are restricted possibilities to discover the Buckingham Palace state rooms outdoors the primary summer season opening, with guided excursions working on chosen dates from November to Might.

These value £90 per particular person, or there are additionally Household Guided Excursions obtainable the place tickets for kids aged 5-17 value £49.50, and underneath 5s are free.

Courtyard inside Buckingham Palace at the start of the tour of the state rooms - my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with kids

If you’re becoming a member of a guided tour, you’ll enter by means of the Royal Mews and there are bathroom amenities obtainable firstly in addition to the top of the tour. You’re additionally requested to reach half-hour earlier than the entry time in your ticket, and must undergo an analogous safety course of because the self-guided tour.

Excursions often take round 90 minutes to 2 hours, and the opposite restrictions (comparable to no images inside) stay the identical.

Other than that, you’d want a private invitation from a member of the royal household or be invited to an official occasion to get in!

What else is there to do close to Buckingham Palace with children?

You’re in straightforward strolling distance of each St James’s Park, with its pelicans (and a beautiful view of the palace from the Blue Bridge) and of Inexperienced Park in case your children have to run off some vitality.

You can additionally mix a go to with the Altering of the Guard ceremony, or an opportunity to see the guards at Horseguards Parade.

There are additionally two different Royal Assortment Belief sights on the Palace – the Royal Mews, which homes the Gold State coach, amongst different historic carriages, and the Queen’s Gallery. There’s a reduction for those who e-book utilizing my hyperlink and the code MUMMYTRAVELS6.

For extra royal locations in London with children, take a look at my choose of the very best for households who love historical past (or mini monarchists)

Westminster Abbey and the Homes of Parliament are round a 15-minute stroll from the doorway to the State Rooms, and the household sights on the South Financial institution are solely a brief stroll additional on.

Or obtain this Royal London Strolling tour, designed to take round 50 minutes, introducing you to a few of the historical past round Buckingham Palace and Westminster.

Image showing a graphic of the London Eye on the Essential Guide to London with kids ebook cover, and the words 'click to buy my 33-page guide to London. Itineraries, tips and all you need to know before a visit to London with kids' linking to my the London with kids shop page

Disclosure: My entry to Buckingham Palace was free for the needs of assessment – all opinions and ideas for visiting Buckingham Palace are my very own. This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee

Important picture/Buckingham Palace gates courtesy of Depositphotos; Throne Room courtesy Royal Assortment Belief/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023; White Drawing Room courtesy Royal Assortment Belief/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023/Derry Moore; all different pictures copyright MummyTravels

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