During summer each year in London, the Queen throws open the doors of her home, Buckingham Palace so that we, the general public, can visit the State Rooms. In July and August, while she is safely away on holiday at one of her other houses (usually Balmoral Castle in Scotland) we can see places normally only seen by visiting royalty and foreign dignitaries.
Buckingham Palace is one of the few remaining working palaces in the world, and is both the Queen’s home and office and headquarters for the Royal Household. There are nineteen State Rooms to visit, all filled with the paintings and furniture and objects that form the Royal Collection. Every year there is also a special exhibition, sometimes gowns from Her Majesty’s collection such as her wedding or coronation gown. This year the exhibition is Royal Faberge, a collection of over one hundred of the famous Russian bejeweled eggs (such as the one at the center of the heist movie, Ocean’s Twelve). The eggs were made by the House of Faberge between 1885 and 1917 and are among the world’s most collectable objects. The Queen also has a huge art collection, put together over centuries by the various Kings and Queens. Much of this is hung throughout the royal palaces and includes some famous masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto. This year, as an added bonus, the wedding dress of the new Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton to you and I) will be on display. After seeing the State Rooms, you can then head into the gardens and wander by the lake, a hidden gem in the center of busy London. This year the dates of opening are July 23 to October 3.
Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s London tours & things to do, top London attractions, and top London travel recommendations. Make sure to check our Buckingham Palace Tours & Tickets to visit the royal attraction.