When my husband and I moved to London, we never expected we would be able to see past the gates of Buckingham Palace – but we were completely wrong! Shortly after we arrived in London, we found out that during the time in late summer when Her Majesty The Queen is away, Buckingham Palace opens its doors for tours for a selected number of people who book in advance via The Royal Trust. Of course, we jumped at the chance to be able to see inside the Palace, and booked our tickets faster than you can say God Save The Queen!
Upon arrival to the Palace, we circled around to the side door, where there would be security checks, and ticket verification. Of course, for obvious reasons, photography inside the Palace was prohibited, and so our phones were then put away in our bags, leaving us to fully experience our surroundings. Once we had gone through security and put our phones away, guests could then proceed onwards to enter the first room. We were not disappointed in the slightest at what we saw. Each corridor was decorated in ornate gold designs, with marble busts and sculptures lining the sides of the halls. Oil paintings hung on nearly every wall, showcasing portraits of every past King and Queen, and other members of the Royal Family throughout the years. Porcelain vases and French desks and tables littered the many rooms, with different coloured pieces of marble atop each one.
We visited the ballroom, where dances of yore were held, and saw the most beautiful organ. We were in awe as we stood in front of Her Majesty’s Royal Throne, and stood on the red floor where those who have been knighted or titled stood before Her Majesty The Queen. Red, lush carpet with small gold designs blanketed the stairs as we stepped up the expansive winding staircase, clutching the shining wooden and gold railing to keep from tripping as we gaped at the chandelier above our heads. Each room had an array of chandeliers within it, with gold hardware on each, and lighting just bright enough to catch a golden glimmer on the crystal pieces hanging from it.
One of the most immersive and interesting parts of the tour, was the Prince and Patron exhibit, that had been curated by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. As the Patron of multiple art-related charities and schools, Prince Charles has quite the eye for art. Each piece in the collection was carefully chosen, and I would certainly say one of the most interesting pieces was Napoleon’s Cloak, which was so ornate, and had such historical value. A free keepsake guide (pictured below beside the guide we purchased) is available to read more about each piece in the collection, and this room was certainly the one we spent the most time in!
Walking through the halls, we saw different parts of the wall in different rooms that had the faint outline of a door upon them, which most certainly led to secret passageways. One of these doors, hidden behind a large fireplace and ornate mirror, was left slightly ajar for guests to look at (but not enter). Staircase after staircase, and room after room, we never lost the sense of awe we had when we first entered the Palace; it was nothing short of breathtaking.
Once we finished the tour inside, we stepped through to the back garden. To our right was a lovely outdoor pop-up style café, with a tented roof and chic table sets for guests to sit. There was a range of food available, and we settled on a scone with jam and clotted cream (Kellan) and a large blackberry macaron with fresh berries (all mine). My husband said that his scone was one of the best he has had thus far in the UK, and my macaron was so fresh and delicious, neither dessert lasted very long before we completely devoured them.
When we had finished eating, we followed along the garden path to a small shop that had been set up, and picked up a tin of Buckingham Palace Tea – when in England, so they say. Following that, we continued along the path to admire the gorgeous expanse of greenery around us. Not only was there a large plot of clear and green grass to stroll across, but there was a private pond with numerous trails branching off around it and benches to sit and rest. There were trees of all types, though I found the old willow tree that was gently dipping into the pond to be my favourite.
We walked for quite a while through the grounds, and eventually we made our way to the exit. We certainly want to return when we can, and until then, I guarantee we will pour over the pictures in the guidebook, and sip on some classic British tea from the Palace, and think about all of the priceless things we saw in our tour that we will likely never forget.
For those who are interested in visiting Buckingham Palace like we did, check out The Royal Collection Trust website for more information.