21 Nov The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace
We visited London on the last day the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace were open for the year, and due to a surprising urge to get a glimpse into the royal lifestyle, I booked tickets for a tour. There are multiple tour options that run during different months throughout the year–you can visit the State Rooms, the Royal Mews, the Garden Highlights and the Queen’s Gallery. Because I just wanted to get a glimpse inside the actual palace, we only visited the State Rooms. As the palace is a working monarchy, the state rooms are only open to the public for about 8 weeks during August and September, and this year the special exhibit was the Queen’s Jubilee.
We visited on the first tour of the morning and would highly recommend it–the rooms were practically empty as we explored, but towards the end of our visit, we could see how packed the rooms were becoming. Our tour was relatively peaceful, and it was nice to explore with a little bit of solitude. Unfortunately, photographs are not allowed in the State Rooms, so our palace photos are limited.
The Queen’s Jubilee exhibit was running this year, as 2012 marked the year the Queen had been on the throne for 60 years. The special exhibit displayed the Queen’s coronation videos and photos, her coronation gown and other royal family member’s outfits for the special day as well. It was really interesting to see the crowns, royal robes and other clothing up close–they were all so elaborate that it felt as though I was looking at theater costumes.
In addition to the Queen’s Jubilee exhibit, we were able to wander around the State Rooms with an audio tour. There are nineteen rooms that are considered the public rooms of the palace where visitors regularly come for entertainment and official ceremonies. Some of the rooms you will have the chance to see are the Grand Hall, the Throne Room, the Blue and White Drawing rooms, the Ballroom, the State Dining Room, the Music Room and the Grand Staircase. Each room was filled with intricate details everywhere–from the sparkling chandeliers, ornate wall trimmings, historic artwork, and lavish decorations, each room is a spectacle.
After getting your fill of sophisticated designs, paintings and everything royal, you can head outside to wander the gardens. The garden is 42 acres and lined with gravel paths that lead you throughout the grounds. In the garden is a lake, tennis court, summerhouse, and a helicopter pad plus numerous works of art.
There is also a little cafe outside near the garden where you can order tea and something to eat. If you want to do a little shopping, head to the on site gift shop before heading out. Also, be sure to get your ticket stamped as with it you will get free admission for a year to the same tour.
I really enjoyed taking a peek into the royal life, but it’s just so hard for me to comprehend that people actually live like this! From the thrones to the royal purple and fur-lined capes, it is quite the unique lifestyle to say the least.