Touring Buckingham Palace with Children – A Complete Guide!

It is an unforgettable experience to see how the British Royal Family lives. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, but there are a few things you should know before you go! In this blog post, we will help you organize your excursions, get into Buckingham Palace quickly with your children, and follow the regulations, so you don’t get booted out! This is everything you need to know for touring Buckingham Palace with kids.

This Guide to Visiting Buckingham Palace with Kids provides 7 Top Tips for Families to save time and money and reduce stress.

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If you are taking a family vacation to London, don’t miss these Changing of the Guard Tips for Families. Also, check out our articles about Getting Around London with Children, Visiting The London Eye With Children, or planning a Tower of London Visit with Kids.

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Complete guide to touring Buckingham Palace with Kids
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Lunch by Lucy Sparrow

When Was The Buckingham Palace Built?

Buckingham Palace was originally built in 1703 as Buckingham House for the 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, John Sheffield. It is a newer residence for a dynasty with a history of more than a thousand years. For those wondering, what is in Buckingham Palace? It has served as the British royal family’s residence and administrative center for hundreds of years.

Who lives in Buckingham Palace?

The British royal family resides in Buckingham Palace in London, where they also maintain administrative offices. It is one of several homes of the monarch, King Charles III, and his wife, Queen Camilla. It is a prominent political and ceremonial landmark in the United Kingdom, and its enormous grounds are a popular tourist destination. Buckingham Palace is The King’s official London residence and a working royal palace.

sign post to Buckingham Palace

Is Buckingham Palace Open To The Public?

During the summer, Buckingham Palace is accessible to the public. Between July and October, tours of Buckingham Palace are available. If you cannot come during this period, consider visiting one of London’s other royal sites.

Can You Tour Buckingham Palace?

For those wondering if you can go inside Buckingham Palace, the simple answer is yes. Visitors are allowed in Buckingham Palace. The palace is open to the public for a couple of months each summer, while the royal family typically takes a summer holiday at Balmoral in the Scottish highlands.

When did tours of Buckingham Palace Start?

In 1993 Buckingham Palace opened for paying tours allowing the general public to go inside the palace. This was Queen Elizabeth’s response to a huge fire at Windsor Castle to help raise funds to pay for the restoration.

Is there a dress code for visiting Buckingham Palace?

To visit Buckingham Palace, no formal attire is necessary; nevertheless, comfortable shoes are encouraged. There will be lots of walking through the State Rooms and then an approximately 1/3 mile walk through the palace gardens to exit the grounds.

Visit Buckingham Palace with kids

How can I visit Buckingham Palace?

In July 2022, our family had the opportunity to visit London with the kids and some extended family members. I have visited London multiple times throughout my life and have been to the gates of Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards. But one of the things I’ve always wanted to do since I was a child was to tour Buckingham Palace. I wanted to see inside the palace where The Queen lived and see the beautiful State Rooms, artwork, and decor.

One of the highlights of our trip was touring Buckingham Palace with our kids. Keep reading to learn more about our experience, and follow my tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with your children.

When Can You Tour Buckingham Palace?

The public can tour Buckingham Palace from Thursdays through Mondays. The State Rooms are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. From July 22nd to August, Buckingham Palace is normally open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with the last admission at 5:15 p.m. And from September to October, it is open from 9:30 a.m to 6:30 p.m., with the last admission at 4:15 p.m.  Make sure to double-check the opening times before you visit the palace.

When is the best time to visit Buckingham Palace?

Entry is on a timed basis, so aim to come no later than 10 minutes before the entry time on your ticket. How long does it take to tour Buckingham Palace? You should plan to allow 2 to 2.5 hours for touring Buckingham Palace with children.

Can You Tour Buckingham Palace

What To See In Buckingham Palace

Are you wondering what does Buckingham Palace look like inside? Let’s find out! When exploring Buckingham Palace with children on the self-guided tour, you will see and learn about the following.

Flags and Clocks

As you approach or exit Buckingham Palace, look for the flag on the roof. When the king is home, the Royal Standard is flown; otherwise, the Union Flag flies.

Inside, look for clocks. The palace has more than 350 operating clocks, one of the world’s greatest collections. Two full-time horological conservators preserve them all.

Audio Tour with King Charles III

Buckingham Palace Audio Tour
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Lunch by Lucy Sparrow at Buckingham Palace, 2022

Buckingham Palace tours include a complimentary audio guide. King Charles III introduces the tour of all 19 State Rooms and the yearly special display. Multiple languages are supported. Interactive family excursions and deaf/blind tours are also available.

I recommend the free Family Multimedia Tour aimed at families with children under age 12. It is an engaging and interactive way for the whole family to listen to Alice the Footman and Rex the Corgi, who will guide you through the Palace as you explore the State Rooms.

The Grand Staircase

The tour highlights Buckingham Palace’s Grand Staircase. John Nash built the spectacular bronze staircase for King George IV’s 1825-1830 palace refurbishment. The spectacular double balustrade includes an exquisite design of oak, laurel leaves, and acanthus. A ceiling glass dome illuminates the stairway.

The State Apartments

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, 19 staterooms, and 78 baths. In Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms, the King greets, awards, and entertains subjects and dignitaries. These rooms were used for Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding reception (now the Prince and Princess of Wales). The rooms include candelabra, marble columns, luxurious rugs, damask wallpaper, beautiful furniture, sculpture, and art.

The Throne Room

Visitors love Buckingham Palace’s Throne Room. It has thrones used for investitures and ceremonial banquets, such as Queen Elizabeth II’s jubilees, and has doubled as a ballroom (during your guided tour, you’ll also visit the official Ballroom, the palace’s biggest multi-purpose space). 

The Unique Exhibition

Every year, the summer opening features a one-of-a-kind show. In 2022 The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace showcased a stunning sequence of photos of Queen Elizabeth II shot by Dorothy Wilding after her ascension to the throne in 1952, celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Garden Cafe and Shop

Your State Rooms or Garden Tour concludes at Buckingham Palace’s Garden Cafe. The cafe serves tea, coffee, sandwiches, and pastries. The Garden Shop sells Royal Collection-exclusive items and souvenirs throughout the summer. Homewares, china, apparel, jewelry, toys, books, and postcards are available. Royal Collection artworks inspire most goods. One of the highlights of our time in London was picking out gifts and souvenirs from the Buckingham Palace garden shop.

Tour of Buckingham Palace Gardens

Tour of Buckingham Palace Gardens

Buckingham Palace’s 39-acre grounds feature 350 varieties of wildflowers, 200 trees, and a 3-acre lake. Annual Garden Parties were held there. Are Buckingham Palace gardens open to the public? Buckingham Palace State Rooms tickets show the garden’s south side. 

The Garden Highlights Tour is a 45-minute guided walking tour that is an add-on to The State Rooms tour. It features King George VI and Fred Perry’s 1930s tennis courts, a magnificent herbaceous border, a wisteria-clad Summer House, the Rose Garden, and the gigantic Waterloo Vase.

Buckingham Palace Tour and Afternoon Tea

Buckingham Palace Tour and Afternoon Tea

Eating and drinking are not permitted inside the palace during the tour, except for bottled water. At the end of touring Buckingham Palace State Rooms, we visited The Garden Cafe. We enjoyed afternoon tea in Buckingham Palace with popular refreshments such as cream teas, jubilee trifle, and coronation chicken sandwiches. There were also menu options for the kids, with lunch boxes including cheese or ham sandwiches, Hula Hoops, and a juice box.

Our visit to Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea was the first day of the season. Therefore, the staff was still working through training procedures and struggling to keep up with the demand in the cafe. There were long lines and excessive wait times in the summer heat, but everyone was very friendly, and I’m sure that would improve as the summer season got going.

Buckingham Palace Tickets

How much is a Buckingham Palace ticket? In 2022 tickets to see Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms cost £19.50 for young people aged 18 to 24, £30 for adults over 24, and £16.50 for children aged five and above. Children under five enter for free; however, tickets must be reserved in advance. How to book Buckingham Palace tickets? Before your visit, go here for current ticket pricing.

You may also purchase an add-on ticket from the Royal Collection Trust’s website, which includes a 45-minute guided tour of Buckingham Palace grounds after you visit the State Rooms. Buckingham Palace may be explored in two hours and 30 minutes.

Family Ticket Pricing

Is there a discount code for Buckingham Palace tickets? Unfortunately, I do not have a discount code to share with you. However, when you book tickets directly, a family discount is automatically applied. Families visiting Buckingham Palace can save up to £25.00 on booking at least one adult and two children and up to 2 adults and four children.

Also, you can enjoy free re-admission to Buckingham Palace for one year following your visit. At the end of your visit, before you exit the palace grounds, have a warden stamp your admission ticket. This converts it to a 1-Year Pass and is a great way to visit Buckingham Palace free of charge!

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Tips for Visiting Buckingham Palace with Children 

Tips for Visiting Buckingham Palace with Children 

After you’ve learned what to anticipate while visiting Buckingham palace with children, it’s critical to understand the following recommendations. These tips for touring Buckingham Palace will help you quickly and easily enter the palace with children. Ensure you obey the regulations so you don’t get booted out!

1. Buy Your Tickets Online Ahead Of Time

You should buy your tickets to Buckingham Palace online in advance. As far ahead as possible! Tickets for the Buckingham Palace tour are incredibly popular and usually sell out well in advance.

When you buy tickets online, you may choose an admission time. The sooner you buy your tickets, the better your chances of getting an admission time that works for you. If you do not buy tickets in advance, you risk receiving an admission time that is inconvenient or coincides with other arrangements.

You must attend at the time specified on your ticket when touring Buckingham Palace with children. Late arrivals are not permitted to enter the palace, so arrive on time! You will have minimal choices if you wait to buy just a few weeks before your trip.

2. Get There Early When Touring Buckingham Palace

Since you can’t enter the palace if you’re late, arrive early. Too early is better than late. It would be terrible to miss your tour and waste money due to a delay at Buckingham Palace.

When you visit Buckingham Palace with children, your ticket has an entry time. The palace recommends visitors arrive 10 minutes early. Ticket scanning and security take a while. After scanning your ticket, tent security is two-sided. One side shows the current and next time slots. Ticket scanning will tell you which line to join. If you arrive with enough time, you won’t have trouble getting to the proper security line or entering the palace on time.

3. Royal Trust Combination Tickets

Buckingham Palace tour tickets may be combined. Royal Trust combination tickets provide discounts on numerous attractions. Are you wondering what to do near Buckingham Palace? You may combine tickets for the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery. If you want to visit many royal attractions, get a combined ticket. You’ll save some money.

At The Royal Mews, you can see behind the scenes at one of the finest working stables. Marvel at historic royal carriages used at state occasions, including the iconic 260-year-old Gold State Coach. Visit The Queen’s Gallery to see changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection. This features images from the vast photograph collection, decorative arts, rare furniture, and master paintings.

We chose to skip the combination ticket add-ons and just did the Buckingham Palace State Rooms tours with our children. For our family, the 2-hour self-guided tour of Buckingham Palace, plus additional time enjoying afternoon tea at The Garden Cafe, and time shopping for gifts and souvenirs at the garden shop, was plenty for our children aged between 5 and 10 years old.

Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to take photos inside Buckingham Palace. After we exited the palace grounds, we walked around to the front of Buckingham Palace to take iconic photos at the railings and by The Queen Victoria Memorial before exploring some of the popular London playgrounds and parks.

4. Where Is The Entrance to Buckingham Palace? 

The Buckingham Palace tour entry isn’t where the changing of the guards takes place in front of the palace. The tour entrance is to the left of the Queen Victoria monument while facing Buckingham Palace. Follow the black railings outside the palace grounds along Buckingham Palace Road. You will likely see a line of people waiting to enter the palace for their tour.

A security officer will walk the line and call out ticket times. Let the security officer know if you’re at the back of the line and your entrance time is called.

People assume they can get in early if they come early, but they can’t. Thus arriving 10 minutes early is suggested to prevent boredom or long waits. If your time slot is called, you should exit the line.

5. Know What You Can’t Bring on Your Buckingham Palace Tour

Unsurprisingly, you are not permitted to carry certain items inside Buckingham Palace:

  • Food
  • Scissors
  • Liquids (except for bottled water)
  • Backpacks
  • Luggage
  • Pen Knives
  • Animals (other than guide, hearing, or assistance animals)

Backpacks and luggage larger than 45cm × 20cm × 30cm cannot be taken into the Palace at all, For safety reasons, strollers cannot be taken into the palace State Rooms. They must be checked in and collected after your tour. 

Unacceptable items will be confiscated or checked and returned to you when you leave. Food and drinks are confiscated, and luggage and backpacks are checked. Security will move faster if you’ve checked your bags for restricted goods. Security officers thoroughly inspected my baggage; they seized a protein bar from me.

We were also asked to wear small backpacks on the front. I assume this prevents visitors from brushing past palace walls and artwork unknowingly with a large bag on their backs.

6. Other Prohibited Items for Touring Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace tours are smoke-free. Smoking in the palace or gardens results in expulsion. Rainy weather greeted me at Buckingham Palace. Large umbrellas were checked and returned after the tour. You should bring a compact umbrella in a small bag, so you don’t have to check and retrieve it when you leave the palace grounds.

7. Visit Buckingham Palace Family Pavilion

Visit the Family Pavilion

The Family Pavilion offers a range of activities for children under 12. It is located in the Palace Garden – you will find it as you exit the State Rooms – directly across from the Garden Cafe.

The Buckingham Palace Family Pavilion offers a quiet area for children to read, color, or do activity sheets. It features a family photo op, listening stations, and games that explore the working life of the Palace. This area is open daily and is a must-do activity for families visiting Buckingham Palace with children.

How The Buckingham Palace Tour Works

Buckingham Palace excursions run like other Royal Trust tours. The self-paced tour includes an audio guide with palace details. The tour is self-guided since there’s no tour leader. You can’t deviate from the tour route or revisit a previously visited room. 

Because of the audioguide, you’ll spend a lot of time in each room. Not rushing through the tour is wise. In each room, you can learn more about a particular item, such as art or furniture. Allow 2 to 2.5 hours for visiting Buckingham Palace with children.

How do you get to Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace is in the heart of London. The nearest subway stations are Green Park, Victoria, and Hyde Park Corner. Several buses stop nearby as well. Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk away if you arrive by coach.

The London Underground is the best method to reach Buckingham Palace. Depending on where you stay in London, you may be able to walk to Buckingham Palace, although most people use the Tube. Oyster cards make utilizing London’s public transit easy.

The Closest Tube Stations near Buckingham Palace are:

  • Victoria
  • St. James’ Park
  • Green Park

All are within 10 minutes of Buckingham Palace. St. James’ Park boasts the most picturesque stroll and is a beautiful way to prepare for a Buckingham Palace tour. If you have time, stop at St. James’ Park, where there is a coffee kiosk next to a children’s playground by the entrance on Birdcage Walk. This is across the street from Wellington Barracks, where you can enjoy watching The Changing of the Guards.

Buckingham Palace Location Map

Follow this map to see the best way to get to Buckingham Palace in London.

Map from Google

Final Verdict for Touring Buckingham Palace with Children

Summertime in London is the greatest time to visit Buckingham Palace. It affords you a window into royal family life, and you leave with increased information. 

Common areas and banquet rooms are largely visible. Buckingham Palace is worth the entry charge. To optimize your experience, respect royal laws and arrive early. Buying tickets online months in advance might also enhance your vacation. I suggest the Buckingham Palace tour for families. It’s true royal tourism and worth every penny.  

I hope you’ve found this guide helpful for touring Buckingham Palace with children. This was one of the highlights of our visit to London with the kids, and we hope your family enjoys your visit to Buckingham Palace as much as we did!

For more about family travel, check out these posts:
Tower of London Visit with Kids
Changing of the Guard Tips for Families
Visiting The London Eye With Children: Complete Guide
Best Things to do in London with Kids
Free or Cheap Activities in London for Families
How to Get Around London with Kids
How to Avoid Lost Luggage

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Tips for visiting Buckingham Palace with Kids
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Ruth Hutchins grew up in England and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, Doug, and their two young daughters. They always loved to travel, but once having children everything changed because family travel is more complicated. Traveling with a baby may feel overwhelming to new parents. Travel with a toddler can really test your patience, and traveling with kids can lead to utter chaos. However, travel with your little ones doesn’t have to be that stressful or exhausting. On the BE Family Travel blog Ruth shares her parenting wins, and even epic failures about traveling with kids. She provides resources to help you feel empowered to plan a family vacation and travel with your children.