While there are many, many things to do in London, few places to visit quite compete with the royal spectacle surrounding Buckingham Palace. Of course, watching the Changing of the Guard is always a fun experience for tourists, but it doesn’t quite compare with actually getting to go inside Buckingham Palace and experience the royal residence in all its beauty for yourself.
If you’re thinking of visiting Buckingham Palace, it’s essential that you properly plan your visit and organize your Buckingham Palace tickets to avoid any disappointment. This guide on how to buy tickets for Buckingham Palace will explain why planning is so important and how you can make the most of this iconic attraction.
Quick Answer – Buckingham Palace Tickets Available:
- The State Rooms Entrance Ticket < most popular!
- The Royal Mews Entrance Ticket
- The Queen’s Gallery Entrance Ticket
Best Ways to Get Tickets to Buckingham Palace
Given how popular Buckingham Palace and other royal landmarks are with tourists in London, it makes sense that there are a variety of ways to get your tickets to Buckingham Palace. Deciding where to buy tickets for Buckingham Palace comes down to how organized you are, what you hope to see, and how much you’re willing to spend. Below we explain each of the different options so that you can go with whichever works best for you, and we also explain why skip-the-line Buckingham Palace tickets aren’t a thing.
1. Line Up in Person (Not Possible)
While it may have once been a way to buy tickets to Buckingham Palace, if a bad one, it’s no longer possible to line up at Buckingham Palace to get tickets. The palace changed to a timed ticketing system to better manage its visitors numbers and, as such, removed the option of purchasing tickets to Buckingham Palace upon arrival.
2. Book Online (Recommended)
The good news is that booking tickets to Buckingham Palace online couldn’t be easier. You can even book them up until five minutes before entry time, although it’s always best to arrange them well in advance of your visit to ensure you get to visit at your desired time and day. Because all tickets are now booked online, there aren’t really such things as skip-the-line tickets for Buckingham Palace, as there is no ticket line to skip anymore.
Tourists can book their tickets online through the official website of Buckingham Palace. However, it should be noted that these tickets are nonrefundable and not easily changed, meaning you’ll be out of pocket should you need to cancel. Instead, we recommend booking through this link for tickets to the State Rooms, through this link for tickets to the Queen’s Gallery, and through this link for tickets to the Royal Mews. With this option, you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance and receive a full refund for basically the same price.
3. Book a Guided Tour
Visitors looking to get a little more from the experience should take the time to consider a guided tour of Buckingham Palace. This option lets you explore the magnificent State Rooms with a tour guide who will tell you about the royal residence and answer any burning questions you may have. Unfortunately, guided tours are only available at certain times of the year, so you’ll need to check the official website to see if they are operating when you plan on visiting.
Useful Information for Visiting Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace Hours of Operation
Buckingham Palace is only open for specific periods throughout the year, so the timing of your visit is crucial if you want to be able to get in. Opening hours are also different for the State Rooms, Queen’s Gallery, and Royal Mews, so be sure to look at each if you plan on visiting more than one of them. The one thing they have in common is that they are all closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The State Rooms are open from November 5, 2021, to January 30, 2022, but only for special select guided tours. They open again for general admission for summer from July to October 2022. During July and August, the opening hours are from 9:30 to 19:30, with last entry at 17:15. In September and October, the opening hours are from 9:30 to 18:30 and last entry is at 16:15.
The Queen’s Gallery is closed from February 14 until April 7, 2022, as well as on January 24. Its opening hours are from 10:00 to 17:30, with last entry at 16:15. The Royal Mews are open from May 19 until October 2, 2022, with closures on May 21, May 28, June 2, and June 5. Their opening hours are from 10:00 until 17:00, with last entry at 16:15.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Buckingham Palace?
Normally with popular tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, there are better times than others to visit if you want to avoid it being too busy. But because the palace isn’t open to the public for much of the year, the best time of year to visit is really whenever the parts of the palace you want to see are open.
As for the best time of day to schedule your visit, the middle of the day is always the busiest period, so avoiding it is wise. Instead, plan your visit for first thing in the morning or wait until the late afternoon, when the crowds have started to die down. Weekends are always going to be the busiest days to visit, so try to go on a weekday if possible.
How to Get to Buckingham Palace
To get to Buckingham Palace, travelers have a few options using the city’s celebrated public transport network. The exact route you should take will depend on where you’re coming from, but we’ll identify the main lines and routes that cover the last leg of your journey.
If you’re coming into Westminster by train, then you’ll want to get the train to either Victoria Station or Charing Cross Station and walk 10 minutes or 15 minutes, respectively. For those using the London Underground, the closest stations are St. James’s Park on the Circle and District lines, and Green Park Station on the Jubilee, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. As for taking the bus, the nearest stop is Victoria Station/Grosvenor Gardens, where the 11, 211, N11, and N44 buses stop.
For help on getting into Central London if you’re flying into the city, be sure to check our dedicated guide to getting from the airport.
How Do Buckingham Palace Tickets Work?
Tickets to Buckingham Palace are designed to allow visitors to pick and choose which parts of the palace complex they wish to visit. There are three main parts of Buckingham Palace that the public can visit: the State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Royal Mews. Each requires its own ticket, and each has its own opening hours. There is no restriction on how far in advance you can book tickets, which makes it easier to plan your trip.
When booking Buckingham Palace tickets, visitors will need to select a specific time for their visit, as the palace has introduced a scheduling system to manage visitor numbers. Visitors are asked to only join the short line for admission at the time on their ticket and not before.
If you are not on a guided tour, multimedia tours in nine different languages are provided complimentary with your ticket to each of the sites.
How Much Do Tickets for Buckingham Palace Cost?
Now that we’ve covered the types of tickets available to visitors, it’s probably best that we also look at how much Buckingham Palace tickets cost. Prices for tickets will vary depending on where you get them and whether they’re for a tour, but we’ll cover the most common ticket prices for Buckingham Palace.
General admission to the State Rooms costs £30 for adults, £19.50 for youths aged 18 to 24, and £16.50 for children aged 5 to 17 and people with a disability. Tickets to the Queen’s Gallery depend on the exhibition being held but can cost £16–£17 for adults, £11–£12 for youths, and £8–£9 for children. There are also tickets to the Royal Mews, which are £14 for adults, £9 for youths, and £8 for children. Children under the age of five can enter each of these sites for free.
For those wishing to visit all three areas, there is the Royal Day Out ticket. This combined ticket costs £55 for adults, £36 for youths, and £30 for children.
Hotels Near Buckingham Palace
Some travelers may want to know what their options are for places to stay near Buckingham Palace. With its location deep in Central London, there’s no shortage of accommodation to choose from in the areas of Westminster, St. James’s, and Victoria. But should you want our input, here are the places to stay near Buckingham Palace that we think are the best pick for each budget range.
It doesn’t get more luxurious than The Stafford London, a great five-star option for travelers looking for somewhere special to stay. The hotel overlooking Green Park is a five-minute walk from the palace, and provides guests with exquisite rooms and suites, a restaurant, a bar, and a wine cellar.
For those seeking equal parts comfort and affordability, consider The Eaton Townhouse in Victoria. This three-star hotel is situated 15 minutes from the palace by foot and offers freshly furnished rooms with all the basic amenities needed for a pleasant stay. Another way to go is to organize a holiday apartment for yourself, something you can learn more about from our London holiday apartment guide.
Central London is never going to be a cheap place to stay, so the best bet for budget travelers in this part of the city is the PubLove @ The White Ferry hostel. Located in Abbots Manor, the hostel is a 20-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, which is impressive considering how affordable and comfortable the dorms there are. For other budget recommendations, be sure to check out our London hostel guide.
Ongoing Exhibitions at Buckingham Palace
Throughout the year, Buckingham Palace hosts special exhibitions and events in the State Rooms and Queen’s Gallery. Entry to exhibitions in the State Rooms are included as part of general admission, but the different exhibitions at the Queen’s Gallery may require their own tickets. Special exhibitions currently taking place are:
- Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession (State Rooms, July 22 to October 2, 2022)
- Masterpieces From Buckingham Palace (Queen’s Gallery, May 17, 2021 to February 13, 2022)
- Japan: Courts and Culture (Queen’s Gallery, April 8, 2022 to March 12, 2023)
Security Process at Buckingham Palace
All visitors to the palace will have to go through a security screening before entering the palace. Knowing what to expect and what is allowed to be brought inside will help ensure you have no delays or problems getting in.
The airport-style security check involves going through a metal detector and having belongings and bags scanned. Handbags are permitted, but large bags, backpacks, and pushchairs are not allowed inside and will need to be checked in and retrieved later.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors to Buckingham Palace must follow certain health and safety measures, such as maintaining social distancing requirements and wearing a face mask throughout their time inside the palace.
Visiting Buckingham Palace With a Disability
To assist visitors with disabilities, Buckingham Palace has introduced measures to make the site more accessible. These measures are designed to assist people with mobility issues, hearing impairments, visual impairments, and those with neurodivergencies.
Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs can be used within the palace, while manual wheelchairs are provided when necessary. Step-free access is possible from the front of the palace. The palace provides BSL multimedia guides for those with hearing impairments and descriptive audio guides for those with visual impairments. Registered assistance animals are permitted inside the palace.
FAQ – Facts About Buckingham Palace
What Is Buckingham Palace?
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence as well as the administrative headquarters for the monarch of the United Kingdom.
When Was Buckingham Palace Built?
The house that laid the foundation for Buckingham Palace was built from 1703 to 1705.
How Old Is Buckingham Palace?
Buckingham Palace is 317 years old, or at least parts of it are.
Who Built Buckingham Palace?
John Sheffield, who would later become the Duke of Buckingham, had Buckingham House built by William Talman and Captain William Winde.
Why Was Buckingham Palace Built?
John Sheffield had an existing house on the land of Buckingham Palace replaced with Buckingham House because he thought it was too old-fashioned.
Where Is Buckingham Palace Located?
Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster in Inner London, between St. James’s Park, Green Park, and Buckingham Palace Garden.
You should be well prepared for touring Buckingham Palace now that all the ways you can visit have been laid out for you. Understanding how tickets to Buckingham Palace work will make planning your visit much easier and hopefully help you have a memorable visit to this iconic attraction.