Visit the Queen’s official home
Dazzling State Rooms filled with magnificent treasures and fine English and French furniture. The historic Gold State Coach. Paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens. It can only be Buckingham Palace – official London residence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and one of the most popular stops for Big Bus Tours.
Fit for kings and queens since 1703
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the heart of today's palace used to be a grand London townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. In 1761, George III turned it into a private residence for Queen Charlotte, which became known as ‘The Queen's House’.
During the last years of George IV's reign, architect John Nash enlarged Buckingham House into the imposing U-shaped Buckingham Palace we know today, with further alterations designed by Edward Blore. You’ll recognise the famous balcony on the East front, from which the Royal Family wave to the crowds below.
Fascinating history. Regal glory
During the Blitz in World War II a bomb destroyed the palace chapel. The Queen's Gallery was built on the site, opening to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
You can now explore three different areas of the Palace, including the Royal Mews, before enjoying some light refreshments in the Garden Café. This looks over the famous Buckingham Palace Garden – the largest private garden in London.
Other interesting facts about Buckingham Palace
- The first monarch to use it as an official residence was Queen Victoria, who moved there after her coronation in 1837. William IV preferred to live at Clarence House and used St. James’s Palace for state functions
- Buckingham Palace has its own chapel, post office, swimming pool, staff cafeteria, doctor’s surgery and cinema
- There are 775 rooms in total. These include 19 State Rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms