The Mall, SW1
Tel: 020 7799 2331
Nearest Tube: St James Park
Buckingham Palace is the main home of Queen Elizabeth II and when she is in residence the Royal Standard flies above it. There are over 600 rooms in the palace, but the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh only occupy a small number of them.
In the summer months the state apartments are open to the public, attracting huge crowds of visitors. There are over a dozen rooms that you can visit, including, among others, the Music Room, the State Dining Room and the Throne Room - but you won't get to see the Queen's private rooms. And if you are hoping for a glimpse of the queen you'll be disappointed - when the palace is open to the public the queen is never in residence.
The only other way to see the interior of the palace is if you are one of the 30,000 odd people who are invited to one of the Queen's three garden parties that are held each year. But don't get your hopes up - chances of an invite are slim to say the least.
The palace was first built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham, but the exterior that you see today only dates from 1913. It first became the property of a monarch when George III bought it in 1762, but it wasn't until the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) that the palace became the primary royal residence.
Nearby you can visit the Queen's Gallery to see the Royal Collection or the Royal Mews to see the cars, carriages and horses used to transport the royals during ceremonial occasions.
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