The 8 Best Buckingham Palace Tours of 2019

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Buy Changing of the Guard Ceremony Tour Tickets with Viator "Combines a tour of the famous residence and in-depth, guided information of the Changing of the Guards ceremony."

Best Budget: Buy Buckingham Palace State Rooms Tour Tickets with Viator "These extravagant rooms are home to iconic treasures from the Royal Collection."

Best Day Trip: Buy Palace and Windsor Castle Day Trip Tickets with Viator "For a double dose of the royal residences in one day."

Best Tour with Tea: Buy Palace Tour Including Afternoon Tea Tickets with Viator "Walk through beautiful St. James Park before settling in for afternoon tea with pastries."

Best Combo Tour: Buy Palace and Vintage Bus Tour of London Tickets with Viator "A sightseeing tour on a vintage, red Routemaster bus with a Thames river cruise."

Best Small Group Tour: Buy Tour for Small Groups to Buckingham Palace and State Rooms Tickets with Viator "Provides an in-depth walking tour of landmarks surrounding Buckingham Palace."

Best for Families: Buy London's Royal Private Family Tour Tickets with Viator "Includes a visit to Leinster Gardens where kids can take a break and play on the playground."

Best Palace and Parks Tour: Buy Expert Led Tour of Buckingham Palace & London's Royal Parks Tickets with Viator "Learn more about London’s famous parks."

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Best Overall: Changing of the Guard Ceremony Tour

Buckingham Palace Tour

Viator

To learn more about Buckingham Palace, this option combines a tour of the famous residence and in-depth, guided information of the Changing of the Guards ceremony. Knowledgeable guides position travelers at the best vantage points during certain times of Changing of the Guards, and they also provide headsets so you'll be able to hear all the informative commentary. Afterward, skip the long lines and jump right into an audio tour of Buckingham Palace’s iconic staterooms. The walking tour lasts approximately two hours and 45 minutes and begins on the streets outside the palace for a fascinating look at history.

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Best Budget: Buckingham Palace State Rooms Tour

Buckingham Palace Tour

Viator

For 10 weeks every summer (mid-July through the end of September), Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms are available for the public to tour. The 19 State Rooms were designed by architect John Nash and are used by the royal family for ceremonial events and hosting guests. These extravagant rooms are home to iconic treasures from the Royal Collection — including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Canaletto — porcelain sculptures, furniture, and crystal chandeliers. The audio tours feature the Throne Room, the White Drawing Room, and the Ballroom, plus a stroll past the south side of the palace garden. Tours take about two- to two and a half hours, or you can also upgrade your admission to visit the Royal Mews (Buckingham Palace’s stables).

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Best Day Trip: Palace and Windsor Castle Day Trip

Palace and Windsor Castle Day Trip

Viator

For a double dose of the royal residences in one day, this tour will make you an expert on the royal family. The 8.5-hour journey begins in Central London where you will be picked up in an air-conditioned coach to Buckingham Palace. Here, you'll tour the ornate State Rooms (during the summer) on an audio tour, and take in the special Queen Victoria’s Palace exhibition, which showcases how Buckingham Palace was transformed from a private house to a working royal residence. Then it’s off to tour Windsor Castle and St. George's Chapel, where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married. The tour finishes at Harrod's Department Store in Central London. Also, note that meals are not included.

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Best Tour with Tea: Palace Tour Including Afternoon Tea

Palace Tour Including Afternoon Tea

Viator

No visit to London would be complete without having afternoon tea, and when would it be more appropriate than after exploring the royal palace? On this four-hour tour, you'll be issued pre-booked tickets to breeze through the lines for an audio tour of the State Rooms. After, your guide will walk you through beautiful St. James Park before settling in for afternoon tea with pastries, scones, and cakes at an elegant venue that overlooks the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. Your guide will also provide cultural knowledge about England’s long-standing tradition with tea. Be aware that the tour includes a good amount of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best London tours.

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Best Combo Tour: Palace and Vintage Bus Tour of London

Palace and Vintage Bus Tour of London

Viator

For a taste of iconic London, consider this 5.5-hour journey that pairs a sightseeing tour on a vintage, red Routemaster bus and a Thames river cruise. The 60s, double-decker bus passes landmarks like Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey before hopping aboard a boat past Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and St Paul’s Cathedral. Lastly, the guide accompanies travelers to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard ceremony, guaranteed entry to skip the lines, and an audio tour of the State Rooms.

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Best Small Group Tour: Tour for Small Groups to Buckingham Palace and State Rooms

Tour for Small Groups to Buckingham Palace and State Rooms

Viator

For those who prefer a personalized experience, this option provides an in-depth walking tour of landmarks surrounding Buckingham Palace. The four-hour, narrated tour crosses Piccadilly Circus past the Spencer House (the family home of Princess Diana), the Clarence House, and St. James Palace — the British royal residence in the City of Westminster that's also home to Prince Charles and Camilla. Then, travel through Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace to take in the Changing of the Guard. After the ceremony, enjoy an audio tour of the State Rooms (during the summer). The small group tour has a maximum of 14 guests.

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Best for Families: London's Royal Private Family Tour

Buckingham Palace, London, UK

Pawel Libera/ Getty Images

Making history fun and educational for little ones can be tricky, but this tour nails it. The two-hour tour packs six stops into the itinerary, including a visit to Leinster Gardens where kids can take a break and play on the playground. The guided narration gives visitors a more in-depth knowledge of the royals (along with secrets and scandals) with stops at Kensington Palace, Albert Memorial, and Hyde Park. Guides weave in interactive activities like treasure hunts and quizzes for the kids, plus there’s a stop for refreshments at one of the parks. The tour concludes at Buckingham Palace with more information from the guide. Children ages 10 years and under can also take the tour for free.

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Best Palace and Parks Tour: Expert Led Tour of Buckingham Palace & London's Royal Parks

Expert Led Tour of Buckingham Palace & London's Royal Parks

Viator

Learn more about London’s famous parks like Regent’s Park and St. James’s Park on this four-hour walking tour. The tour begins at the Jewel Tower, where you will learn about how it survived the fire of 1834 before heading to St. James’ Palace. Included in the package are tickets to Buckingham Palace and audio guides. Before you enter the palace, guides will explain more about the royalty, culture, and traditions of England. The tour also has a maximum of six people, and be aware that children under 12 years old are not permitted.

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