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The State Rooms + Royal Mews

The State Rooms + Royal Mews

Buckingham Palace State Rooms

Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, as well as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. Today the Buckingham Palace State Rooms are used extensively by Her Majesty The Queen and Members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. During August and September when The Queen makes her annual visit to Scotland, the Palace’s nineteen state rooms are open to visitors.

What there is to see?
The Buckingham Palace State Rooms form the heart of the working palace and are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection – paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto; sculpture by Canova; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture.

In celebration of The Queen’s 90th birthday, a special exhibition will be staged across each of Her Majesty’s official residences during 2016.

Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe (30 July – 25 September 2016)

The Garden
Described as a ‘walled oasis in the middle of London’, the Palace’s garden is home to thirty different species of bird and more than 350 different wild flowers, some extremely rare. Visitors end their tour with a walk along the south side of the garden, with splendid views of the west front of the Palace and the famous lake.

Audio Guide
An audio guide is included in the ticket price and is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. There is also a family audio guide (in English only) and accompanying activity trail, suitable for children 7-11 years.

Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place at 11:30 daily from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting. The new guards arrive at the forecourt of the Palace at 11:30 from Wellington Barracks. The journey takes about 5 minutes and the soldiers are accompanied by a band. The ceremony is conducted on the Palace forecourt and takes approximately forty minutes to complete.

[The Army have not yet released the schedule for July, August or September.]

Wheelchair Access
If you require wheelchair access or the use of the lift, you should not book with 365 Tickets.com and should pre-book tickets directly with Buckingham Palace.
Access booking line: 020 7766 7324 www.royalcollection.org.uk or email specialistsales@royalcollection.org.uk

 

The Royal Mews

 

What there is to see?

One of the finest working stables in existence, the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace provides a unique insight into the department of the Royal Household that provides transport by road for The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. 

The Carriage Horses
During your visit to the Mews, you will see some of The Queen’s horses that draw the coaches and carriages in the Mews.

The Cleveland Bays are used to escort newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors to their audience with The Queen, when they present their formal credentials from their country’s Head of State.

You may also see the famous Windsor Greys, so called because they were kept at Windsor during the reign of Queen Victoria and drew the private carriages of the royal family. They are at least 16.1 hands (1.65 metres) high and are chosen for their steady temperament and stamina.

Coaches & Livery
The Royal Mews houses the royal collection of historic carriages and coaches, which you may see in use during your visit. Among the vehicles on display are the Irish State Coach, in which The Queen travels to the State Opening of Parliament, and the Australian State Coach, which combines traditional craftsmanship with 20th-century technology to provide heating and remote-controlled windows.

The most dazzling vehicle of all is the Gold State Coach, which was built for George III in 1762.  Weighing almost four tonnes and requiring eight horses to pull it, it has carried every monarch to their coronation since 1821.

Visitors to the Royal Mews can also see some of the fine livery worn by The Queen’s coachmen. Apart from a few small details, it remains much the same as it was in Victorian times.  Remarkably, some of the tailors used for production of liveries today are the same companies employed during the reign of George III in the 18th century.

Audio guide is included in the admission price and is available in the following languages:English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Russian

 

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Windsor Castle – Standard Ticket

Windsor Castle – Standard Ticket

What to look out for at Windsor Castle

There’s so much to see at Windsor Castle, it’s hard to know where to begin! Here are some of our favourite attractions from the tour:
The State Apartments: Windsor Castle’s lavishly decorated State Apartments hold a large collection of fine art and paintings that are stunning to behold. If you visit between September and March, you’ll be able to explore the Semi-State Rooms, which were created for George VI and are now used by The Queen for official entertaining.

St George’s Chapel: In the grounds of Windsor Castle, you’ll find St. George’s Chapel, an active centre of worship, where Prince Edward was married and Henry VIII was laid to rest.
 
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: Another must-see attraction at Windsor Castle is Queen Mary’s world-famous Dolls’ House, complete with working lifts, water and electricity supply! It has its own library, full of original works by the top literary names of the day, as well as a beautiful garden and a wine cellar.

Changing the Guard: This spectacular ceremony begins as the Windsor Castle Guard line up outside the Guard Room, until a regimental band, corps of drums or pipe band heralds the entrance of the new Guard. This 45-minute ceremony is part of London’s patriotic culture and is the ultimate spectacle to witness when you visit Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle facts

Windsor Castle was Queen Victoria’s main place of residence. After Prince Albert passed away, she was often referred to as ‘the Widow of Windsor’.

During World War II, the Royal Family secretly slept in Windsor Castle. The public believed they were sleeping in Buckingham Palace during this time.

There was a huge fire at Windsor Castle in November 1992, damaging more than 100 rooms. The restoration cost almost £40 million.

16 hours to move every clock forward when British Summer Time begins, and 18 hours to move them back again in the winter!clock makerThe Windsor Castle estate has more than 450 clocks. It takes the

The castle’s Great Kitchen is home to a whisk that can hold up to 250 eggs at a time, and the cellar holds around 18,000 bottles of wine.

The clocks in the Great Kitchen are always 5 minutes fast, so that the Queen’s food is never served late.

Tickets purchased through 365 Tickets cannot be upgraded to yearly passes
 

Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, is one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen. The Castle’s dramatic site encapsulates 900 years of British history. It covers an area of 26 acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, a magnificent chapel and the homes and workplaces of a large number of people.

What there is to see:
The magnificent State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and the famous triple portrait of Charles I by Sir Anthony van Dyck.  In 1992 fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms at the Castle. By good fortune the rooms worst affected were empty at the time, and as a result, few of the Castle’s artistic treasures were destroyed.  The highly acclaimed restoration work, completed in 1997, is a testament to the extraordinary skills of some of the finest craftsmen in Europe. From October to March visitors can also enjoy George IV’s private apartments (the Semi-State Rooms), among the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle.

St George’s Chapel is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. It is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, the senior order of British Chivalry established in 1348 by Edward III. Within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I. Among the highlights of a visit to Windsor is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the most famous dolls’ house in the world.

Photographer Credits:

Image 1: Photographer: Mark Fiennes, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

Image 2: Photographer: Dennis Gilbert, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

Image 3: Photographer: Ian Jones, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

Image 4: Photographer: John Freeman, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

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Palace of Holyroodhouse – Queens Gallery

Palace of Holyroodhouse – Queens Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery was built in the shell of the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School at the entrance to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The buildings were constructed in the 1840s with funds from the Duchess of Gordon, but fell into disuse in the late 19th century.

Benjamin Tindall Architects were appointed project architects for the new Queen’s Gallery in October 1999. Their central visual theme was a celebration of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, expressed through a series of arches and screens that lead visitors from the Gallery entrance to the exhibition spaces beyond. Their design complements the original 19th-century architecture, elements of which were incorporated into the new spaces. Unsympathetic later internal alterations were removed, and a new exposed steel and concrete floor inserted to reflect the original ‘gallery’ of the Church.  

A new stone arched entrance was created at the centre of the Horse Wynd frontage, opposite the new Scottish Parliament building. The use of a stone archway, with a courtyard beyond, is a traditional entrance device in Scottish architecture. The main walling is of Catcastle stone, the dressed work and lettering is of Stainton stone and the base is of Kenmay granite.

‘THE QUEEN’S GALLERY’ lettering above the entrance is the work of John Neilson, a calligrapher and carver. The letters were cut from single pieces of stone. Above sits Scotland’s heraldic lion, designed by Jill Watson. The lion sedant is based on a small red lion that sits at the feet of Mary, Queen of Scots on her tomb in Westminster Abbey. (The Palace of Holyroodhouse was once home to Mary, Queen of Scots.)  

The monumental entrance doors of oak have gilded bronze hinges by Jill Watson. Continuing the heraldic theme, the main hinges are decorated with the Scottish lion and unicorn. The beasts are set against the adjacent urban scene of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and the rural scene of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. The upper hinges are made as golden boughs of flowering native trees – chestnut and laburnum, oak, rowan and hawthorn.

The stone archway is decorated with a carved and gilded garland of Scottish flowers, including daisies and thistles, created by Graciela Ainsworth, an Edinburgh-based sculptor, carver and conservator. Over the old entrance to the former church is a stained-glass window by Christian Shaw.  The design shows a perspective drawing of the interior of a gallery.

At night, the shape of the archway is reflected by the glass lights by Keiko Mukaide set into the paving. The artist has given the tiles a water flow pattern, mirroring the stream of visitors walking in and out of the Gallery.

Inside, the reception desk by Hamid van Koten is made from curved pieces of Scottish elm with kilned glass and patinated copper. The pendant lights were designed and made in Edinburgh by Ingrid Phillips.

Dividing the reception from the main Gallery area is a patterned glass screen by Jacqueline Poncelet. The screen’s bronze handles by Jill Watson incorporate figures looking at art in a gallery.  

The dramatic central stair of native timber leads to the Gallery spaces above. The complex shape was designed by the architects with Charles Taylor Woodwork, who were responsible for the construction. Lights set into the first floor illuminate the curved balustrading.

The Queen’s Gallery was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 29 November 2002, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.

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Tower Bridge Exhibition + The Monument – Joint Ticket

Tower Bridge Exhibition + The Monument – Joint Ticket

TOWER BRIDGE
Over 100 years ago, the Victorians built a bridge that has become one of London’s most famous landmarks. High level walkways were built to allow people to cross the Thames whilst the Bridge was lifted to let tall ships sail past. Today these Walkways act as viewing galleries, giving visitors the most spectacular views across an ever changing London skyline.

Visitors enter Tower Bridge Exhibition via the North Tower. They are then transported by lift to the top of the Tower (47 metres above the Thames) where they have a unique opportunity to see the Bridge’s steel skeleton from within. A short film explains the history and provenance of the Bridge and then there is the chance to admire the spectacular views – from both covered Walkways. On the east Walkway there are fantastic views of the Docklands and from the west Walkway you can see the new GLA building, the Tower of London, St Paul’s, the city, the Pool of London and Big Ben and the London Eye in the distance. Interactive computerised kiosks and graphic panels explain the significance of the views to visitors, as well as providing more information on the history and building of the Bridge. The interactive material and graphic panels are written in seven languages and an audio loop for the hard of hearing is also in place for the video show.

There is another film to view in the South Tower before descending for the short walk to the historical Engine Rooms, included in your ticket price.

Victorian Engine Rooms
These provide a fascinating insight into late 19th century engineering. Installed for the completion of Tower Bridge in 1894, these huge, and beautifully maintained, coal-driven engines were used to power the thousands of bascule Bridge lifts performed until 1976. Although lifts are now operated by electricity, the original steam engines are still in place. The Engine Rooms give visitors a chance to experiment with models demonstrating the technology behind the Bridge. There are also some amazing photographs of the Bridge throughout its lifetime – including a revealing picture of the heavy steel structure of the Bridge as the stone cladding was installed over it.

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Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. 

Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart’s remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and Great Glen.

Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and its history from the 13th to 17th centuries was particularly bloody. Following Edward I’s invasion, it fell into English hands and was then reclaimed and lost again. In the 14th century, it figured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots. 

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle and glen were frequently raided from the west by the ambitious MacDonald Lords of the Isles.

The castle’s history and that of the noble families – Durward, MacDonald and Grant – who held it, is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The Centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle. 

Visitors can relax in the café and visit the shop with its local crafts. The visitor centre contains retail, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets on one level. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from visitor centre veranda.

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Kensington Palace & Diana Her Fashion Story

Kensington Palace & Diana Her Fashion Story

Kensington Palace unveils a palace of secret stories and public lives. Visitors arrive through beautiful landscaped gardens evoking a past when Kensington was countryside. From the entrance hall start your journey through the magnificent Kings and Queen’s State Apartments. Filled with stories of two royal courts; the Stuarts and the Hanoverians, learn what you would have worn, how you should behave and how to succeed in the heady atmosphere of the palace state apartments.

The Queen’s State Apartments

Explore these intimate, private rooms created for Queen Mary II, who ruled jointly with her husband, King William III, in the 17th century. 

The Queen’s rooms

The Queen’s Staircase, little changed since its construction in 1690, is deliberately plainer than the King’s. Mary would have glided down its steps to reach her beloved gardens, created in the Dutch style, through the door at its foot.

At the top of the staircase is the Queen’s Gallery. Built in 1693, it was once filled with sumptuous artefacts including Turkish carpets, embroidered silk hangings and oriental porcelain. It was designed as a light and airy space for Mary to enjoy simple pastimes such as walking, reading and needlework.

The next door leads to the Queen’s Closet. It was in this room that Queen Anne, Mary’s younger sister, and her childhood friend and confidante, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, had a terrible argument in 1711.  Sarah and her husband were stripped of their high-rank positions and dismissed from court, which caused a shift of power between parliamentary factions.

The next room along is the Queen’s Dining Room which has beautiful panelling from the 17th century. It was a space where Mary and William could dine together, out of the public eye. They enjoyed dining modestly, on fish and beer.

Queen Mary was passionate about porcelain and filled the next room, her Drawing Room, with pieces from China and Japan. Visitors can also see William and Mary’s intertwined monogram in the beautifully carved cornice.

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