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50 fascinating facts about Buckingham Palace

50 fascinating facts about Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is easily accessible off our main routes with a hop-on hop-off ticket. Book your bus tour tickets and hop off at stop 13 on the yellow route or 19 on the blue route to see the 39-acre Royal Residence first-hand! If you wish to discover Buckingham palace and its surroundings on foot, let our Tootwalk guide you ! 

  1. Buckingham Palace sits in the very heart of London, surrounded by the lavish St. James and Green Parks.

  2. Built as Buckingham House in 1703, the palace was originally constructed by English Gentleman and architect William Winde as a large townhouse for Duke Buckingham.

  3. In 1761, King George III bought the property as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, earning it the title The Queen’s House. It is under King George IV that the residence was transformed into the palace we know today.

  4. In the 19th century, the residence underwent renovations, adding three additional wings that surround a central courtyard.

  5. In 1837, the palace became the London Residence of one of Britain’s most famous and longest reigning monarchs, Queen Victoria.

  6. In 1982, Michael Fagan broke into the Royal Residence, entering Queen Elizabeth II’s very own bedroom.

  7. Buckingham Palace features 775 rooms. These include 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, and 19 state rooms.

  8. In total, the Buckingham palace grounds span over 39 acres.

  9. Despite the palace serving as an important space for the royal family, the King does not in fact privately own the residence. It is instead held in trust by the Crown Estates.

  10. Despite the Netflix series “The Crown” setting many scenes in the building, the actual palace was never used by the cast.  However, several scenes were filmed in iconic British buildings such as Lancaster House, Ely Cathedral, and Eltham Palace to name a few!

  11. When the King is not in residence, typically around late July to late September, the beautiful State Rooms at Buckingham palace are open to the public, attracting tourists from all over the world!

  12. With dimensions of 36.6 m long, 18m wide, and 13.5 m high, the ballroom earns the award for the largest room in the iconic palace.

  13. The ceremony of the Changing of the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, occurs just outside of Buckingham Palace at 10:45 and typically lasts around 45 minutes. The actual handover between guards occurs at 11 a.m.

  14. Due to the event’s widespread popularity, finding a proper viewing spot for the Changing of the Guard can prove tricky. 

  15. There are a staggering 760 windows and 1,514 doors at Buckingham Palace.

  16. Esteemed architect John Nash transformed Buckingham House into the magnificent palace that it is today. However, he went way over budget when reconstructing the building and was promptly fired from the job.

  17. A child by the name of Edward Jones managed to break into the Palace three times, stealing food from the kitchen, Elizabeth II’s underwear, and even getting a chance to sit on the throne!

  18. Although the palace is the official residence for British monarchs, Queen Elizabeth II actually preferred staying at Windsor Castle, which is about 20 miles away from the palace, and saw Buckingham Palace as her office.

  19. Over the course of World War Two, Buckingham Palace survived 9 German Bombs attacks.

  20. Despite concerns for their own safety, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, later known as the Queen Mother, refused to leave the palace during the onslaught of German bombings.

  21. When the King's royal standard flag flies elegantly above the palace, the King is currently in residence at the palace. When the Union Jack billows elegantly in the wind, this signals that the King is elsewhere.

  22. A clockmaker works at the palace, maintaining over 350 clocks and watches. Ensuring that time passes smoothly, two horological conservators wind the clocks at the palace up every week.

  23. The iconic red uniforms that the guards wear were chosen for two very practical reasons. At the time the uniforms were created, red was one of the cheapest dyes to manufacture and thus saved the royal family money when clothing the guards. Concerning military strategy, red is the most difficult colour to distinguish from a distance. The enemy would thus experience difficulty identifying how many British Soldiers they were about to fight.

  24. Military bands accompany the guards at the ceremony. They play both traditional military music and a mix of popular music.

  25. The royal guards protecting the monarch can be broken down into five infantry regiments. Identifying the placement of tunic buttons is the best way to distinguish between the groups of soldiers.

  26. King Henry VII made the Royal Body Guard a permanent fixture of the royal family, lasting well over 500 years!

  27. The first event ever to be held in the palace’s magnificent ballroom was a celebration of the end of the Crimean War.

  28. Over 40,000 lightbulbs fill the entire palace. The ballroom bears the distinction of being the first room to have electricity, installed in 1883.

  29. A series of secret tunnels run beneath Buckingham Palace. When the Queen Mother and King George VI descended into the tunnels, they apparently met a man from Newcastle living in the tunnels.

  30. Over one million people from all over the world attended Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

  31. Not just any soldier can take a guard post. Only highly trained soldiers that have fought with great distinction can qualify for the guard.

  32. Palace of Whitehall was the first location where the Changing of the Guard ceremony took place.

  33. The guards that do serve the Monarchy all volunteer to do so, given that it is a prestigious position and great honour to serve the monarchy so closely.

  34. Edward VII still remains the only monarch to both be born and pass away at Buckingham Palace.

  35. Despite the introduction of mass media, notices concerning Royal births and deaths are still posted outside of Buckingham Palace to keep the public informed!

  36. The palace garden is the largest private garden in all of London. It features a tennis court, lake, and even a helicopter landing!

  37. When the palace is open to the public, tours of the state room can take around 2-2.5 hours, lending tourists plenty of time to take in the palace’s beauty.

  38. Over 50,000 guests are invited to the palace each year. They are entertained at receptions, garden parties, and banquets.

  39. The palace holds three official garden parties each summer, typically in July.

  40. The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace occupies the space where the palace’s chapel was destroyed in a World War II air raid.

  41. In 1851, Queen Victoria made the first ever public appearance on the palace balcony. Little did she know, she started an iconic tradition that continues to this day!

  42. King George V enforced rationing within the Palace during World War I. This even involved locking the wine cellars and refraining from the consumption of alcohol.

  43. In 1938, the Royal Family converted the north-west pavilion into a swimming pool.

  44. With a Post Office, pool, police station, cinema, health clinic, and so many more amenities, Buckingham presents itself as more of a town than a palace!

  45. When a German bomb destroyed the Palace Chapel, footage of the destruction was played in cinemas throughout the UK to reflect that rich and poor alike were suffering greatly during the war.

  46. Garden parties at the palace have been known to welcome up to 8,000 guests!

  47. Investiture ceremonies take place in the Royal Ballroom. This includes the famous ceremony wherein distinguished British citizens become knighted.

  48. The Royal Family have famously used the balcony, located on the East Front, to greet the large crowds that congregate outside the Palace. Some of the most famous events include King George V’s appearance on the eve of World War I, or more recently, the post-wedding kiss shared between Kate Middleton and Prince William.

  49. The palace contains over 77,000 square meters of floor space.

  50. The wine vaults, located beneath the West Wing, serve as the oldest part of the palace. These vaults belonged to the Duke of Buckingham way before the residence was even considered a royal residence.

Buckingham Palace remains one of London’s most sought after tourist attractions, bringing tourists from all over the world to the city. Buy your hop-on hop-off bus tour tickets and hop off at stop 13 on the yellow route or 19 on the blue route to visit Buckingham Palace.