Buckingham Palace


Comfortably positioned amongst London’s beautiful parks, but close enough to Parliament to be just a quick carriage ride away, is London’s most exclusive address.  Buckingham Palace is the official residence for the British Monarchy, including the Queen Mum herself.  The 775-room palace is located at the end of The Mall, and at the edge of Green Park, which is in between St. James’s Park and Hyde Park.

This is one of those places that, when you visit, it finally clicks inside your head that you are, indeed, in London.  Just a few days before my visit, I had watched on TV, as the newly-married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exchange a kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, then take a spin around the grounds in Charles’s Aston Martin.  Now, I was here, standing outside the palace that’s provided a royal residence since the days of Queen Victoria.

Of course, I wasn’t alone.  Buckingham Palace sees an endless parade of tourists, all of whom stand by the famous gilded gates…

… while wondering if there really is a key that fits this enormous lock.

It is here that you will find the famous Queen’s Guards, wearing their bright red jackets and big, fuzzy hats.  Arrive at 11:30 a.m., and you can witness the ceremonial Changing of Guards, or Guard Mounting.  It’s held every day from May to July, then every other day for the rest of the year.

If you don’t want to deal with the crowds that will gather for the Changing of Guards at Buckingham Palace, you can also see the ceremony at Windsor Castle and at Horse Guards Arch.  Times and days are listed on the British Monarchy’s website.

As I walked around the north side of the palace, I found a spot where I could take a picture without the fence in the way.

If you would like to take a tour of Buckingham Palace, you’ll need to visit in August or September.  During this time, The Queen lives at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.  During the rest of the year, you’ll have to settle for photos of what you’ve missed, on the Monarchy website.

North of the palace, Constitution Hill (road) cuts through the middle of Green Park.  It’s a beautiful walk underneath huge trees, that ends at Hyde Park Corner and the Wellington Arch.  Beyond that, you can continue your walk through Hyde Park.

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