Standing at the top of the tree-lined avenue known as The Mall, at the very heart of London, is Buckingham Palace, the British monarch’s main official residence.
With nearly 800 rooms and 40 acres of grounds, the palace is one of Britain’s most iconic buildings. Originally a townhouse built by The Duke of Buckingham, it was purchased by George III for his wife Queen Charlotte in 1761, before his son George IV commissioned the architect John Nash to renovate it as a palace. Queen Victoria would become the first monarch to use Buckingham Palace as their official residence in 1837. Stepping out onto the famous balcony during the celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851, she started a tradition that endures to the present day.
A firm favourite with tourists, you can tell when Her Majesty The Queen is in residence because the Royal Standard flies on the flagpole. And if you visit at the right time, you can even see inside: the palace is open to the public for ten weeks every summer. For those lucky enough to receive an invite, up to 50,000 people visit the palace each year as The Queen’s guests at banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and garden parties.