Buckingham Palace Will Open Its East Wing To The Public This Summer
  • HOME

Buckingham Palace Will Open Its East Wing To The Public This Summer

This is the first time public tours have been granted access

Royal residences are set to become an even bigger tourist hotspot this summer. Following the news that Balmoral Castle will be opening its doors to the public this summer, Buckingham Palace has just announced that it be running tours through its East Wing for the first time ever. Here’s how to get your hands on tickets.

Buckingham Palace’s East Wing: What To Expect

For the first time, the East Wing of Buckingham Palace will be open to visitors through a series of guided tours of its Principle Floor. Taking place over July and August, the change comes after over five years of improvement works to the East Wing as part of the Buckingham Palace Reservicing Programme. These changes included infrastructure and access improvements, as well as better preservation of the space for future generations.

Ornately decorated room with gold ceilings and chandelier

(c) Peter Smith, Royal Collection Trust

As for the tours themselves, visitors can expect to be led through the Principle Floor and its rooms in small groups by an expert guide – who will detail the history of the East Wing and the Royal Collection highlights contained within it, including:

  • The Principal Corridor: Paintings by famed artists like Thomas Gainsborough, Sire Thomas Lawrence and Franz Xaver Winterhalter
  • The Yellow Drawing Room: Chinese hand-painted wallpaper dating back to the 18th century, alongside two hexagonal, nine-tiered Chinese porcelain pagodas and the Kylin Clock
  • The Centre Room: A newly restored glass chandelier, shaped to resemble a lotus flower, and two Chinese 18th century Imperial Silk wall hangings that were presented to Queen Victoria by the Emperor of China for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897

Buckingham Palace is set to open for seven days a week during July and August for the first time since 2019, before returning to five days a week from September. A limited number of East Wing Highlights Tours will run daily throughout the summer months.

What Is The East Wing?

The East Wing is an area of Buckingham Palace that was first commissioned by Queen Victoria, and was subsequently used by the royal and her family as a personal residence.

To accommodate her growing family, Queen Victoria commissioned architect Edward Blore to draw up plans for alterations to the Palace that would increase the usable space for the royals. The East Wing was created between 1847 and 1849, enclosing what had previously been an open, horseshoe-shaped courtyard.

Yellow room with ornate wallpaper

(c) Peter Smith, Royal Collection Trust

The changes followed the plans laid by earlier monarch, George IV, who began converting Buckingham House into a Palace to the designs of John Nash. It was also the sale of George IV’s seaside retreat in Brighton, the Royal Pavilion, in 1850 that helped finance the East Wing. Many of the objects in the Pavilion, which reflected the King’s love of Asian art and design, were transferred to the East Wing and inspired the Chinese-themed décor of its principal rooms.

Today, the East Wing is still used by the royal family to host official meetings and events.

How To Book

Tickets for the East Wing Highlights Tour must be purchased with a ticket to visit to the State Rooms. The combined ticket price is £75 for adults. Tours start from Monday 15 July 2024. rct.uk

Featured image: Peter Smith, Royal Collection Trust