Buckingham Palace opens garden to public for first time

Tourists allowed to experience London's biggest gardens independent of tour guides

Buckingham Palace is throwing open its gardens to the public and allowing visitors to wander the grounds on their own for the first time.

The central London home of Queen Elizabeth II has long been a tourist draw, with indoor parts of the palace open to the public.

There have also previously been guided tours of Buckingham Palace's 39-acre grounds — the current landscape dating back to 1820.

But this year is the first time tourists have been allowed to explore the gardens by themselves, and it makes up for some Covid-enforced changes.

“We sadly haven’t been able to open the state rooms this year because of the current [coronavirus] situation as we might ordinarily have done and therefore it’s wonderful to be able to open the garden instead ,” said Sally Goodsir of the Royal Collection Trust, which manages the royal palaces.

Visitors will be able to see the gardens' 156-metre herbaceous border, its beehives and plane trees, planted by and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

They can picnic on the manicured lawns while treating themselves to some royal-themed accessories like blankets and cotton napkins.

Tickets are £16.50 ($22.70) and available until September.

Traditionally, the queen hosts three annual garden parties at the palace but these have had to be cancelled for the last two years because of the pandemic.

Likewise, the opening of the state rooms to the public during the summer months, which has taken place since 1993, has also been called off.

Last month, officials said the royal finances had taken a hit from the pandemic, losing out on the millions normally received from ticket sales.

The palace is part way through a 10-year £369 million refit to replace electrical wiring and as well as refurbish other ageing infrastructure.

Updated: July 9th 2021, 9:00 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS