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Exploring Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle

Let’s check out a day of British royalty with a summer visit to two royal residences in England, namely the Buckingham Palace in Westminster London and Windsor palace in the English county of Berkshire. These palaces serve as the residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. They are typically occupied during different times of the year and vacated in the summer months where they are opened for public visitation.

Buckingham Palace front, with the Union Flag flying above the Palace meaning the queen is not in residence
Buckingham Palace front, with the Union Flag flying above the Palace meaning the queen is not in residence.

Exploring the Buckingham Palace grounds

Moreover, the Buckingham Palace is the London residence of the British monarch since the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. Located in London as the City of Westminster, Buckingham Palace is a symbol and home of the British monarchy and centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. Furthermore, the Palace also serves as a tourist attraction, especially Britain’s modern-day constitutional monarchy where the Prime Minister actually runs the country.

Buckingham Palace rear facing the palace gardens
Buckingham Palace rear entrance facing the palace gardens.

Furthermore, entry to the palace ground is via a side entrance. The interior of the palace is dripping with luxury. Whether it’s the red thick carpets in every room, to the elaborate and ordinate furniture and wall trimming adoring the various halls and dining areas, well, fit for a king.

Clear view from the Buckingham Palace gardens with plush green manicured lawns
Clear view from the Buckingham Palace gardens with plush green manicured lawns.

Moreover, the Birmingham palace in London is essentially a large townhouse. It has three wings constructed around a central courtyard. Looking into history, the palace was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. It was constructed upon an existing building which resided since 1624. Also, the visitor accessible areas include the state rooms and gardens. This includes the state dining areas, bedrooms, study, stairwell and dining galleries where externals guests are hosted and accommodated in state visits.

Nice view of Buckingham Palace by the tranquil garden lake
Nice view of Buckingham Palace by the tranquil garden lake.

Notably, the royal resident areas and quarters are out of bounds to public visitation. Also, the rear of the palace is home to a small tranquil lake and private garden, a backyard in prime London real estate nonetheless.

Buckingham Palace galleries and mall

Additionally, the Birmingham Palace, besides it’s residence and staterooms also houses a Royal Collection art gallery and vault which you can visit too. Also the royal galleries where you can find royal jewels, such as crowns, necklaces and earrings, to even ceremony chariots. You might remember seeing the queen donning these on special state occasions.

Victoria Memorial in front of the Buckingham Palace
Victoria Memorial in front of the Buckingham Palace.

Also, the Victoria Memorial, one dedicated to Queen Victoria, and designed by Sir Thomas Brock, sits center stage in a large roundabout in front of the palace gates. The front of the palace measures 355 feet (108 m) across, by 390 feet (120 m) deep. Also, the palace front sits a gated courtyard with the upper second floor home to two balconies. You can recall this is the spot where royalties will stand to wave to crowds in big events.

Event area
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Palace Gift shop

Wrapping up, a typical visit to Buckingham palace is about 2 hours tops. As with all tourist destinations, at the end of your trip, you exit via the palace gift shop and cafe situated in the courtyard area. Here you can find an assortment of Birmingham palace merchandise, such as cutlery, plush bath towels and tea sets. It does allow you to being back items to live like a royalty, albeit it’s rather steep price. Finally, the attraction exit road routes through the palace gardens leading out on the rear gate along road A3214.

View afar
palace park benches

Catch the palace change the Guard

Moreover, Guard Mounting, or simply known as the “Changing the Guard”, takes place daily outside Buckingham Palace from around 11am and lasts around an hour. Much of the parade involve a guards’ march. It starts with the Horse Guards Parade from the Wellington Arch and Buckingham Palace’s forecourt from as early as 10.30am, the guards moves along Constitution Hill towards the Victoria memorial. The guards are then joined by the St James’s Palace Old Guard at around 10.45am. On the other end is the iconic Mall stretch loading up to the Admiralty Arch with its distinctive pillared surrounds.

The London Mall
The London Mall.

You can’t miss the guards, dressed in their iconic British bright red uniforms and bushy black woody tall hats. Notably, keeping with the times, today, the guards are armed with assault rifles instead of muskets or swords. Also, the actual guard handover starts at 11am which is the event highlight. The free event is popular with tourist crowds and can get pretty crowded. Hence, do arrive early to secure a spot at the Victoria memorial with a good view.

Windsor Castle

Central round tower gardens
Central round tower gardens.

Windsor Castle is the British royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is much larger than Buckingham palace in courtyard space, though comparable if you include the Buckingham palace gardens. Windsor grounds comprises of a large green courtyard with a Round Tower sitting center of the palace grounds. You can find lush green manicured lawn and flowering gardens by the Round tower.

Vicotria bus station
Windsor store loco
Windsor stores

Furthermore, you enter the city castle via a short walk through the Windsor shopping and dining arcade. You can find a large range of shops, bakeries, restaurants and cafes here to pass you time. There is also a vintage locomotive train here for photo opportunities.

King Henry VIII Gate via palace North side
King Henry VIII Gate via palace North side.

Moreover, you typically enter the palace grounds itself through King Henry VIII Gate via palace North side. This is also where the Horseshoe Cloister is located. Also, the Windsor castle compound here is pretty big behind the walls. There is a large courtyard with a lush green field and a cathedral.

Windsor castle central round tower
Windsor castle central round tower.

Also, you can find the palace South wing, the upper ward houses and state apartments. Within, the castle’s Long Walk road connects a large square from a gate here in the south wing. Also, this square is used for ceremonial events, cavalry and guards parade.

Castle interior towers by the Round tower
Castle interior towers by the Round tower.
Yes onward!
Lush green
Chapel interior

Exploring the Palace grounds

In addition, Windsor castle contains several structures built up throughout its history. Notably, the original castle was built in the 11th century, after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. AD1660 saw the restoration of the monarchy, which brought back developments to the palace.

St George's Chapel within the Windsor palace interior grounds
St George’s Chapel within the Windsor palace interior grounds.

Since then, the castle’s lavish early 19th-century state apartments you can visit were introduced by early 20th century. The St George’s Chapel by palace the lower ward has its roots since the 15th-century which you can pay a visitation to.

Doll houses
Interior galleries
Dining halls

Also, you can take a walk through the living quarters staterooms and the cathedral interior itself. Notably, Windsor Castle survived two world wars, as well as the tumultuous period of the English Civil War. It is quite history preserved, throwing you into the early era living like a monarch.

Windsor Palace State apartments
Windsor Palace State apartments.

Also, the rooms are lavish and elaborated decorated with golden trims and luxurious carpets. Notably, the palace was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces during the war, and also a prison for Charles the 1st.

Palace Central hall with a magnificent roof and wall fixtures
Palace Central hall with a magnificent roof and wall fixtures.

Windsor Changing the Guard

Additionally, just like Buckingham, a highlight at Windsor be the daily Changing of Guards. Here, the swapping of the Queen’s Life Guard usually takes place at 11am daily, (10am on Sundays). Also the Household Division’s website has regular scheduled updates of the ceremonies.

Long walk
Iconic Palace guards
Onward march!

The guards would enter via Henry VIII Gate or St George’s Gate, with the latter being the case when the Queen is in official residence. You can also determine whether the queen is in by the royal flag status on the top of the buildings. Also, you can’t miss the guards, as they parade down towards the castle with drill precision. Dressed in their distinctive Red uniform playing a variety of band musical instruments. It is quite the spectacle. Tad reminds me of the change of guard we saw at Denmark Amalienborg Palace.

Outdoor courtyards
Outdoor courtyards.

All in all, that concludes my exploration of British monarchy for the day. If you can’t get enough of the royal family, visiting the Buckingham and Windsor palaces are sure ways to make your day and to live like a royalty for the day.


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