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British RoyalsPalaces & Buildings

Picnic at Buckingham Palace for the first time ever this summer

Buckingham Palace from the gardens
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell

With lockdown lifted, Brits are looking forward to meeting their friends and family in parks and gardens again, and this year a rather unique picnicking venue has presented itself for your socially distant gatherings.

The Royal Collection Trust announced Wednesday that in addition to offering a select number of palace tours this year, they’ll be welcoming guests to Buckingham Palace’s expansive gardens for self-guided tours, including the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to picnic on the grounds.

The palace boasts the largest private garden in London, containing 325 wild-plant species, 30 species of breeding birds, including many rarely spotted in London, and more than 1,000 trees.

Herbaceous Borders in Buckingham Palace's Gardens
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell

Tickets are available now for garden visits from 9 July through 19 September, allowing guests to wander around the grounds at their own pace for the first time. Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and drink or purchase refreshments from various food stalls around the property.

According to the Trust, “Among the many features to discover are the 156-metre Herbaceous Border, the Horse Chestnut Avenue, the plane trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the famous lake with its island that is home to the Buckingham Palace bees.”

The palace gardens also will be open on Saturdays from 17 April through 16 May for special spring tours when the gardens are usually not open.

The Rose Garden at Buckingham Palace
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell

These guided tours are led by expert wardens and allow visitors to see the garden in full bloom with magnolias, camellias, bluebells, and primroses, and end with an opportunity to take photos by the lake overlooking the palace.

Small guided tours of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms will replace the usual public opening this year, and these tours will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 21 May through 20 June.

Ticket prices to visit the gardens for the summer opening are £16.50 for adults; £15 for over 60s and students; £9 for the disabled and children 5-16; and free for under-fives. Purchase tickets online at the Royal Collection Trust website.

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.