Buckingham Palace was voted Best Attraction for Group Visits (Long Visit) at the 2012 Group Travel Awards. The annual awards celebrate the very best of the group travel industry and are voted for by readers of Group Travel Organiser magazine. Buckingham Palace last won the award in 2010 and was runner-up in 2011.
The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace first opened to the public in 1993. On arrival, visitors receive a complimentary audio tour, which provides a lively guide to centuries of royal history, the treasures of the Royal Collection and the role of the Palace today as the official residence of The Queen. Since 2000 a visit to the State Rooms has also included a special exhibition, many marking a royal anniversary or other significant occasion.
This summer’s exhibition, Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration, shows the many ways in which diamonds have been used by British monarchs over the last 200 years. It includes a number of The Queen’s personal jewels – those inherited by Her Majesty or acquired during her reign. The exhibition reveals how many of these extraordinary stones have undergone a number of transformations, having been re-cut or incorporated into new settings during their fascinating history.
At the end of a tour of the State Rooms, visitors can now enjoy a moment of relaxation and refreshment in the Garden Café on the West Terrace, overlooking the famous lawn and lake.
Buckingham Palace welcomes over 50,000 group visitors each year. A visit to the State Rooms can be combined with a tour of the Palace garden, or groups can book a guided tour of the State Rooms and special exhibition once the doors have closed for the day. The tour ends with a glass of champagne served on the West Terrace (weather permitting).