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City Wonders | Interior Tour of Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard with Afternoon Tea

Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official London residence and one of the world's few remaining working royal palaces. It is open to visitors for 10 weeks each summer. This year the dates are 20 July - 29 September.

Buckingham Palace
*Gifted experience


We were recently invited by City Wonders to check out one of their London tours and we opted for the Interior Tour of Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard with Afternoon Tea.

This particular tour has a limited time availability because the palace is open to the public only for a short duration and that means the tickets often sell out very quickly. So, if you are interested in this tour, check out City Wonders' website and book your tour now!

City Wonders


City Wonders have been offering entertaining tours across some of Europe’s most popular cities since 2004. It all started with their 'Dark Heart of Rome' tour which aimed to show Rome in a new light. The popularity of the tour led to their expansion throughout Italy with City Wonders tours being made available in Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples and Sorrento. In recent years, City Wonders have begun offering tours in London, Paris and Barcelona. Some of City Wonders' popular London tours include - the Tower of London tour, Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard tour, River Thames Cruise and Buckingham Palace tours. They even offer day trips from London to attractions like Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath.

Interior Tour of Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard with Afternoon Tea


The meeting point for our tour was by the Duke of York Column and having arrived there 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour as suggested; we were greeted by one of the City Wonders' team. The guides were easily recognisable by their blue City Wonders' shirt.

City Wonders Tour Guide

Once all the tour participants had arrived, we were assigned to different guides depending on the tour we were booked in for. And a quick chat later, we were off to witness the Changing of the Guard. As we made our way forward, our guide Karen offered interesting insights into the royal residences and other historical buildings we passed by.

The Changing of the Guard


This is a formal ceremony of the old guard changing with the new batch of soldiers and takes places at a few locations like Buckingham Palace, St. James's Palace and Wellington Barracks. Oftentimes the batch of soldiers is led down the road by a marching band. Now, there is no one single place to watch the entire event and you need to be aware of the times and the venues where you can watch this. So, it was lucky that we had Karen, our guide, with us who chose the best places to watch the Changing of the Guard. Although there were other tour groups and the area was a bit busy as well, we found the best places to see the parade without anything to block our view.

The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard

The guide also shared interesting tidbits like how to identify a regiment based on the colour of the plume or the button spacing on their uniform.

Inside Tour of Buckingham Palace | The State Rooms


The next part of the tour was the one most of us were waiting for eagerly  - the State Rooms Tour.

Our guide escorted us to the entrance of the Palace and from there on it was a self-guided tour through the palace with an audio guide.


Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has over 700 rooms which include offices, royal and guest bedrooms, staff bedrooms and 19 staterooms. These State Rooms are mainly used by the Royal Family for ceremonial events and official State visits. And as you would expect, the rooms are adorned with paintings and sculptures and feature furniture by the best of the craftsmen. The rooms are grand and dramatic. Some of the rooms that you can visit during the tour include the Throne Room, the Picture Gallery (housing a selection of beautiful paintings from the Royal Collection), the Blue Drawing Room, the Ballroom, the Marble Hall and the White Drawing Room.

Photography is not permitted in the State Rooms, so I am unable to share any photographs. But you check out the official photos on the Royal Collection Trust website.

Fun fact: Did you know that when the Queen’s royal standard flag flies above the palace, it means that she is currently in residence at the palace. When she is elsewhere, you will find the Union Jack hoisted instead.

The Afternoon Tea


After the tour of the State Rooms, we were met by our guide and as a finale to our City Wonders experience, we headed to St Ermin's Hotel to enjoy the quintessentially English tradition of Afternoon Tea.

Part of the Autograph Collection of hotels, St Ermin's is a four-star, boutique hotel, located just around the corner from St James' Park underground station and a short walk away from Buckingham Palace. We recently partook St Ermin's Garden Afternoon Tea and loved it and so it was a pleasant surprise when we found out that the Afternoon Tea included in the City Wonders' tour was at St Ermin's. The afternoon tea served to us on this occasion was also delicious - we had a choice of fine teas, freshly baked scones with cream and jam, traditional finger sandwiches and a delicious selection of sweet treats. The food was scrumptious and the service superb. It was a lovely way to end our tour.

Afternoon tea at St Ermin's Hotel

Afternoon tea at St Ermin's Hotel

Book your City Wonders Tour


City Wonders' tours are normally restricted to small group sizes with 25 or fewer participants which means that the guide gets a chance to interact with everyone. I must also mention here that the guide assigned to our tour was quite enthusiastic and knowledgeable sharing facts and anecdotes about the places we visited, the history of the place etc.

City Wonders Tour Guide

Because it was a pre-booked tour, we did not wait in line at Buckingham Palace. We had quick access making the experience more relaxing and enjoyable.

Overall, it was a fun experience. We enjoyed the tour of the royal home, the Changing of the Guard experience and the Afternoon Tea in equal measures. It was a well-organised tour and we recommend it.

The Interior Tour of Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard with Tea is currently available from £91.00 per person. You can book your tour by visiting www.citywonders.com

12 comments:

  1. Margaret Clarkson
    I've never been on a tour of Buckingham Palace. I've been to Sandringham twice though, it is lovely with gorgeous gardens.

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  2. Have never been on the tour, but have often thought we would have a weekend in London, havent been there for years, and take in Buckingham Palace

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  3. Never been, would like to go nosey if I'm ever in London long enough, I mean who wouldn't be nosey

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  4. Never been and I used to live in London, prefer the Science Museum.

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  5. Have been many times as I am a London girl born and bred. It is a fantastic place to visit. 😄

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  6. I went once when my dad got an award

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  7. I have never been to London! Must try to visit though!

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  8. I havent been before but i would love to visit one day!

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  9. Ive never been on a tour. Love London though so maybe one day

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  10. I have not been on a tour yet but I would like to and see what goes on behind the scenes!

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  11. I haven't been but have toured other castles. I'd love to do this and used to live in London - so a bit gutted I never did! I go back a lot though so would love to try it.

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  12. Love to visit there. it's really an interesting place.

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