Buckingham Palace gardens: How do I buy tickets for picnics and tours?
FOR the first time ever the paying public will be able to soak up the sunshine and picnic in none other than the Queen's back garden.
This summer tourists will be able to visit Buckingham Palace's gardens and explore the 39-acre grounds by themselves.
How can I get Buckingham Palace garden tickets?
Visitors can explore the Buckingham Palace gardens with a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to picnic in the ground with views of the Palace, the Royal Collection Trust has announced.
People will be free to wander around the winding paths at their own pace and take in the wildlife-rich surroundings at the capital's heart.
The grounds – described as "a walled oasis in the middle of London" – boasts Plane trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the famous lake with its island that is home to the Buckingham Palace bees.
It is the largest private garden in London and features 325 wild-plant species, 30 species of breeding birds, and more than 1,000 trees – including 98 plane trees and 85 different species of oak.
Its landscape dates back to the 1820s when George IV turned Buckingham House into a palace, and today it is home to a rich biodiverse habitat.
The unique opportunity to enjoy a picnic on one of the sweeping lawns at Buckingham Palace -the Queen's official London residence -will be part of the visit.
Tickets can be booked via the Royal Collection Trust website.
When will Buckingham Palace gardens be open?
Guests with tickets will be able to visit and picnic in the gardens between July 9 and September 19, 2021.
Due to restrictions enforced because of Covid, usual tours of the Palace have been put on hold.
Smaller guided tours of the State Rooms and gardens will however be available from May to September.
A note on the RCA website says: "We are delighted to be able to offer guests with tickets to visit Buckingham Palace this summer, 9 July – 19 September 2021, the opportunity to picnic in the Palace garden.
"Explore Buckingham Palace Garden with unprecedented freedom this summer, and discover for yourself for the very first time its sights before enjoying a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to picnic with views of the Palace."
How much are tickets?
Tickets for the garden cost £16.50 for adults, £15 for those aged above 60, £15 for students, and £9 for children and those who are disabled.
Children under the age of five go free, and a family of up to two adults and three children costs £42.
Group discounts for bookings of 15 people or more are offered.
Picnickers are permitted to bring food and non-alcohol drinks with them, as well as plastic glasses and paper cups, tableware and cutlery, small picnic baskets and cool bags, blankets and small foldable chairs, and personal and golfing-sized umbrellas.
All items must be no larger than 55 x 35cm in order to pass through airport-style security scanners, the RCT website states.
Alcohol, glassware, sharp-bladed knives, radios/ speakers, BBQs, parasols, windbreakers and gazebos, and ball games are not allowed.
A spokesman for the RCT said: "The traditional opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will not take place this year.
"We anticipate that social distancing will still be in place this summer and that visitor numbers to London will be low for some time yet due to the uncertainty around domestic and international travel.
"The costs incurred opening the palace to the public in the usual way would be far greater than the visitor admissions and retail income that we could expect.
"However, we are delighted to offer unique access to the Buckingham Palace garden this year as an alternative."
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