A rare glimpse inside the Queen’s spectacular gardens at Buckingham Palace as they’re freely opened for the first time

Large areas of the gardens at Buckingham Palace are to be opened freely to visitors for the first time this summer.

In the past, the only way was for visitors to enjoy the magnificent gardens of the royal palace was on a guided tour. This summer that will change, however: from July to September, most of the grounds of Her Majesty The Queen’s official London residence can be explored freely by tourists.

The garden at Buckingham Palace in summer.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer John Campbell

Visitors will be able to take a route through the 39-acre plot that includes everything from the famous the 156m Herbaceous Border (pictured, top) to the plane trees planted by (and named after) Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Known as Victoria and Albert, the garden’s two most famous plane trees were planted by the Queen and her consort more than 150 years ago. Credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell

Some parts of the gardens — notably the Rose Garden, summer house and meadow in the south-west corner — will remain restricted to those booking a guided tour (at a modest £6.50 supplement), but the Palace has confirmed that guests will be able to stop and enjoy a picnic on one of the sweeping lawns amid the 1,000 trees and 320 different species of grasses and flowers.

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

The Garden at Buckingham Palace will open from Friday, 9 July to Sunday, 19 September 2021. Tickets are priced at £16.50 for adults, with ‘Garden Highlights’ guided tours of the more restricted areas a further £6.50 for adults.

In April and May, he gardens will be open but only for guided tours. Prebooking is essential for all visits — see www.rct.uk or call +44 (0)303 123 7300.

The garden’s waterfall helps to circulate water in the lake, thereby oxygenating and revitalising it. Credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021. Photographer: John Campbell

For those who can’t make it, the website has a series of online events led by expert guides and streamed live — and the pictures on this page are sure to whet your appetite for either that or an in-person visit.