Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Top Attractions in London-Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, one of several palaces owned by the British Royal family, is one of the major tourist attractions in London.

The original building was constructed as a country house in 1705 by the duke of Buckingham, John Sheffield. King George III bought the house in 1761 for his wife, and had it altered by William Chambers. In 1826, King George IV asked famed architect, John Nash, to expand the house into a palace. Meanwhile St. James’ Palace was still the principal palace used by the royals for ceremonies and receptions.

The Palace seen from St. James’ Park
King George IV as well as his younger brother and successor King William IV, both died before the palace was completed. Queen Victoria was the first to reside in the palace. In July 1837, three weeks after her accession to the throne, she moved from Kensington Palace, where she grew up, to the new Buckingham Palace.

The palace was expanded in 1850 with a new east wing. The wing added a large number of rooms to the palace, including an expansive 40 meter (131 ft) long ballroom. The monumental fa├žade of the east wing was built in 1913 by Aston Webb. It is this facade, facing the Mall and St. James’ Park, which is now known by most people.

A part of the palace is still used by the Royal family. A flag is hoisted each time the Queen is in the Palace. The palace is not only home to the royal family, but there are also a number of staff members living here. The palace has about 600 rooms, including a throne room, a ballroom, picture gallery and even a swimming pool. Some of these rooms can be visited during a couple of months in the summer - when the Royal Family is not in the palace - including the lavishly decorated State Rooms: the Throne Room, Green Drawing Room, Silk Tapestry Rooms, Picture Gallery, State Dinning Room, Blue Drawing Room, Music Room and White Drawing Room are all part of the tour around the Buckingham Palace.

Another interesting part of the palace that is open to visitors is the Queen's Gallery, where works of art from the royal collection are on display. The palace's stables, the Royal Mews, can also be visited. Here, you'll find a number of royal horse-drawn carriages.

Right in front of the building is the Queen Victoria Memorial, designed by Sir Aston Webb and built in 1911, in honour of Queen Victoria, who reigned for almost 64 years.

Changing of the Guards
The changing of the guard takes place daily at 11 o'clock in front of Buckingham Palace.
A colourfully dressed detachment, known as the New Guard, parades along the Mall towards Buckingham Palace; and during a ceremony, replaces the existing, Old Guard. The ceremony, which is accompanied by music played by a military band, always attracts multitudes of onlookers.
Are you considering visiting London and the U.K.? Then contact the London official visitor agency-Visit London and Partners at: 08701 566 366  visitorinfo@londonandpartners.com     

You can also contact the City of London Information Centre: Opposite St Paul's Cathedral:
City of London, Guildhall, PO Box 270, London, EC2P 2EJ     pro@cityoflondon.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 7606 3030

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