Tuesday, 13 Apr 2021

Queen opens Buckingham Palace gardens for picnicking tourists

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The Queen’s London home was closed for most of 2020 by Covid and the traditional summer opening of the state rooms alongside an exhibition is off again this year. But visitors can still enjoy special guided tours of the the state rooms, starting next month for £47.50. And tickets for a trip around the gardens with an expert later this month cost £21.50. But the unique chance to meander around Her Majesty’s garden and picnic on the lawns for just £16.50 is likely to be the big draw.

It seems unlikely visitors will glimpse ER indoors – the Queen has been bubbling with Prince Philip at Windsor for months and her summer plans have yet to be revealed. But guests can look forward to a garden dating back to the 1820s when George IV turned Buckingham House into a palace.

It is home to more than 1,000 trees – including the national collection of mulberries – and 320 different wild flowers and grasses. The grounds also take in a herbaceous border stretching more than 500ft, beehives and a lake.

Tickets for picnickers will be available from July to September. The Royal Collection Trust, which runs visits to residences, said: “We anticipate social distancing will still be in place this summer and visitor numbers to London will be low for some time 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 we could expect.

“However, we are delighted to offer unique access to the Buckingham Palace garden this year as an alternative.”

Windsor Castle is also reopening – on May 17.

And in Scotland the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyrood house, opens on April 26.

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