With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, the Royal Collection Trust announced this week that many of its stunning royal residences will soon be reopening to the public. Not only will visitors be able to peek inside some of the Royal Family’s favourite haunts, like Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, but they’ll even be able to enjoy a picnic in the famous Buckingham Palace Gardens for the very first time.
Usually a treat reserved for the Queen and her guests, the public will be granted special access to the bucolic site this summer. The Royal Collection Trust announced: ‘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.
‘You will be free to wander around the garden’s winding paths at your own pace and experience the beauty and calm of this walled oasis in central London. Among the many features to discover are the 156-metre Herbaceous Border, the Horse Chestnut Avenue, the Plane trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the famous lake with its island that is home to the Buckingham Palace bees.’
The Garden will be open to visitors for its special summer season from 9 July to 19 September. If that seems too long to wait, however, guided tours will be on offer even sooner, during weekends from 17 April. Under the supervision of one of the Garden’s ‘expert wardens’, visitors ‘will be given special access to the whole 39-acre grounds in springtime, when the garden is at its fullest, with its meadows carpeted with primroses and bluebells, and its flowering camellias, magnolias and azaleas overflowing with blossoms.’
Guided tours will also resume in the Palace itself – taking in the majestic State Rooms, which encompasses the Ballroom, Throne Room, White Drawing Room, Music Room and more – from 17 April. The traditional opening of the State Rooms, however, which usually coincides with a special themed exhibition, has been cancelled for the second year running on account of the pandemic. Elsewhere, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland is set to reopen on 26 April and Windsor Castle from 17 May, while Royal Collection Trust shops in London will also reopen from 12 April.
An RCT spokeswoman is quoted in the MailOnline as stating: ‘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.’
The news comes amid the publication of a new book, Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden, which hits shelves this month, offering royal fans an insight into the Garden’s rich history and even featuring tips from the Palace’s head gardener, Mark Lane.
Prepare your most luxurious picnic hamper, choose a few favoured friends, and mark your diaries for a picnic fit for a Queen come 9 July.
For more information about reopening dates and to book tickets, visit rct.uk
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