The opening of the gardens at Buckingham Palace on the 8th of July allows people to have a picnic on the Queen’s lawn and explore parts of the 39-acre grounds. Some of the features in the garden are the 156m Herbaceous Border (one of the longest in the UK), the rose garden which you need to pay extra for a tour pass and the lake.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen. Lots of people around the world have seen the front of the palace but not many have wandered through the gardens. The gardens are mainly kept private except when the famous garden parties are run and the occasional concert.
The main feature of the garden is the lawn, immaculately kept, the lawn runs down from the palace to the 3.5-acre lake. In the centre of the lake is an island which has 5 beehives. They are specially positioned so that the bees take off over the lake and away from guests. The gardens have many flowers and wildflower areas which also include winter-flowering flowers. The bees have plenty of nectar thus creates lots of honey (around 160 jars) that are produced and used in the royal kitchens.
The gardens date back to the 1920s when King George IV turned Buckingham House into a palace. The garden is a rich biodiverse habitat, with more than 1,000 trees, the National Collection of Mulberry Trees and 320 different wildflowers and grasses.
There is an interesting story behind this large vase which can be seen in the rose garden. It was first commissioned by Napolean in 1812 but he was defeated at Waterloo in 1815 and the half-completed vase was presented to Prince Regent. In 1820 King George IV asked the sculptor Richard Westmacott to finish it. He carved reliefs showing the battle of Waterloo with Wellington and Napolean portrayed as victor and vanquished.
Hence the vase is called the Waterloo Vase. There are many other sculptures that can be seen as you walk around the garden. You can ask the various staff members about them and they have knowledge about the various plants in the garden.
What to expect?
Due to the pandemic once you arrive you will need to check in using the NHS App for the contact tracing. You then go through security and your ticket is checked. Once you are in you are free to visit the cafe, shop and toilets. You aren’t allowed to bring in any glasses or bottles of drink and definitely no alcohol.
The walk around the garden should take around an hour, you can’t go everywhere but there are lots to see especially if you are interested in plants. There are some exotic plants which include a few banana trees in the herbaceous border, the border is in the warmest part of the garden. Other places to see include the summer house, wildflower meadow and there are tours that run through the day. If the weather is good you can have a picnic on the lawn.
An excellent book that is a good read and an excellent reference to the plants/trees in the garden is called Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden*. It’s a hardback book, written by Claire Masset, it has the history of the garden as it has gone through many stages since Queen Victoria’s time.
Is there food available?
Yes, there is a place selling sandwiches, drinks, cakes in the garden. You can view the menu here, we had the ham and cheese sandwiches which were nice plus you have to have a few cakes.
What to take?
It’s a good idea to take a picnic mat and an umbrella. There isn’t much shelter in the gardens so an umbrella is a must if there is going to be rain. You can also bring your own food but no alcohol.
Below are a few more photographs that I took at the preview, you can see more on the Flickr link.
The press preview at Buckingham Palace is definitely going to be one of my highlights of the year. I was lucky to get a photo pass and I was able to take a plus one, which of course I took my lovely partner.
Thanks for reading; leave a comment below if you have been to Buckingham Palace Gardens. Sign up for my newsletter for the latest events happening around Watford, London and the South East each month.
*Some links are affiliates where the site get a small percentage of the cost of the book, you pay the same as normal.
Buckingham Palace Gardens – https://www.rct.uk/whatson/event/1054660/The-Garden-at-Buckingham-Palace
Flickr Photos – https://www.flickr.com/photos/alalchan/albums/72157719526424987
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