Each summer, sections of Buckingham Palace – Her Majesty The Queen’s official London home – open up to visitors. And this year, in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday, the special summer exhibition Fashioning a Reign will be on display as well. As autumn arrives, the exhibition will then move to another of the Queen’s Royal residences, Windsor Castle. But wherever you choose to see this monumental exhibition, make the most of your time there by seeking out its most impressive attractions.
Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe takes a look back at the most significant events in The Queen’s life and reign through her various fashions. Around 150 outfits have been chosen in total, to go on display at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, as well as the Queen’s Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
While visiting the exhibition at Buckingham Palace, take a tour of the 19 George IV-style State Rooms where The Queen receives visitors on ceremonial and official occasions. Within spaces such as the Throne Room – where the coronation ceremony of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh took place – the capacious Music Room, and resplendent White Drawing Room, marvel at antique furnishings, artworks and chandeliers that are a part of the valuable Royal Collection.
Afterwards, stroll through the palace’s gardens on a tour of the vast grounds. Here, 350 types of wild flowers grow alongside a three-acre lake, with over 200 trees in the surroundings. See the garden’s Summer House and Rose Garden, the giant Waterloo Vase, and the Palace tennis court, before picking up a souvenir from The Garden Shop.
Just west of London is the second setting for the exhibition, the Royal residence built by William The Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle. With so much to see inside, many hours can be spent within these castle walls, but perhaps it’s best to begin by exploring the castle’s State Apartments. Here, paintings by great artists like Rembrandt grace the walls, and historic suits of armour sit among the breathtaking collection of artefacts.
Then there’s Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the biggest and most famous dolls’ house, featuring miniature furnishings created by leading designers, electricity and running water, a fully stocked wine cellar, and even a garden. Naturally, the dolls themselves had an extensive collection of clothes by designers such as Cartier.
A highlight for many visitors to Windsor Castle is St George’s Chapel. Noted for being one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in England, the chapel exhibits impressive stone vaulting, with the tombs of 10 sovereigns inside including Henry VIII, who spent many years living at the castle.
With both Royal residences providing such insight into the history and lives of the Royal family, this is an experience well worth fitting into your time in the United Kingdom.
Visit Buckingham Palace with Evan Evans on the London in One Day, Afternoon Tea & Buckingham Palace or Buckingham Palace State Rooms tour, or join a trip to Windsor Castle, such as the Windsor, Stonehenge & Bath tour. For more time to explore this historic town beyond the castle walls, take the Evan Evans Windsor Express, then venture to these other sites.
Image credits: Cover photo of Buckingham Palace © iStock / oversnap. Buckingham Palace across the water © iStock / Christopher Steer. The walk to Buckingham Palace © iStock. Windsor Castle © iStock. St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle © iStock / Reto Steffen.