George III bought Buckingham House for his wife, Charlotte to use as a comfortable family home close to St James’s Palace where many court functions were held. The official residence of the British monarchy since Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837, it is a mere 775 rooms, of which there are 19 state rooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms and 78 bathrooms. Since 1993 the state rooms have been open to visitors during August and September while Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II makes her annual visit to Scotland.
Changing of the Guard, a tradition that dates back to the early 18th century, takes place at 11.30 daily between May and the end of July, and then randomly throughout the rest of the year – it’s best to check in advance. The pomp and ceremony involved in the 40-minute long exercise has made it a popular London tourist attraction.