First look inside Buckingham Palace’s east wing as it opens to the public

First look inside Buckingham Palace’s east wing as it opens to the public

The east wing has been opened up to visitors for the first time (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

The east wing of Buckingham Palace is opening its doors to the public for the first time.

Visitors will be able to see inside the palace’s famous centre room, where the royal family gather before appearing on the balcony, this month.

Tourists will be able to visit the east wing following more than five years of improvements, with updates to electrical cabling, plumbing and heating costing £369million.

But the east wing tours are only running until the end of August, so there are only limited opportunities for royal fans and historians to step back in time.

What is in the east wing of Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace’s east wing was built between 1847-49 to create more space for Queen Victoria’s growing family.

When she moved in, days after the death of her uncle William IV, it had never been used as the main residence for a monarch before.

Final preparations are being made in the yellow drawing room (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

The stunning lotus-shaped chandelier in the centre room received a touch-up (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Previously a horseshoe-shaped building the new wing fully enclosed the palace.

The east wing faces The Mall, where crowds gather during major events including Trooping the Colour, and features the balcony where the royal family step out and look over London.

However members of the public won’t be able to step onto the balcony themselves, instead gathering in the centre room which is where the royals meet before stepping outside.

The main rooms of the east wing are Chinese-themed and contain some of the finest items in the Royal Collection – many of which were moved from the Royal Pavilion in Brighton when it was sold in 1850 to finance the east wing’s construction.

Main rooms in the east wing include the yellow drawing room and the principal corridor, which runs the length of the wing and includes paintings by artists including Thomas Gainsborough.

How many rooms does Buckingham Palace have?

Buckingham Palace has a massive 775 rooms.

These include:

19 state rooms

52 royal and guest bedrooms

188 staff bedrooms

92 offices

78 bathrooms

Many of the main rooms in the east wing are Chinese-themed (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

In total Buckingham Palace is 354ft (108m) long across the front, 393ft (120m) deep, and 78ft (24m) high.

The present-day palace stands on the site where King James I planted a mulberry garden to try and rear silkworms.

Unfortunately he chose the wrong kind of mulberry bush, so silk production never took off in Britain, but the house which stood there, originally Buckingham House, was expanded over hundreds of years to become the instantly recognisable palace we know today.

Can you book tickets?

Tickets for the east wing highlights tours first went on sale on April 9, so unfortunately they have already sold out.

The tours, which cost £75 per adult, will run daily between July 15 and August 31.

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