The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, unlike Buckingham Palace, is open to visitors throughout the year (except December, state visits and royal events). The Mews is a working office and an integral cog in the royal machine, as it is here where the Royal Family’s transport is organised. This includes both road cars and horse-drawn carriages. In addition to a working “garage” (to be extremely banal), the Royal Mews is one of the finest working stables in the world.
A visit to the Royal Mews lasts 45 – 60 mins. On arrival at the Mews, you are offered a headset for an informative audio guide and are pointed in the right direction to start your tour. The site of the Mews is relatively small and very peaceful. You will need to remind yourself that you are in the middle of bustling London. You are permitted to take the tour at your own pace, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and royal surroundings.
The tour includes a visit to the horse stables. If you are lucky, the horses will be accepting visitors. They are beautiful and majestic. You are also directed past a series of carriage stables. The stable doors are wide open, allowing you to get a great view of the beautifully ornate carriages on full display. There are a range of carriages from various eras. It is impressive to see the different carriage designs, honouring a particular monarch, era, nation, or all of the above.
The most amazing item housed at the Royal Mews is the Gold State Coach. It has been used in every coronation since that of George IV in 1821. This particular coach is displayed in its very own stable. This is a good because it is a rather special member of the Royal Mews.
The Gold State Coach is extremely large. The display organised by the Palace, enables you to understand the magnitude of a ceremony involving this particular carriage. The coach itself takes centre stage during ceremonies – it is not a discreet thing by any means, but it is important to remember the numerous horses and footmen, all in full regalia, who are also involved in the process and ceremony. The Gold State Coach is quite astonishing and I am sure that you will experience a range of emotions and opinions, from the moment you set sight on this particular coach. It is massive! It is ornate! It is impressive! It is gold! There is a lot of gold! I repeat… it is massive! How did they even get the coach in there? How will they get it out of the stable? So many questions!
A visit to the Royal Mews is certainly worth while. HM The Queen is not one to put on a shabby display. The Royal Mews is one of the quieter visitor attractions of the Royal Collection. Plus considering the duration of the tour and the location of the venue, it is easy to combine the Mews with a visit to the Queen’s Gallery for example, or any of the many other local landmarks and attractions.