Please sign in to post.

Buckingham Palace-Churchill War rooms order of visit

I will be in London for a week this summer. I want to keep felixability on what I do each day but understand and see the value of booking tickets in advance

I am thinking of booking both tickets to both the Chruchill War Roms and Buckingham Palace on the same day. I have read that it is a nice walk between the two.
At the moment tickets are available from 10-4 at the war rooms and Buckingham Palace 9:30-5:15.
Is there an order that work better?
I am staying by the British Museum if that factors in

I am also looking at booking a ticket to the Van Gogh at the Tate

Windsor also is on my radar but am not sure I want to book far out.

I have 8 full days in London.


Posted by
10344 posts

Yes, it's a nice, easy walk between Buckingham Palace and the Churchill war rooms.

Posted by
6734 posts

Maybe a 15-20 minutes leisurely walk between the palace and the war rooms. In my opinion the order doesn’t matter. Windsor, York, and Hampton Court palace are all easy day trips from London. Both Hampton Court and Windsor will be very busy during the summer, and many would recommend getting tickets in advance. How far in advance is up to you.

Posted by
8815 posts

Wouldn’t think there’s a preference on which to see first. Maybe base your choice on where you’ll be having lunch.

The stroll along Birdcage Walk through St James Park is lovely.

Posted by
6625 posts

But allow plenty of time for each. I spent several hours in each on different days. They're close together and the walk is pretty. Check the time for the changing of the guard and try not to be outside then, the crowds will slow you down. I'd suggest booking one place or the other as close to opening time as you can, so you'll be among the first visitors. There's a nice tea room behind the palace where you can get lunch if that helps, probably quicker than looking for someplace "outside." I'd so one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

And think of Sir Winston, after saving Britain from defeat, shuffling in and out of that White Drawing Room, bowing to a young woman a third of his age, late in his career in the early 1950s.

Posted by
33131 posts

It is up to you to decide which of the two will mean less to you, and therefore which you will be happier to autopilot through if you get tired or the legs shout. Almost certainly you will be more tired during the second one - especially if a lunch intervenes.

Both are quite popular in the season, and neither are cheap.

If I had the choice I would do one major and one minor activity in a day rather than two majors.

Posted by
1 posts

I suppose you can do both in same day if you are willing to give both shorter looks. However, unless you are highly energetic with bionic legs, I advise visiting these on separate days so you can give each site your full engagement. We spent over a few hours at each and only quit because of fatigue and info/visual overload. We happened to book things only upon arrival in London (midAugust 2018) and had no trouble getting time slots 2-3 days in advance, including when venue opened. This surprised me but these tourist spots are incredibly efficient at moving people in and out without one feeling shortchanged. The only thing we booked a week in advance were tickets to Book of Mormon. If theater is a consideration, I would recommend checking out the prices which were definitely cheaper than seeing on Broadway. We visited Windsor too which I thought would be overkill after Buckingham Palace but we enjoyed it, particularly St George’s Chapel. We really liked Westminster Abbey especially a new exhibit which opened upstairs - Queens Diamond Jubilee Galleries that fascinated. Get there when the abbey opens. This was by far the most crowded and most waiting in line we had on trip and we had entry time at 11am. When we visited Windsor it was part of an all day tour bus that included visits to Bath and Stonehenge. Bath was disappointing to us - too much of a tourist trap and we liked Stonehenge given the dramatic clouds offsetting the structures, among other things. Great photo op. I envy you for pursuing Van Gogh at Tate. We missed this museum but hope to revisit London eventually!

Posted by
4062 posts

Google Maps can show you the walking route, estimate times and indicate nearby attractions. The War Rooms can be understood in an hour (plus line-up time). The Palace permits access to several areas, including the Mews (for the carriages) and the Queen's Gallery, with both permanent and visiting art collections. A number of the chambers should also be available in the summer. Tickets can be purchased separately or in packages.

It seems practical to start at the Palace and see how much energy you have left for the War Rooms. Line-ups for tickets and security checks are hard to predict. Nice to be flexible, buying tickets once you get there, but that runs the risk of delays.

Posted by
14163 posts

If you have an interest in seeing the exhibition at the Queen's Gallery you can get a combo ticket for Buckingham Palace and the QG. The exhibit this summer is one I've been looking forward to and have scheduled time in London based on viewing it! It's a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci with a show of his work from the Royal Collection.

Only book the Queens Gallery if this exhibition sounds interesting to you, otherwise just do the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace tour. There is a nice audio tour that goes along with the State Rooms.

I enjoy seeing the Royal Mews as well which can be bought as a combo ticket. To me the State Rooms takes about 2.5 hours excluding time thru security and in line (even with a timed ticket). The Mews takes an hour or so (be sure to go to the bathroom there - the tiles in the Ladies' Room are beautiful!) If the Queens Gallery exhibit appeals, book the Day Out with has all 3 venues - all accessed along Buckingham Palace Road on the left side of the Palace as you face the front.

I have an interest in WWII and have easily spent 3 hours in the War Rooms and that is not even covering everything in the exhibit on Churchill....just a quick run thru there and then listening to the audio all the way thru the War Rooms section.

I'd not do both of these in the same day since you've got 8 days.

Posted by
752 posts

Nigel’s one major/one minor sight per day is great advice since you have 8 days.

I’d do Buckingham Palace in the morning (consider adding the garden tour, it’s really worth it) and have a light lunch in the marquee they set up on the lawn.

Posted by
2619 posts

I visited Buckingham Palace in late August, pleased that my holiday coincided with the Queen's so I could tour the palace--I'm assuming that's what you intend to do? I spent perhaps a bit over an hour in the Palace, did not opt for any add-ons to that ticket as it was my last day and I had several other places to see. I had a snack in the restaurant, explored the gift shop and walked through the gardens, so all together perhaps 2 1/2 hours at most. I'd do the Palace first--maybe a 9:30 ticket then perhaps 12:30 or 1 at the War Rooms.

I did the War Rooms on an earlier trip, spent a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours there, combined with Westminster Abbey which is nearby.

Posted by
4010 posts

If I had the choice I would do one major and one minor activity in a
day rather than two majors.

I agree with Nigel. This is how we travel.

Posted by
350 posts

Thank you
I think I will rethink my plan. I will buy my tickets for the palace once I decided which tour to take. I was not planning on the gardens but they look beautiful. I am thinking of the London Pass (will do the math to see if it works for me). I used these in Copenhagen last summer and found it was a great value for me.

One disadvantage is it does not appear you can pre book the war room. If I go this route I will be line before it opens I’m the morning


Posted by
27360 posts

I think you can pre-book the War Rooms online and skip the ticket line, but you have to pay. If you want to use the free-entry privileges conferred by the London Pass, you'll need to stand in line. At least that's the way I understand it.

Before buying the London Pass, take a careful look at all those large London museums that are not covered by the pass (most are free but request donations) and ask yourself how much time you will want to spend in the "free" museums vs. in the pay-to-enter sights covered by the Pass. It doesn't matter that the Pass allows free entry to $400 worth of sights if you only have time to see $80 worth of sights. (I made those numbers up.)

Posted by
740 posts

Note I am a WW2/military history buff. But personally as much as I enjoyed the War rooms and would recommend it. I don’t think that it is a HUGE long tour. I think you could easily do it the same day as Buchingham palace. The Palace will (in my opinion) take longer.

Personally if it was me I would do the Palace in the morning and stop on my way out and get something to eat at the tent cafe/restaurant thing they do facing the gardens. We did that this fall and it was truly fun to sit and have a great desert while enjoying the view. And it let my elderly father rest his legs.

As for the walk between them. I think it is reasonable short but I did the Palace this year and the war rooms last year (or last year and the year before technically now that it is 2019). So we did not walk between them. But we started the day in Westminster Abby walked to the war rooms then on down to Trefalgar Sq. And we had an early dinner in that area.
We also tend to the one big one little (or major minor as we call it) in a day. And as interesting as the war rooms are I would call that a minor unless you are a HUGE Churchill fan.

Please note that with the Queens Jubilee Gallery open at Westminster Abby I am not sure that my 2017 trip would work as the Gallery takes more time (and is well worth it).

-Doug M