The Royal Mews was built in 1760 as stables for George III’s horses and was expanded in 1825. It is now the principal royal stables in London and home to around 30 horses and the state motor car fleet with accommodation for the royal family’s grooms and chauffeurs on site.
What to see at the Royal Mews
There is a surprisingly large selection of horse-drawn coaches at the disposal of the royal family, most of which are on display here.
Of more than 30 coaches kept at the Royal Mews, the Gold State Coach is the most opulent, and the heaviest. The four-tonne Gold State Coach needs eight horses to draw it and even then its top speed is equivalent to walking pace.
Two of the newest coaches in the royal fleet are the Australian State Coach, which was presented to the Queen as a gift from Australia to commemorate the Australian Bicentennial in 1988, and the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was first used in 2014. These newer coaches still have the classic styling of the older coaches, but also have modern amenities such as heating, suspension and electric windows.
You are also able to visit the royal stables where you may be able to see some of the carriage horses and you can also see the livery worn by the Queen’s coachmen as well as the state cars of the United Kingdom.
Visitors also have the opportunity to dress up as a footman and step into a replica of the Semi-State Landau carriage that was popular with Queen Victoria.
Visiting the Royal Mews
The Royal Mews is located on Buckingham Palace Road around a five-minute walk southwest of Buckingham Palace. It is less than a ten-minute walk to Victoria tube station and not much farther to St James’s Park or Hyde Park Corner tube stations.
It is open to the public from February to November.
When you arrive at the Royal Mews you will need to pass through an airport-style security check. Like an airport, you can’t bring things like scissors or knives in so leave these at your hotel.
Visitors can borrow a multimedia guide with an audio headset and have the choice of listening to the adult tour, a family tour (which has more commentary on things that children aged 5–12 may find interesting) and an audio descriptive tour for visually-impaired visitors. The multimedia guide/audio tour is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The standard audio tour lasts around 45 minutes.
Between April and October there is also a 45-minute guided tour that departs at 10.15am, 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
It should take around an hour to see everything here, which makes it a relatively expensive attraction although entry is free for holders of a valid London Pass.