Image by Will Jones Lonely Planet
Since the reign of King Charles I in the early 17th century, the Royal Family has amassed a priceless collection of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, furniture and jewellery, and this small gallery showcases a rotating selection of about 400 pieces of the palace’s treasures. An audio guide (included in the ticket price) will lead you around in about an hour, though unless you have a specific interest in the temporary exhibition, London's other galleries are more rewarding (and free).
Originally on the site was a conservatory designed by Welsh architect John Nash, which was converted into a chapel for Queen Victoria in 1843, destroyed in a 1940 air raid and reopened as a gallery in 1962. A £20-million renovation for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 enlarged the entrance, added a Greek Doric portico and tripled the display space.
Entrance to the gallery is from Buckingham Gate. Expect airport-style security. Tickets are valid for one year if you get it stamped by staff before you leave.