The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace

The Royal Mews is the British royal family’s equestrian stables. This full-time working facility is located on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, just south of the palace’s garden and mere steps from The Queen’s Gallery. Highlights of a visit to the Royal Mews include the Gold State Coach—arguably the world’s most famous royal carriage—and a replica of Queen Victoria’s favorite horse-drawn carriage. Meanwhile, the kids will love the chance to dress up in livery and pretend to saddle wooden ponies.

Money Saving Tip! The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace is included on the London Pass and GoCity London Pass. If you are sightseeing in London, then you can save a lot of money with the pass.

History of the Royal Mews

A mew is a habitat where trained hawks are housed while molting, and the Royal Mews takes its memorable moniker from the fact that the original Royal Mews (long gone, today it’s the site of the National Gallery) was where the King kept his hawks when they weren’t hunting. This structure burned to the ground in the early sixteenth century and it was rebuilt as a stable, yet it retained this idiosyncratic name.

The current location of the Royal Mews dates to 1825, when the architect John Nash incorporated a huge stable into his famous design for Buckingham Palace. It was Queen Victoria, the first ruler to reside in the reimagined Buckingham Palace, who helped shape the Royal Mews into the vibrant working community it is today. Even in the twenty-first century, the Royal Mews plays an active role in the comings and goings of the royal family, being where their many coaches, carriages, and cars are stored and maintained.

Royal Mews Highlights

The star attraction of a visit to the Royal Mews is the Gold State Coach, a 260-year-old coach that has played a part in every coronation ceremony since William IV ascended to the throne in 1830. This lavish, visually unforgettable coach is adorned with a variety of gilded sculptures and painted panels; weighing some four tons, it requires the services of eight horses to move.

Speaking of horses, no visit is complete without coming face to face with the two horse breeds that are housed at the Royal Mews: Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays. Windsor Greys are the horses reserved for use by the reigning monarch, the royal family, and their guests; Cleveland Bays are used as workhorses, as well as transportation for ambassadors and high commissioners.

Those individuals who’ve always fantasized of riding in a royal carriage will finally have their dreams come true at the Royal Mews. That’s because visitors to the Royal Mews can actually climb in and sit in a replica Semi-State Landau, the carriage favored by Queen Victoria during ceremonial occasions. This is one photo opportunity you won’t want to miss!

More to See and Do at the Royal Mews

A distinctive slice of British history is on display at the Royal Mews. Keep reading for additional information on a few more fun things to see and do here.

*The Royal Mews gift shop is a great place to pick up a London-themed gift or royal family-related souvenir. In particular, the Royal Mews store sells a unique range of products pertaining to the horses and carriages utilized by the King for ceremonial functions to this very day.

*Not only are there no dining options available at the Royal Mews, but all food and drink (other than bottled water) are strictly prohibited. Visitors looking for something to eat, though, will still be spoiled for options, as the area around the attraction is full of restaurants, cafes, pubs, and more.

*Have you ever dreamed of dressing up as a royal footman? If you have, you can do that here in the State Stables, where specially designed costumes are just waiting for you to try them on. Likewise, the Livery at the Royal Mews features a collection of historical liveries dating back to World War I.

*Another popular activity at the Royal Mews is found within the State Stables, where kids can practice harnessing a wooden pony and attaching it to a carriage.

*Guided tours of the Royal Mews are available some half-dozen times throughout the day. They usually last about 45 minutes, departing from a meeting place straight across from the stables.

Why the Royal Mews Should Be on Your Must-See List

If you’ve got an animal lover in your touring group, or a family member in tow who has a particular affinity for the British royal family, then the Royal Mews could make for a fun stop as you explore the many world-famous attractions adjacent to Buckingham Palace. Other popular destinations located near the Royal Mews include The Queen’s Gallery, the Guards Museum, Westminster Abbey, and Wellington Arch. The Royal Mews typically proves an especially big hit with kids and small children.