How close can a commoner get to Queen Elizabeth's White Drawing Room and other opulent corners in Buckingham Palace? With the help of the mobile app Google Expeditions, you can get as up close and personal as if you were physically there.
The app uses virtual reality, a kind of technology that allows viewers to interact with a three-dimensional rendering of a place. Normally, this requires the use of bulky headsets that function like 3D cinema glasses. But Google Expeditions has found a simpler way for anyone to experience virtual reality: After downloading the app on a smartphone and signing up for the Buckingham Palace tour, you just need to wrap your mobile phone in a cardboard box shaped like binoculars.
You'll feel like you've been personally invited to the Queen's home. The virtual tour includes a lifelike view of the Marble Hall with its 104 columns. After a flight up the grand staircase—with a balustrade cast in expensive gilt broze—comes the Green Drawing Room, named for the green silk that lines the walls. Next stops are the theatrical Throne Room, George IV's personal gallery of Dutch paintings, the banquet area where state visits are held, and Queen Elizabeth's entertaining area.
A video version of the tour is also available. Watch it here:
The Buckingham Palace also opens its doors to visitors in summer and autumn. Tickets range from £23 to £84.50 for visits to State Rooms, Buckingham Palace Garden, and The Queen's Gallery.