The gardens, which span 39 acres, opened to the public for the first time on 8 July and promised visitors the chance to picnic on the lawns and explore the gardens.
Tickets cost £16.50 for an adult or £42 for a family with up to three children. Buckingham Palace’s website promised visitors would be able to enjoy the “beauty and calm of this walled oasis” and a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to picnic on the lawn”.
But guests discovered large parts of the gardens were off-limits, and complained of overpriced tickets and food, long queues, and watchful security guards that tainted the experience.
Some took to TripAdvisor to warn others, describing their visit as “disappointing” and “underwhelming”, and suggesting that tourists visit other parks in London for free.
Others said they felt as though their visit “just added a few more pounds to the royal’s purse”, and that they felt “robbed by the royals”.
One person wrote about queuing to get through “airport-style security” and added that the gardens were “hugely lacking” in “atmosphere” during their picnic.
“After our lunch we wanted to get walking into the gardens themselves and around the lake, after 10 minutes we were back where we started after looking at dying flowers and plenty of weeds,” they added.
Some people were surprised and disappointed to find that many areas were off limits unless they paid an additional £6.50 per person for a guided tour. This included the rose garden and wildflower meadow.
Another person said: “The entrance ticket only allows you to walk down a crap path with not much to see and the green lawn to sit on. Also if it’s a rainy day this trip becomes pointless.
“In and out in less than one hour and a waste of money. Better off waiting for a sunny day and going to any other park in London FOR FREE!”
Despite the large number of negative reviews, Buckingham Palace still holds a 4.5 star rating out of five on TripAdvisor. One five-star review praised the gardens for its “beautiful shady trees and a flower border”, while another said they had a “wonderful family day” there.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “We have been pleased to receive a good deal of positive feedback from many visitors to the garden this summer, but all visitor feedback is important to us and will be considered for future planning.”
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