Britain’s most famous palace in London boasts something of a trophy case of superlatives – the world’s largest working palace, the city’s largest private gardens and, to some, one of the worst places to visit because it’s expensive and most is out of bounds. Freeloaders can witness the 40-minute Changing the Guard, a daily traffic-stopping tradition of pomp and circumstance where bear-skinned guards and a marching band parade up the Mall from Wellington Barracks to the palace forecourt (11.30am daily May- end July; otherwise on alternate days in clement weather). Access beyond that famous neoclassical facade (actually the back of the building) is limited – only the 19 State Rooms can be visited (which includes a generous view of the garden), and only when ‘grandma’ trots off to Balmoral Castle in the summer. The Royal Mews – home to the palace’s beautiful horses and State carriages (including the ludicrously dazzling 24ct gold-plated Coronation Coach) – are open half the year; only the Queen’s Gallery, which displays the Royal Collection – dour oil paintings by Dutch masters, gilt parade furniture and precious jewels – is open year round. Otherwise, try appropriating an invitation to one of her garden parties, or a knighthood.