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Royal Palace opens first cafe for visitors

Garden Cafe for Buckingham Palace tourists opens on Tuesday

Jul 25, 2010

Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the British sovereign, was building its first cafe for summer tourists in its 173 years of receiving royal guests - all while Queen Elizabeth II was away on holiday.

The Garden Cafe - being constructed on a prominent spot with panoramic views of the home's 40-acre grounds - was set to offer a variety of sweet and savory snacks when it opens on Tuesday morning, Britain's The Daily Mail reported.

Classic British fare like tea and scones will be available alongside foreign treats such as almond croissants, chicken foccacia and Greek salad - and anyone with a £17 ($29) ticket will be able to enter.

A cappuccino, complete with a crown-shaped chocolate dusting, will only cost £2.65. Apple juice from the queen's Sandringham estate also made the menu.

About 400,000 people were expected to stop by the palace this summer, making seating the biggest challenge for cafe staff. Just 210 chairs will be available at the eatery's tables.

"We did a trial run last year with a sample menu and a smaller space, and we discovered that it [seating availability] regulated itself," Royal Collection Enterprises retail director Nuala McGourty said, adding that visitors tended to be on their best behavior while visiting the royal grounds.

Staff members, many of whom served at this summer's garden parties to honor members of the public, were also used to making visitors to Buckingham Palace feel at home.

All proceeds from the summer opening, a tradition that began in 1993, will be used to maintain the Royal Collection - one of the world's top art collections. Last summer, £8.2 million was raised.

Garden Cafe for Buckingham Palace tourists opens on Tuesday
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