Qasr Al Watan (Palace of the Nation) in Abu Dhabi is open to the public. Check below for a map, information, video and great photographs.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan took part in the opening.
Qasr Al Watan will open daily 10:00 – 20:00; though I expect that on state occasions it may close.
Wheelchairs are provided for those who need them, and special needs visitors receive complimentary access. A free-to-use car-park with shuttle buses are available throughout the day. You can take ‘non-commercial’ videos and photographs, but may not use things like GoPro attached to your body (POV type filming on the move).
There is airport-style security clearance and large bags (bigger than budget-airline carry-on) are prohibited – with no storage visitors will then be refused entry. Prohibited items are similar to those prohibited in an aircraft and also include any animal. As always in the UAE, do not take photos of security aspects. Smoking is not permitted.
Inside there are several restaurants, including gourmet dining, fit for a Sheikh, and fast food. You can also buy souvenirs from Qasr Al Watan in two shops. Toilets are available in several locations, including the visitors’ centre, where a prayer room is available for Muslim visitors.
There is a dress code for Qasr Al Watan of what can be called ‘smart casual’ with for example long sleeved, long length dresses/skirt for women and long trousers and smart shirt for men, in short – dress appropriately for the Palace of a Head of State.
The tour of Qasr Al Watan starts at The Great Hall, the heart of the building.
In the west wing, visitors will have access to halls typically reserved for official summits and learn about the formation of the UAE. These include the Spirit of Collaboration hall, where the UAE Federal Supreme Council, UAE Cabinet meetings and official summits are conducted.
At the Al Barza hall, visitors will learn about the traditional role of a ‘Majlis’- a space for cultural, political and social gatherings – through an engaging multimedia show which sheds light on the continuation of a tradition historically followed by Emirati leaders to govern with the consensus of their people. There is also a display of official Diplomatic Gifts.
The interior will not be the only attraction. The gardens are spectacular formal style overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Before closure each day a sound and laser-light show ‘Palace in Motion’ will portray the past, present and future of the United Arab Emirates.
Qasr Al Watan timing is seven days a week from 10:00 – 20:00 with Qasr Al Watan tickets (Adults AED60/Children AED30) available for purchase from the Visitor Centre and online (with email delivery) via the official Qasr Al Watan website. Guided tours (AED30) are available every half hour with up to 20 people, and private guided tours (AED600) are also available for your own party of 1 up to 20people. You can purchase tickets (AED30) only for entry to the gardens.
The location is easy to find and is accessed from the western end of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche (near the Emirates Palace Hotel).