Qasr Al Watan is the pristine ‘Palace of the Nation’ – a grand venue that has welcomed leaders from across the globe when they’ve visited Abu Dhabi.
This beautiful building has thrown open its doors to visitors to tell the story of the UAE, while containing the offices of the president and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
This fascinating history and heritage is explored through interactive exhibits – while the House of Knowledge and library let you explore key themes in more detail.
Marvel at the gleaming gold and white decor – from its grand Great Hall to the Spirit of Collaboration room, where key meetings are held. Plus, when the sun goes down, stand by for a spectacular light and sound show projected onto the exterior.
Travellers who have a passion for history and want to get a better understanding of the history of the UAE while in Abu Dhabi.
The spectacular sound and light show that takes place after dark. This display illuminates the outside of the palace with imagery from the UAE’s journey so far.
Watch the building’s fabulous facade come alive after dark with a dazzling sound and light show. The impressive white granite and limestone palace is a picturesque sight in the daytime – but turns into an exquisite, entertaining and educational display come evening.
Palace in Motion celebrates the entire story of the UAE in three acts with spell-binding imagery projected onto front of the building.
The show can be seen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30pm – although times may change depending on sunset.
Qasr Al Watan doesn’t just explore the story of the UAE. In the House of Knowledge you’re able to find out more about the great influence Arabian scholars have had on human history too.
Wander the exhibits to be enchanted by the region’s rich contribution to society across astronomy, science, art, literature, and more.
Among the items on display is the Birmingham Quran – a gift from Prince Charles, which offers one of the earliest records of this sacred text.
Follow in the footsteps of world leaders by taking a look inside ‘Spirit of Collaboration’, the room where key summits take place.
One highlight here is the incredible chandelier. This beguiling three-tiered centrepiece is made up of 350,000 crystals and is illuminated for special occasions.
The circular room was specifically designed so that everyone can see each other clearly so that all guests are on an equal standing.
There are plenty of exquisite details to pick out while you explore Qasr Al Watan.
The Presidential Gifts room displays gifts that have been given to Abu Dhabi by visiting dignitaries as a gesture of goodwill. Items here include a Swiss quartz rock that is thought to be 20 million years old, Japanese Samurai armour and German falcon masks.
The 300-seat Presidential Banquet hall, meanwhile, is laid with 149,000 hand-engraved pieces of fine bone China tableware.
Each room in Qasr Al Watan is beautifully designed – with three key colours representing the character of the UAE.
There’s blue to represent the waters of the Arabian Gulf, yellow for the region’s sands and white to demonstrate purity and peace. These feature in geometric mosaic patterns on the walls and floors throughout.
The architectural splendour is perhaps best encapsulated in the Great Hall – whose central dome is one of the largest in the world.
You’ll find Al Qasr Watan by the waters of the Arabian Gulf, next to Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi at the end of the Corniche.
Head south west on Corniche St. Take the second exit at the roundabout at the end of the road and continue to follow the road to the palace.
It’s about a two-and-a-half mile (four kilometres) trip and takes roughly eight minutes.
It’s about a 40-minute drive to reach Qasr Al Watan from Yas Island.
Your journey follows the E12 west through Saadiyat Island and past Louvre Abu Dhabi. You’ll turn right at Shinaf St and then left onto Corniche St - follow this road all the way to the palace.
Follow the E12 south west across Sheikh Khalifa Bridge. Turn right at Shinaf St and then left onto Corniche St. Follow this past the beach and round to the palace.
It’ll take just over half an hour to make the journey.
There is a car park next to Qasr Al Watan Visitor Centre. There are ample spaces here and parking is free of charge.
Qasr Al Watan-inspired souvenirs can be purchased – and you can also collect your photo taken in the Palace media room here.
Dhiyafat Qasr Al Watan offers international cuisine, while coffee and sweet treats await at Al Fowla. Head to Legma for light bites and refreshments on the go.
Qasr Al Watan provides wheelchairs for the elderly or those with reduced mobility. Disabled visitors receive free entry for themselves and a companion.
Qasr Al Watan is open every day of the week except Mondays. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays it’s open from 10am until 6pm, with last entry at 5pm. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays the palace is open from noon until 7.30pm, when you can see the Palace in Motion show. Last entry on these days is 6pm. Check ahead for extended hours during special celebrations, including around the UAE’s National Day in December.
Guided tours of Qasr Al Watan run every 30 minutes. They take about an hour to cover the building’s key sites and attractions. Information is available in English, Arabic, Mandarin and Russian and it’s also possible to book a private tour for up to 20 visitors.
Qasr Al Watan was built over a seven-year period, between 2010 and 2017. From then it was used purely for official purposes in hosting political and religious leaders until 2019, when it opened its doors to members of the public.
There is a ticket counter available at the palace, but you are able to skip any potential queues by booking your visit to Qasr Al Watan in advance online.
Swimming, sunbathing and sports all await in this immaculate public beach. There’s also a beautiful beachside boardwalk that’s perfect for a sunset stroll.
Take afternoon tea at this luxury beachfront hotel to enjoy a delicious treat after you’ve visited the neighbouring Qasr Al Watan.
Shop from designer brands, dine at your favourite restaurant chains and enjoy a range of entertainment including a cinema, bowling alley and sports.
The palace took 150 million-man hours to build – and each door took 350 hours alone.
The Spirit of Collaboration chandelier is also designed to absorb sound from its amphitheatre-style surrounds.
The huge central dome sits almost 200 feet off the ground above the middle of the Great Hall and is more than 120 feet wide.
The lending library houses more than 50,000 books.
By day or night, this incredible place of worship serves as Abu Dhabi’s most iconic landmark. Take a tour to explore inside.
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Head on a tour of mankind’s artistic achievements from the Neolithic period right up to the modern day in this world-class museum.
All imagery provided by © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi