By Sadie Whitelocks
Fit for a Duchess: Kate Middleton's stunning wedding gown has attracted a record number of visitors to Buckingham Palace this summer
Record number of visitors have flocked to Buckingham Palace this summer as a result of Kate's stunning £250,000 Royal Wedding gown going on display.
Over 354,000 people have walked through the palace doors since the special exhibition - featuring the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress - opened on July 23 and it is expected final ticket sales will total £8million.
With entry up a remarkable 20 per cent up from last year, proceeds will be put towards William and Kate's wedding charity fund - which already tops £1million.
Profits will also help with the maintenance and restoration of the Royal Collection which includes the palaces, residences and extensive art collections.
The Collection has seen profits surpass previous years, with tickets sales across its venues and sales of commemorative souvenirs boosting income from £7.3million to £41.7million in the year to April.
A spokesperson for the Royal Collection said: 'This year has been our highest to date. The wedding dress has proved very popular.'
The Queen and Kate at a private view of the exhibition at Buckingham Palace before the official opening in July
Adults have been paying £17.50 - and children under 17, £10 - to get a close-up view of Kate's intricate silk gown exhibited alongside a selection from the Royal Faberge collection.
Other items displayed include the magnificent 1936 Cartier 'Halo' tiara sporting 1,000 diamonds, lent by The Queen to Kate on her wedding day, the wedding shoes, also hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and the diamond earrings specially commissioned by Kate's parents, featuring the new Middleton family crest.
A total of 413,000 people visited Buckingham Palace last summer, only surpassed by the 420,000 in 1994.
The palace was first opened to the public in 1993, to help pay for the £40 million restoration costs of Windsor Castle, damaged by fire the previous year.
It was agreed the venue would only be opened during the summer months when The Queen is at her Scottish residence, Balmoral.
A spokesperson added that visitor numbers at Windsor and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh were also 'very good.'
Buckingham Palace and the Royal Wedding Dress exhibition will close to the public on October 3 when final figures will be revealed.