When visiting Istanbul this must be near the top of anyone's "Must Visit" list. A number of the rooms are stunning, the setting is superb and the history of the palace is fascinating. All offering a great insight into how life in the palace was for those who's home this was.
A few comments that might be of help, based on our visit on a Friday in May.
1. We timed our arrival for lunch time and found the queue acceptable. It only took us 20 minutes to get in. Towards the end of our visit it was getting very busy, as the afternoon visitors caught up with us.
2. If you like a rest, or just want to sit down and soak in the atmosphere, take any empty bench you can. There are far too few and many people end up simply sitting on the grass. They should put more benches in and if cost is an issue, get firms, or families, to sponsor them.
3. If the first cafe you come across is full there are others. Good quality / good value.
4. The Art Gallery is well worth a visit. However the lighting in some of the rooms is minimal and like large parts of the Palace it is easy trip on the door sills and the like. They need to address this issue.
5. In some reviews visitors are critical of the staff. We found many of them to be very friendly and helpful. A simple and cheery "Good Afternoon" was always responded to.
6. Photos. I wanted to take a number of photographs, but observed their rules forbidding it. Frustrating as many/many people were taking pictures on their mobiles. I suggest it is allowed, or people are asked to leave them in a locker.
7. Photos again. A number of interested people back home are following our trip to Istanbul. I think that the Palace marketing team has missed an opportunity for visitors to promote visitor numbers as people back home cannot see how splendid the interior is. Perhaps they don't want additional visitors?
In summary a great place to visit on any trip to Istanbul.