Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you haven’t really seen London if you haven’t been to Buckingham Palace. However, something that we’d missed out until February is the Changing Of The Guard Ceremony. A daily event that is iconic and well, pretty damn British. We had the absolute pleasure to see the best parts of the ceremony with ‘Fun London Tours’.
What is the Changing of the Guard Ceremony?
The Changing of the Guard ceremony is one of the oldest and most recognised ceremonies associated with Buckingham Palace. In short, it’s when The Queen’s Guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace to the New Guard. All the guards are typically dressed in traditional black bearskin hats and red tunics and are accompanied by a Guards band.
Fun London Tours
Fun London Tours make sure that you’re not waiting by the Buckingham Palace gates with the large crowds of tourists. Waiting for a glimpse of the guards over hundreds of shoulders. By witnessing the event this way, you miss a lot of the charm of the ceremony – the horses, the music and the long stretch of marching.
On our tour, we were able to watch the inspection of the old guard, the new guards and actually march alongside the Guards and Ceremonial Bands.
A huge bonus of the tour is that before watching the Changing of the Guard, you are taken to the Horse Guard Parade to watch the Change of the Lifeguard ceremony. We’ll talk more about this later on!
The tour involves a lot of walking and it’s quite fast-paced so you don’t miss any of the stages of the ceremony. Running to keep up with the Guards and Bands adds to the fun anyway!
The Horse Guard Parade
Before watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony, we watched the Changing the Queen’s Lifeguard ceremony at the Horse Guards Parade. The Guards here are apart of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment so you get to see the magnificent looking and behaving horses. They are honestly so beautiful!
Changing The Queen’s Lifeguard is not as well known as Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace. This means no railings, smaller crowds, front row views and amazing photo opportunities.
As we were there on a Sunday, the ceremony started at 10am (on weekdays – 11am) and lasted about 30 minutes. It’s a great display of British command and an insight into Royal traditions that many people miss out.
Changing of the Guards
Shortly after, we headed towards the Friary Court to see the ‘old’ Guards that were stationed at St James’ Palace. We watched as they got in formation, along with the Guards band. Before they began to march towards Buckingham Palace, we waited at the junction of Marlborough Road and the Mall with cameras at the ready.
At a very fast pace, we marched alongside the Guards, even overtook them so we could find a spot between Buckingham Palace and Wellington Barracks. There we watched the New Guard march from the barracks and march past, en route to Buckingham Palace.
The whole morning was so exciting and we are so happy that we finally got to see these spectacular Royal traditions. Fun London Tours MADE the experience for us. Our tour guide, Jess, was full of knowledge, stories and laughter. If we decided to see the ceremony ourselves, we guarantee we would’ve stood with the other clueless tourists and returned home feeling disappointed.
So as you may have gathered, we definitely recommend the ‘Fun London Tours’ Changing of the Guard tour!