Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace – Watch at least once in your lifetime

Changing Guard is otherwise known as ‘Guard Mounting’ i.e. one regiment takes over from another. Everyone should watch the Queen’s Guardsmen in action at least once in their life. It is a colourful spectacle and British pageantry.

Changing of the Guard meaning, it’s route and how it takes place

The Guard which mounts at Buckingham Palace is called The Queen’s Guard and is divided into two Detachments: the Buckingham Palace Detachment (which is responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace), and the St. James’s Palace Detachment, (which guards St. James’s Palace). Queen’s Guard is made up of soldiers on active duty from the Household Division’s Foot Guards. The guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats. Changing of the Guard spans three locations – Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Wellington Barracks.

  1. Changing of the Guard takes place outside Buckingham Palace from 10.45am. It lasts around 45 minutes. Actual handover taking is done at 11 am.
  2. The Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace Old Guard forms up in the palace’s forecourt from 10.30am.
  3. The St James’s Palace Old Guard joins to Buckingham Palace old Guards at around 10.45am. (1 contingent of guards stays at St. James Palace until new guards take the responsibility)
  4. New soldiers gather at Wellington Barracks from 10:00 am and march to Buckingham Palace accompanied by music.
  5. New Guards then takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guards in a formal ceremony accompanied by music at Buckingham Palace at 11 am.

The strength of the Guard depends on the Queen’s presence at the Palace. If the Royal Standard is flying above the Palace, The Queen is in residence and the number of guards is increased.

Origin or History of Changing of the Guard

Originally the Changing the Guard ceremony took place at the Palace of Whitehall until 1689. It was the Sovereign’s official residence in London at that time. With the changes in official residence, it took place then at St James’s Palace. Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837. Since then the Queen’s Guard guarding two Palaces St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace.

The ceremony is free to watch. The event is very popular, so to arrive early to secure a spot with a good view.

Changing of The Guard time date schedule

Generally, the celebration takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It sometimes is cancelled at very short notice, especially in wet weather or large events are held in the city centre. Time start: 10:30 am at St James’ Palace and Wellington Barracks, 11 am Buckingham Palace. It lasts about 45 minutes. Actual handover taking is done at 11 am at Buckingham Palace. Please visit the Changing Guard Calendar at the website of Household Division of British Army for update date and time schedule.

Address Car Parking and Nearest Tube to Changing of the Guard

Address: Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA. See the location in Google Map
Email:  [email protected]
Nearest Tube, Train, Bus: Victoria, Green Park, St. James’s Park and Hyde Park Corner. Train- London Victoria or London Charing Cross. Bus- bus numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 (stop on Buckingham Palace Road). Please visit the Journey Planner of Transport for London to see how to get here.
Car parking: No free parking at the Palace. Public transport is recommended. There are metered street parking bays on some of the roads close by.

Visit the website for more information.  You can visit other Royal attractions near Buckingham Palace

Changing Guard-Queen’s Guardsmen in action. Source: Youtube

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