See the New Guard exchange duty with the Old Guard in the famous Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
What is Changing the Guard?
Changing the Guard is a formal ceremony in which the group of soldiers currently protecting Buckingham Palace are replaced by a new group of soldiers. The ceremony is free to watch.
The guard that looks after Buckingham Palace is called The Queen's Guard and 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.
The Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms in the palace's forecourt from 10.30am and is joined by the St James's Palace Old Guard at around 10.45am. The New Guard then arrives from Wellington Barracks and takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard in a formal ceremony accompanied by music.
What time is Changing the Guard?
Changing the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, takes place outside Buckingham Palace on certain days from 10.45am and lasts around 45 minutes, with the actual handover taking place at 11am.
This free London event is very popular, so be sure to arrive early to secure a spot with a good view.
Is Changing the Guard every day?
Changing the Guard doesn't take place every day – it is usually every other day but is subject to change. Before your visit, make sure to check the ceremony schedule on the Household Division's website for confirmed Changing the Guard times. There is no ceremony on days when large events are held in the city centre.
Changing the Guard also takes place at Windsor Castle on certain days at 11am and the Changing of The Queen's Life Guard usually takes place daily at Horse Guards Parade at 11am (10am on Sundays). Remember to check the Household Division's website for the full schedule of the ceremonies.
Where is the best place to watch Changing the Guard?
The Buckingham Palace gates and the steps of the Victoria Memorial just opposite are two of the best spots to watch Changing the Guard. Alternatively, get there early and try to grab a spot on The Mall, between Marlborough Road and Buckingham Palace, for a close-up view of the guards marching past.
See inside Buckingham Palace
Book tickets to Buckingham Palace’s summer opening to step inside the palace itself and admire its lavish interiors during the summer months.
What is there to do in the area?
Just around the corner from Buckingham Palace lies the historic area of St James's. Explore what is ought to be one of the capital's best hidden gems: shop for bags of high-end fashion in atmospheric alleyways; delight your tastebuds at stylish eateries; and make a day of it with famous attractions.
The ceremony usually starts at 10.45am, but be sure to arrive much earlier to secure a good viewing spot.
Visit the Household Division website for the full schedule of dates and timings. There can be last-minute cancellations of the Changing the Guard ceremony, such as in very wet weather.