Changing the Guard Free

Buckingham Palace


Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace
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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 at Buckingham Palace?

Changing the Guard is a formal ceremony in which the group of soldiers protecting Buckingham Palace are replaced by a new group of soldiers. The famous London guards have been around for centuries, with the first ceremony taking place during the reign of King Henry VII. The ceremony originally took place at the Palace of Whitehall.

The guard that looks after Buckingham Palace is called The King'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.

What time is Changing of the Guard in London?

Guards in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats form a line in front of Buckingham Palace holding a Union Jack flag

Changing the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, takes place outside Buckingham Palace every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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 about 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. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes, with the actual handover taking place at 11am.

This free London event is very popular, so arrive early to secure a spot with a good view.

Do I need to buy tickets for London's Changing the Guard?

The Changing the Guard ceremony in London is free to attend.

Book ahead to combine Changing the Guard with London's most iconic spots on a Royal Walking Tour, Changing the Guard or pair it with a visit to Buckingham Palace during its summer opening.

Royal London Walking Tour

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Does Changing the Guard in London take place every day?

Changing the Guard takes place at Buckingham Palace Forecourt every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Before you visit, check the ceremony schedule on the Household Division's website for confirmed Changing the Guard times. Changing the Guard does not take place when other large events are happening in central London.

Changing the Guard also takes place at Windsor Castle every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11am.

Changing of the King's Life Guard usually takes place daily at Horse Guards Parade at 11am (10am on Sundays). Check the Household Division's website for the full schedule of the ceremonies.

Where is the best place to watch Changing the Guard in London?

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 and admire its lavish interiors from July through September.

What else is there to do around Buckingham Palace?

Just around the corner from Buckingham Palace lies the historic area of St James's.

Explore one of the capital's best hidden gems by shopping for high-end fashion in atmospheric alleyways and arcades and delighting your tastebuds at stylish restaurants. Make a day of it by checking out St James's famous attractions.

Opening Times

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.