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?

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 famous London guards have been around for centuries, with the first ceremony taking place during the reign of King Henry VII where it was originally held 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?

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. 

Do I need to buy tickets?

The Changing the Guard ceremony is free to attend.

You can also 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 your visit to Buckingham Palace during its summer opening.

Royal London Walking Tour

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What time is it?

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

Does it take place every day?

Changing the Guard takes place at Buckingham Palace Forecourt every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It starts at 10:45am and lasts for about 45 minutes. 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 every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11am and the Changing of The King'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 it?

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.