The Changing of the Guard is a must for any London itinerary no matter how long you have in the capital Even if you are traveling with children or toddlers! But anyone knows that a tourist attraction especially a time limited one such as changing of the guard at Buckingham palace can get exceptionally busy and busy places and toddlers aren’t the best of friends. Here are some helpful suggestions on the best places to watch the changing of the guard with kids aka how to avoid the crowds at changing of the guard.
What is The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
The Changing of the Guard is a formal ceremony held at Buckingham Palace! The ceremony is the switching over of the whole group of soldiers who have been protecting the palace for the last 24 hours. The soldiers that take over are in which a group of soldiers is relieved of their duties by a new batch of soldiers. This guard will then work on two hourly rotations. The Changing of the Guard is the only time you will see the while guard group doing the change including the marching, parading and musical accompaniment.
Contrary to popular belief it is not held daily so you will need to check the Household Cavalry website to check details!
Also, although we brits are used to the rain the changing of the guard is unlikely to happen in heavy rain! (but if it does don’t worry as we have you covered with these rainy day activities!)!
Changing of the Guard Schedule
This is the normally schedule but is subject to change. Please check the Buckingham Palace Website to check details for the day of your visit.
10:30am – Guards begin lining up at Wellington Barracks.
10:55am – The New Guards will begin making their way from Wellington Barracks to Buckingham Palace
11am – The Change over of the Guars will begin at Buckingham Palace accompanied with musics.
11:30am – The ceremony is finished and the old guards will return to the Barracks.
Best Place to Watch Changing of the Guard with Kids
There is not one spot where you can see the whole ceremony from therefore I like to pick one of the less busy areas to watch a segment. My favorite spots are:
My favorite place to watch Changing of the Guards with kids is actually not watching hanging of the guards at all but watching the preamble at Wellington Barracks which usually includes the musical accompaniment! There are far less crowds here and children will be guaranteed a much better view than at the Palace . However this is not the place to watch the ceremony itself!
Also there is a lovely playground just over the road from the Barracks to occupy children before the ceremony and until the old guards return to the Barracks at 11:30.
Other great spots and reasons to stand there:
- Buckingham Palace Gates – As close as you can get to the Palace itself! But this is also the busiest spot! I only recommend this is you are traveling out of season!
- Friary Court – courtyard at St. James’s Palace. Please note that many tour groups use this location so it can get busy even out of season!
- The Mall – The main road they march down!
- The Victoria Memorial – Large memorial statue fronting Buckingham Palace is good when there are crowds!
Tips for watching Changing of the Guards
However if you want to watch at Buckingham Palace you will need to get there by at least 10:30 especially if you are traveling in school holidays. This is the only way you are guaranteed a good viewing spot!