Changing the Guard

Changing the guard

Changing the Guard ceremonies are among the most popular ceremonial events that take place most days in London.  These are among the iconic images that every visitor to London immediately recognizes.  Colourful and vibrant, these events involve soldiers in brightly coloured uniforms marching in set formations as they change the guard on duty outside Buckingham Palace and on Horse Guards Parade which is a memorable site for every first time traveler staying in Serviced Apartments London.

The two ceremonies are very different, and offer some brilliant opportunities for photographs.  They always attract large crowds, so our advice is to get there early in order to get the best viewing point. For Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace aim to be there by 10.30 at the latest. No tickets are needed – it is totally free.  The ceremony takes place each day between April and July, then on alternate days for the rest of the year.

Buckingham Palace is the official home of HM The Queen.  The ceremony marks the moment when the one group of guards hands over responsibility for protecting the palace to the next group. These form the Queens Guard and are always drawn from the ranks of one of the five regiments of Foot Guards from the Household Division.

Dressed in scarlet tunics and tall bearskin caps, the guards carry out a detailed drill in front of Buckingham Palace as the two groups change position. With commands barked out by the officers, and music being played by the accompanying military band, it is a complex procedure. It takes around 45 minutes to complete before marching away to their barracks.

If you want to know whether the Queen is in residence – take a look at the flag that is flying above Buckingham Palace. If she is present, the Royal Standard flies proudly above the palace. At other times, the Union Flag (often referred to as the Union Jack) may be flown.

Horse Guards Parade is located on the far side of St James Park, just a short drive from Presidential Marylebone Mayfair.  This is where the ceremony of Changing The Queen’s Life Guard takes place.  It is quite dramatic as all the Life Guards are mounted on horses, and have their swords drawn.  On their heads are plumed helmets that are quite heavy to wear. The full ceremony takes place at 11.00 am on weekdays and 10.00 am on Sundays. The Horse Guards remain on duty outside Horse Guards Parade until 4.00 pm every day, with the mounted sentries changing every hour.

So, if you are in London with your family, book a long stay Serviced Apartments Central London and experience the colorful ceremonial event.