Changing of the Guard: Our most recommended tours and activities

London: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off, River Cruise and London Eye

1. London: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off, River Cruise and London Eye

Discover the best of London with a hop-on, hop-off tour on board an open-top, double-decker bus and enjoy a trip on the London Eye as part of your ticket. Enjoy a relaxing river cruise along the Thames as part of your ticket as well. A hop-on, hop-off tour is the ideal way to discover the best sights, landmarks, and attractions of London at your own pace. The tour gives you unlimited hop-on hop-off access, with stops strategically placed at top locations including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, and St Paul's Cathedral. Hop off the bus at Westminster Bridge to take an unforgettable ride on the London Eye Ferris Wheel. From the top, you'll take in the breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the city's impressive skyline. See the city's most famous sights including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from an unrivaled bird's eye view. Start your tour at any of the Big Bus stops. Popular starting points include the London Eye, Marble Arch, Victoria Station, and Trafalgar Square. With all ticket types, you can enjoy a boat cruise along the River Thames between the Tower of London to Westminster Pier (in either direction). Big Bus route highlights include: Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard Houses of Parliament Big Ben Westminster Abbey 10 Downing Street Whitehall Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street Regent Street Trafalgar Square London Eye London Dungeon Sea Life London Aquarium Madame Tussauds Covent Garden Bank of England Monument St Pauls Cathedral Tower of London Tower Bridge The Shard City Hall Lambeth Palace British Museum Marble Arch Mayfair Green Park Hyde Park Corner Harrods South Kensington Museums Kensington Palace Notting Hill.

London: Westminster and Changing of the Guard Tour

2. London: Westminster and Changing of the Guard Tour

The Royal Westminster and Changing of the Guard (English) guided walking tour offers you the ability to get up close and personal with London’s most famous and impressive sights. Beginning with Buckingham Palace, the most famous residence of the King, we will explore the iconic buildings, parks and monuments of Royal London.  Witness parades by the world-famous King's Guards before continuing along the corridor of power which includes Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and 10 Downing Street.  You'll be led by an expert in London’s political, royal, and cultural history, who knows the best places to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, allowing you the best views and photo opportunities away from the crowds. Along the way, be entertained and enthralled by your tour guide’s in-depth knowledge, memorable anecdotes, and unique take on London's history, as you discover the Kings, Queens, rogues, and villains behind this incredible city, and witness iconic buildings and mesmerizing parades along the way. Suitable for all ages and encompassing multiple different experiences in a single two-and-a-quarter-hour period, this Westminster and Changing of the Guard Walking Tour is the best way to experience Royal Westminster all in one day. 

London: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour and River Cruise

3. London: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour and River Cruise

Discover what London has to offer on a hop-on hop-off tour of the English capital. Pass iconic landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, London Eye, and Big Ben with audio commentary available on board (earbuds provided). Choose between a 24-hour ticket and a 48-hour ticket and discover London via 3 specially-designed routes covering over 45 stops: Red Route The Red route takes in the best of historic London including Big Ben, the London Eye, and St Paul’s Cathedral. Blue Route The Blue Route is a comprehensive route covering all of central London from Kensington Palace in the West to the Tower of London in the East. Stops include Harrods, the South Kensington Museums, and Madame Tussauds. Green Route The Green Route links the beautiful, revitalized areas of St Pancras and King’s Cross with the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden, making its way through Bloomsbury en route. Thames River Cruise Every ticket includes a 1-way river cruise from the Tower of London to Westminster in either direction. The river cruise includes live commentary in 8 languages. See top London attractions lining the Thames, including Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Shakespeare's Globe, and the Tate Modern. Departure times for the river cruise are approximately every 45 minutes. Guided Walking Tour Discover the heart of London on foot. Our walking tours, led by expert Big Bus tour guides, give you access to areas that you can’t visit by bus. Your guide will reveal historical facts and fascinating stories about famous London buildings and cultural institutions. Choose from one of three tour options. Panoramic Evening Tour Choose the option that includes a Panoramic Evening Tour to discover the magic of London as the city becomes illuminated in the evening. Hop on for a nonstop, panoramic tour of London's top landmarks as the sun begins to set.

London: Experience the Changing of The Guard

4. London: Experience the Changing of The Guard

Join the guards as they march towards Buckingham Palace on a unique guided tour in London. Get closer for fantastic photo opportunities and delve deep into the history behind the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Meet your local guide for your private or small group tour (depending on the option booked) and set off on your unforgettable Changing of the Guard experience. As you follow the guards on their march towards Buckingham Palace, your guide will give meaning to one of the oldest and most iconic British ceremonies. You'll soon know your Welsh from your Grenadier, and become an expert in fuzzy bearskin hats. Trace the origins of this dazzling London spectacle and get a handle on the significance of every color, button, mascot, symbol, and movement in this most British of traditions. Feel the thrill as you march to the beating drums of the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony on this one-of-a-kind experience in London.

London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour Experience

5. London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour Experience

See the Changing of the Guard ceremony or the changing of the Household Cavalry clearly from a crowd-free vantage point during this guided walking tour in London. Experience a quintessential London tradition with a guide leading the way. Don’t make the same mistake that many visitors so often and understandably make, believing the prime vantage point to experience this time-honored tradition is from outside Buckingham Palace. Spectators' enthusiasm quickly turns to disappointment when they realize, after waiting for hours, only to see the end of this unique performance, their view is often blocked by a throng of crowds. Instead, follow your guide on a dynamic journey that will take you through the entire Changing of the Guard from beginning to end. Your guide will navigate the crowds taking you to the best and most photographable viewpoints. With an expert on the history of this ceremony, you'll be given invaluable insight and knowledge into every detail of this British spectacle. Use your own personal headset to easily follow your guide’s commentary and fully take in the splendor parading past you.  If you book your tour on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, you’ll experience the changing of the Household Cavalry. Marvel at the precision that the King’s foot guards march to Buckingham Palace, clad in their iconic red tunics and bearskin hats. Admire the gleaming coats of the Household Cavalry’s horses as they emerge at Horse Guard’s Parade.

London: Top 20 Sights and Westminster Abbey

6. London: Top 20 Sights and Westminster Abbey

Start with a walking tour of the history, culture, and legends of one of Europe’s best-loved cities. Head through Green Park to Buckingham Palace, and watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard ceremony.  Head to Westminster, see Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament. See 20 sights in one day, including:• Buckingham Palace• Trafalgar Square• Changing of the Guard• Big Ben• Downing Street• Westminster Abbey• Whitehall• Houses of Parliament• London Eye Then, head to Westminster Abbey. Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been in Westminster Abbey. There have been 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100.  Henry III rebuilt the abbey in honor of a royal saint, Edward the Confessor, whose relics were placed in a shrine in the sanctuary. Henry III himself was interred nearby, as were many of the Plantagenet kings of England, their wives, and other relatives.  Until the death of George II in 1760, most kings and queens were buried in the abbey.

London: Westminster Abbey & Changing of the Guard Tour

7. London: Westminster Abbey & Changing of the Guard Tour

Get ready to discover the iconic landmarks and historical treasures that make up the heart of London's royal culture. First, explore one of the world’s great churches, the site of royal coronations, and one of the most significant structures in British history in Westminster Abbey. This incredible 700-year-old building is a must-see for any visitor to London. It has welcomed Kings, Queens and statesmen, royal weddings, and state funerals. You will feel like British royalty as you enjoy a tour led by our expert local guide who will shed light on the most important and fascinating aspects of this great monument such as the Coronation Chair, the burial place of 17 British monarchs, and many of Britain’s greatest poets who lie in Poet’s Corner. After your visit to the Abbey, your guide will lead you to the Changing of the Guards. This world-famous ceremony takes place either at Buckingham Palace or at Horse Guards Parade, depending on the day. Your guide will make sure you are in a prime position to enjoy the best views at this crowded event. Enjoy commentary regarding the history and pageantry behind the ceremony. See the Queen’s Foot Guards drenched in their red tunics and unmistakable bearskin hats, march to Buckingham Palace together with the military band or the Household Cavalry. (Please be aware that the guard’s parade will not take place in the event of heavy rain).

London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

8. London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

Meet your guide at Piccadilly Circus and get an introduction to the background of the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Hear what you will be doing for the next 1 hour and 45 minutes. Then proceed as a group toward The Mall. Pass by Pall Mall and Waterloo Place. Here you will learn more about the British Army and its greatest general, the Duke of Wellington. Once on The Mall, see the extraordinary monuments to royals and generals. Get a view of St. James's Park. Admire the most beautiful of the royal parks and look at the majestic open space of Horse Guards Parade. Continue toward St. James's Palace. On the way, you might see the Household Cavalry en route from their barracks in Hyde Park. The main focus, however, will be to watch the foot soldiers emerge from St. James's Palace ready for their uniform inspection. They will then march to Buckingham Palace, sometimes accompanied by a band. If you're lucky, they may even play a song! One of the highlights of your tour will be to march in step with the guards as they leave St. James's Palace. Then watch as the New Guard emerges from Wellington Barracks. He will often be accompanied by a full ceremonial band. Take a photo of Buckingham Palace from a raised platform. The tour ends with a flourish as the band plays in the palace courtyard. Marvel as the cavalry and guardsmen march past. Your guide will then help you get to your next port of call. 

London: Walking Tour with Westminster & Change of the Guard

9. London: Walking Tour with Westminster & Change of the Guard

Do you want to see a tradition practiced for hundreds of years? How about an inside look into the history of the royal crown? There’s tons of history behind England’s famous church, and you’ll hear it all from your storytelling tour guide. And then it’s time to see the Changing of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, one of the most time-honoured traditions of England. Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey was supposedly built on the spot where a vision of St. Peter appeared to a local fisherman in the 10th century. For over a thousand years it has served as a center of political and religious life in England. England’s Kings and Queens were coronated here. And other events happen here too, such as weddings and funerals for some of England’s biggest names. The televised funeral of Princess Diana was broadcasted from Westminster and watched on television by millions. Your tour guide knows plenty about the Princess’s life, a lot of stuff that you probably wouldn’t know!  Guided through this beautiful church, your guide will bring you through the rich history that has passed through this place. Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, and David Livingstone are some of the few famous Englishmen honored with life-like effigies in the Abbey. Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and Geoffrey Chaucer are buried along with many other literary giants in the abbey’s Poet’s Corner.  Changing of the Guard Protecting the Kings and Queens of England since 1660, the Queen's Guard is sourced from seven regiments of the English military and are some of the most elite soldiers in the national service. The Changing of the Guard, a ceremony that goes back centuries, takes place at 10:30 AM every day. There's always a huge crowd to watch the procession, but it actually serves a real purpose. The Old Guard, who has been on duty for the entire morning, must be switched out with the New Guard. You can try to get their attention, but these guards are primarily concerned with the Queen's protection, so they won't react. Your guide will bring you to a much less crowded spot than the public usually congregates, so you can see the whole procession with a view missed by most.  Changing of the Guard Sourced from seven branches of England’s military, the Queen's Guard has conducted their Changing of the Guard ceremony since 1660. They are some of the most elite soldiers in the service and are specifically tasked with the protection of the Royal Monarch. They won’t react to any provocation, no matter how you try to bother them. We’ll be taking you to a spot without all the crowds where you’ll be able to see the Changing of the Guard with a clear view.  Important! Please note that the Changing of the Guard currently occurs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays only. If there is heavy rainfall, the Changing of the Guard will not happen.

British Royalty: Changing of The Guard Walking Tour

10. British Royalty: Changing of The Guard Walking Tour

Once you have met your guide, head through Green Park to Buckingham Palace where you will be able to watch the Changing of the Guard. After watching the Changing of the Guard you will walk down the Mall, the red-colored road that is adorned by two royal parks and palaces. The Mall is the most important road in the UK where national celebrations are held. You will see where Prince Charles lives, Clarence House. Continue on your walking tour exploring the area while listening to your guide talk about the history of the area as well as fun facts along the way.  Learn about the Royal palaces, to the parks, squares, and fountains you will see that are important to the British Monarchy.

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What people are saying about Changing of the Guard

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 5,261 reviews

Incredible! It was completely worth it, a very good and quite impressive experience. The cruise staff were quite friendly and they give you a guided tour. It was good to know from previous reviews that the cruise only covers one leg so we took the cruise to the London Eye and waited for our reservation time right there. Once the London Eye loop was over (amazing btw) we got on the bus around 3pm and used the bus until 5pm when the routes ran out, and still got up early and continued to use the bus the next day. (The bus lasts 24 hours, so we visited several places using the time we had left.) I highly recommend downloading the Big bus app to be able to see the routes and buses in real time. Incredible experience, we were 4 people

Our guide Connor was very friendly and entertaining. We learned a lot. We made sure to pick a day the Changing of the Guard was confirmed to take place on the schedule. Check here - . We got the Scotch Guard so the bagpipes were a' blazing. Got to hear Big Ben toll. Westminster Abbey at the end was amazing and unexpectedly there are a lot of royals buried inside in tombs and under your feet. Overall, it's worth the money.

Our guide, Johnny, was awesome. We were late and told by the company that we would not be able to find him. However, God smiled upon us and we stumbled upon the group. He was great! So knowledgeable and fun!

Nathan was a great guide. I really enjoyed the tour. He provided all sorts of interesting information and made sure we were set up to see a lot of the key things in the ceremony.

Richard was very knowledgeable and informative without overwhelming us with information. We had an amazing viewpoint for many phases of the guard changing. Highly recommend.