Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard: Our most recommended tours and activities

London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

1. London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

Join a local guide as you are served a slice of world-famous ceremonial action with a private or shared group tour Changing of the Guards experience. There is so much more to this extravagant shift change than meets the eye. With your guide to lead the way, you’ll soon know your Welsh from your Grenadier guard, and understand what the deal is with those fuzzy bearskin hats. Hear the astounding origins of this dazzling spectacle and get a handle on the significance of every color, button, mascot, symbol, and movement in this most British of traditions. From the best possible viewing point, your small group will join the guards on their journey toward Buckingham Palace as you march to the beat of their drums. Get as close as possible with the opportunity to take some amazing snapshots.

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 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 Open-Top Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

3. London: Big Bus Open-Top Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

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. Choose from a 24-hour (Classic), 48-hour (Premium), or 72-hour (Deluxe) ticket where you will have the flexibility to explore at your leisure. You can also explore London on foot with a live guide with a choice of 3 daily walking tours (included in Premium & Deluxe tickets). Walking Tours last about 1.5-2 hours. 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, regenerated area of St Pancras and King’s Cross with the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden making its way through Bloomsbury en route. River Cruise Classic, Premium & Deluxe tickets includes a river cruise from 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. Panoramic Evening Tour The panoramic evening tour is included in the Premium & Deluxe ticket. Discover the magic of London as the city becomes illuminated in the evening. Hop on for a one-round panoramic tour past London's top landmarks as the sun begins to set.

London: London Eye, Big Bus and Thames River Cruise

4. London: London Eye, Big Bus and Thames River Cruise

Discover the best of London with a hop-on, hop-off tour onboard 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 use, with stops strategically placed at all the places you would like to visit 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. From the top, you can 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. You can 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. A Classic ticket includes a single river cruise from 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 and Notting Hill.

London: Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour

5. London: Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour

Explore the state rooms of Buckingham Palace and see the Changing of the Guard. Gain a deeper understanding of royal protocol from your tour guide and enjoy audio commentary inside the palace. Watch the Changing of the Guards in the company of a guide, who will explain the history and meaning behind the ceremony. See up-close the precision of the Queen’s Foot Guards as they march to the sounds of a military band. Marvel at the mounted Household Cavalry, resplendent on horseback as they change at Horse Guards Parade. If you book your tour on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, you’ll get to experience the change of the Household Cavalry. Step inside Buckingham palace and admire the lavish apartments and sparkling chandeliers. View some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including exquisite Sèvres porcelain and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. While inside, enjoy commentary from the official audio guide and learn the history behind the sumptuous furnishings and family history.

British Royalty: Changing of The Guard Walking Tour

6. 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.

London: The Changing of the Guard Experience

7. London: The Changing of the Guard Experience

The changing of the guards is definitely something that should be experienced when visiting London. On this tour, your guide will explain to you how the changing of the guard, also known as "Guard Mounting", has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. You will see how the soldiers in place are “relieved” of their position in a very particular way, while accompanied by a military fanfare. The soldiers have protected the King or Queen of England since the reign of Henry VII, who established the Royal Body Guard as a permanent institution. The tradition has since continued for more than 500 years. All of the guards are dressed in a traditional red tunic partnered with an easily recognizable bearskin helmet. The music that accompanies the changing of the guard can be either military or more contemporary, an attraction that is not to be missed.

London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

8. London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

Find the prime vantage points that most people miss and see this time-honored tradition from outside Buckingham Palace. Follow your guide on a dynamic journey that will take you through each stage of the entire Changing of the Guard ceremony from beginning to end. Navigate the crowds easily and quickly. Let your guide take you to the best spots with unobstructed views for taking photos of the palace, gardens, and parade grounds. Marvel at the precision with which the Queen’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. As you watch, hear about the history of this fascinating ceremony and gain invaluable insight into every detail of this British spectacle.

London: Westminster Tour, River Cruise, and Tower of London

9. London: Westminster Tour, River Cruise, and Tower of London

From the meeting point, start the 3-hour walking tour by heading through Green Park to Buckingham Palace, admiring the well-manicured trees and flowers along the way. At the palace, watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony.   Afterward, see 17 other iconic London sights such as Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, Parliament Square, and the Houses of Parliament. After the walking tour, take to the River Thames for a sightseeing cruise where you will get to see many other iconic buildings and sights. Disembark at Tower Pier and head to the Tower of London for the exciting Beefeater tour. Walk around the Tower of London, discovering the history, stories, and ghosts that lie within. Marvel at the Crown Jewels and other fascinating historical artifacts including the suits of armor worn by former kings of England. See the cells where prisoners were once kept and journey back in time for an exciting trip into Britain’s past.

London: Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

10. 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. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Changing of the Guard

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What people are saying about Changing of the Guard

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 4,215 reviews

Although we had the chance of a rainy day and consequently the change of guards was on the quick/short version, the guide was an excellent narrator, full of informative and fun stories which made a great experience. I recommend this tour!

Allan was an amazing tour guide. Very engaging and energetic. Truly cared about his group and sharing his knowledge. Thank you for making the trip that much better.

Really good guide (Mick) made it very interesting without over doing it. Saw all that was promised plus the (King)!!!! Very enjoyable couple of hours.

This was just perfect for my husband and me, and my two kids (7 and 11 years-old). We all enjoyed the tour a lot!

Jason was a very good knowledgeable guide. No complaints at all. We had a great day. Thank you all