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Best of London Tour questions

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On day 2 where does the "walking tour" go?

Visiting Buckingham Palace; will we be there to see the changing of the Guard or, since it's October; will we be able to picnic on the grounds?

Posted by
8848 posts

. Our walk will take us past Buckingham Palace — punctuated by the smartly dressed, stony-faced Queen's Guard — and through St. James Park, a favorite for its resident pelicans, on our way to the majestic Westminster Abbey.

My interpretation, is there is no 'stop' at the Palace

Posted by
964 posts

There’s no way you’ll get admission to the grounds of Buckingham Palace except by invitation by Her Majesty herself. You may be thinking of the ‘garden parties’ held in the grounds, but I’m pretty sure they are by invitation only. Others may know differently of course, but in my experience Buckingham Palace is not accessible other than the visits to the state rooms, which possibly won’t be open in October anyway.

As for picnicking anywhere outdoors in London in October, chances are you wouldn’t want to. But with the vagaries of our weather I’d never say never!

That aside, I’m sure you’ll have a great trip, whatever!

Posted by
27 posts

On our Nov 2019 BOL tour, we did not walk by Buckingham Palace, see the changing of the guard, or walk through St. James or Green Parks with the group. Instead, on Day 2, we took the tube from our hotel in Mayfair to Leicester Square and walked through Trafalgar Square then down Whitehall to Westminster. Maybe the walk depends on where the group stays and/or who leads the tour?

Besides that, our guide did a couple of other things a little differently than the written program but that was the main deviation.

Following the Churchill War Rooms, which each person does at his/her own pace with an audio recording, there was time to walk through the parks & to see the palace on our own later that day.

Our group saw a changing of guard/marching band ceremony at Windsor Palace. It seemed like it was good fortune, rather than a planned group event, but that is one of the little surprises that I enjoyed.

It was a terrific tour, overall. Hope you enjoy it!

Posted by
964 posts

Thanks Carol - I stand corrected. It’s quite a narrow window of opportunity that I really didn’t know about. Not a pressing preoccupation in the north at the moment!

Posted by
21312 posts

Check what guidebooks say about the Changing of the Guard. It doesn't sound like a good experience.

Posted by
118 posts

We were able to visit the State Rooms and the Gardens a couple of years ago during August. It’s my understanding that this is now again possible but only while the Queen is summering in Scotland so October will be a no go unfortunately. It’s quite impressive so I hope you get to see it at some point.

Posted by
2047 posts

I have to admit that I was lucky enough once to watch the changing of the guard from inside the gates. With a member of the guards explaining the ceremony to us. I’ll never watch it again because I doubt another visit will measure up after that.

They used to let Girl Scout , Girl Guide and Boy Scout groups in to the Gates for this. You had to make a reservation very far in advance and it was very limited, I’m not even sure they still do that considering the changes to the world since then

Posted by
6472 posts

Ask the tour guide if you can watch the Horse Guards parade instead. Far less crowded.