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Guard Changing at Tower

We are signed up for a 'Best of London' tour in October. Our son was in London last year and relates that the guard changing ceremony at the Tower involves standing over two hours ( I have ankle issues from an injury last year) and there are no restroom facilities nearby. Is it possible to simply skip this activity and rejoin the group later in that day?

Also do your buses for the tour have restrooms? Hate to ask but when you're older, it's nice to know.

Posted by
1063 posts

Do they have a changing of the guard at the Tower of London?? I've only heard about the ones at Buck House and Horse Guards, are you sure you don't mean the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower?
BTW restrooms (US), translates to toilet (UK).

Posted by
23 posts

Yes it's the ceremony of the keys at the tower. I'll have to ask my son if that's the same one he went to last year, it may have been Buckingham,. He's 21 and even he got fatigued standing through that. The tower ceremony may be shorter, I'd hate to have to miss that tour!

Yeah I know Restrooms are not the term used. I could have said 'Loo'. :)

Posted by
11286 posts

If you're talking about a Rick Steves tour, multiple posts indicate that you can skip out on any activity, as long as you notify the tour leader and your buddy beforehand (so no one thinks you're missing), and figure out when and where you will rejoin the tour group.

Posted by
9682 posts

I have not done this tour but it looks like you see the Opening Ceremony at the Tower of London NOT the Changing of the Guard. TBH there is no way a RS tour would stand around for 2 hours waiting for something. You are on the go!!

With this tour you will not have a coach for touring. There is mention of a city tour by bus which would just be a couple of hours at most, likely no more than 1-1.5 hours. Doubt this sightseeing bus would have a bathroom. Otherwise you will learn to get around the city using public transportation and will have transport passes provided for the tour.

This is a great way to learn a city!!

Posted by
638 posts

The Ceremony of the Keys takes place late in the evening. It's the ceremonial nightly closure of the Tower.

Posted by
20 posts

OP- was your son in London on this exact RS tour?
The tour itinerary only list the opening ceremony for the Tower- much shorter. The Ceremony of the Keys is a night event that you would have to prebook EARLY in advance on your own ( much easier now then when I did it years ago).

Note that as in a post above- no tour bus except for a city review tour and there would be no bathroom- even if the bus had one it would be locked. If you dig through the forum posts you will see that even on the long RS bus tours use of the on board toilet is for emergency use only as the bus makes lots of “rest” stops. The bus apparently is only cleaned (by the driver) at the end of the tour (an unpleasant task) smells would gather long before then.

Sid

Posted by
1063 posts

"I have not done this tour but it looks like you see the Opening Ceremony at the Tower of London NOT the Changing of the Guard."

Ceremony of the Keys is performed in the evening, it's the official locking up of the Tower.

Posted by
9682 posts

Yes, I am familiar with the Closing Ceremony.

I did not know there was an Opening Ceremony, yet that is what is specifically listed in the tour information on the website.

London neighborhood walk and Tube orientation • Visitor Oyster Card for Underground (Tube) and bus transportation • London panoramic bus tour • Westminster Abbey • Whitehall walking tour • Afternoon tea • British Museum • Opening ceremony at the Tower of London • Tower of London "Beefeater" tour • "City" walking tour • St. Paul's Cathedral • East London food tour • Churchill War Rooms • Windsor day trip • Windsor Castle • Globe Theater • Borough Market • South Bank walk…and more

Posted by
23 posts

OK my fears were overblown on both issues. I think it was the Buckingham Palace ceremony my son attended. This was not on a RS tour. We can discuss any worries about this when we get there with our guide. The 'frequent stops' sound hopeful as well.

Quite a load off my mind. Thanks to all.