Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Anything thoughts on the time to arrive to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace? I see it starts at 1130 so what time should I be at the St James Tube Stop walking down to the Victoria Fountain for the best spot to watch with a shot of getting a good view?

Anyone gone recently?

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

The only place to really have a good view of the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace is right at the iron fence. So in order to be able to get there you would have to be there by 10 or a little after. Having said that, I would suggest you get a train at Paddington Station to Windsor The Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle is much more impressive. The Changing of the Guards at Windsor takes place at 11:00, they come right up the main road in Windsor into the castle. Would you not be disapointed. It is worth the trip, then you could tour the castle.

Posted by Al
Nottingham, UK
658 posts

The Changing of the Guard happens every other day at 11:30 am. Some months it is on the 'odd' days and some months it is the 'even' days. It lasts about 45 minutes.

The best place to be is to get as close to the railings as you can. That way you see all the precision marching and get great photographs. If you can’t get a place at the railings get as high up on the front of the Victoria Memorial as you can.

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

Another hint....since the guard, once it gets inside, is nothing more than a couple of rows of soldiers being examined by their officers, go to the fence at the extreme left or right of the Palace. There are always a couple of soldiers that march right across the front of their comrades, the whole length of the Palace frontage, and they end up right there in front of you before they turn about and head back. When we were there, an entire family turned up to watch their young son/nephew/brother take his turn...it was quite hilarious to hear him cracking jokes under his breath! Makes for great photos of the guardsmen, too.

Posted by Debra
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1001 posts

When I was in London, it was early September, and for me personally, the Changing of the Guard was a waste of time and a letdown (I was with a group trip and had no choice). It was busy and crowded, so we couldn't even see anything anyway. I don't remember if we got there early or not - I suppose that would help. I'd just suggest thinking and making sure you really want to take time away from something else to see this. I remember a lot about my London trip (it was several years ago), but I honestly didn't even remember I saw the changing of the guard til I saw this discussion!

Posted by Christine
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA
12 posts

We were there last summer. Read Rick Steves paragraph and go to the "trainig area". They practice the whole process about an hour ahead, then march over to the palace. Because of the huge crowds, it is unlikely to see much of the one at the palace. But their practice run is great. If you are facing the palace it is on the left.