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Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom, SW1A 1AA. Tel : +44 (0) 20 77667300

The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt of The Buckingham Palace and had been going on since 1660. During this sight, the new guards come from the Wellington Barracks and are accompanied by a band. The parade is a very famous attraction and its proper name is said to be Guard Mounting.

The parade takes about 45 minutes and only takes place when the weather is fine. There will be no parade during wet weather. It is worth noting that you could also visit the palace and galleries. The Queens Gallery is an area solely made for the purpose of holding exhibitions. From time to time items from the royal collection are displayed here.


We recommend you get there early to enjoy a good location. You do not have to stand in front of Buckingham Palace to enjoy the ceremony.


The Changing of the Queens Life Guards (Mounted on Horses) continues to take place daily at Horseguards, at 11.00am Mondays to Saturdays and 10.00am on Sundays.

There are also excellent photo opportunities at St James' Palace and Wellington Barracks.

After the Parade or, if it is raining and the Parade does not take place, a visit to the Guards Museum is well worthwhile. You will find it in Birdcage walk on the way to the Cabinet War Rooms, Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament.

Other Ceremonial Events

11.00am Changing the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade

The mounted Regiments change The Queen’s Life Guard at the entrance to Horse Guards, daily at 11.00am (10.00am on Sundays only). There are two types of Queen’s Life Guard. A Long Guard consisting of 17 men is mounted when The Queen is resident in London, otherwise a Short Guard made up of 12 men is mounted.

11.00am The Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle Very similar to The Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Battalion of Foot Guards stationed at Windsor provide the daily Guard.

4.00pm The 4 o’clock Parade Horse Guards is the official entrance to Buckingham Palace, therefore The Queen’s Life Guard is mounted here and is inspected daily at 4 o’clock.

10.00pm The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London

For over 700 years, the Tower has been locked every night and no one allowed in or out without the password. Today this ceremony still takes place at 7 minutes to ten each night, when the Chief Yeoman Warder, escorted by the military Guard, marches from the Byward Tower to lock the heavy wooden gates to the fortress.

Beating Retreat

The Household Division Massed Bands undertake Beating Retreat usually in May. There are only 2 performances that take place at 6.30pm on Horse Guards Parade.

Trooping the Colour or the Queen’s Birthday Parade.

On the Sovereign’s official birthday (June 12th each year) the Horse Guards Parade turns into one of the greatest spectacles in the British Calendar of events, there are usually two 'rehearsals' and the official event, all are worth seeing:

Major General's Review Telephone +44 (0)20 7414 2479 (Usually late May)

Colonel's Review Telephone +44 (0)20 7414 2479 (Usually one week before the Queens Birthday Parade)

June 12th Queen's Birthday Parade

The State Opening of Parliament

Her Majesty The Queen opens the start of the parliamentary year.

The Lords Mayor’s procession

A very colourful and musical spectacle, comprising of floats, bands and ceremonial parades.