Saturday, May 19, 2012

Buckingham Palace Changing Guard Ceremony

The Queen’s Guard 
& Band

What do you do in London if you only have two days ?

Assuming that you are flying over to London from the United States, you'll arrive at London Heathrow Airport around 8 AM.   Gathering your luggage and clearing customs will take some time.  Depending on where you are staying in London, you'll take a cab, train, tube, or prearranged limo to your hotel.   Check-in isn't until 2 or 3 PM, and they really mean that in most cases.  They may take your name, but in all likelihood, they won't have a room cleaned for you yet.

The hotel will check your bags, and off you go to start your London adventure !

Buckingham Palace
If you've never been to London, we'd suggest going to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the
Guard Ceremony.  
We suggest you head their directly from you hotel so that you can find a good vantage point for the ceremony. 

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. 
Changing the Guard or Guard Mounting is the process involving a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard.  Guard Mounting takes place at 11.30 am. It is held daily from May to July, and on alternate dates throughout the rest of the year.  For exact schedule, see the official site of the British Monarchy.  If you've seen the ceremony here before, you can also see it at Windsor Castle.  We'll feature that in another article.

The Guard which mounts at Buckingham Palace is called The Queen’s Guard and are made up of soldiers  drawn from one of the five regiments of Foot Guards in the British Army: the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards.

The handover is accompanied by a Guards band. The music played ranges from traditional military marches to songs from films and musicals and even familiar pop songs. 

When The Queen is in residence, there are four sentries at the front of the building. When she is away there are two.

State Rooms - Summer Opening

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every year. For visitor information, please visit the Royal Collection website.

You could easily spend an entire day at Buckingham Palace, especially if you tour the State Rooms.  If you have limited time, you may want to visit some other London attractions.   We will give you several selections and the fun will be planning your visit in advance.    You may want to have alternatives in mind in case the weather doesn't cooperate.   The ceremony is not held in extreme wet conditions.

How to get there

By train: London Victoria. (National Rail Enquiries Service 08457 484950 (UK)).
By Underground: Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner.
By bus: Numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.
By road: Buckingham Palace is within the London Congestion Charge zone. Please visit for further details.
By coach: Victoria Coach Station is a 10-minute walk from the Palace.

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