Changing of the Guard with Kids

Jan 11th, 2001, 09:02 AM
Beverley Sherman
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Changing of the Guard with Kids

What is the best location from which to view changing of guards with kids. I've heard best view is from Birdcage Walk. Please confirm.
Jan 11th, 2001, 09:44 AM
David White
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Thankfully there are more ways to see changing guards than just crowding against the fence at Buckingham Palace. First, you should know that there are two separate guard ceremonies: the palace guard at Buckingham and the mounted guard down the Mall at Whitehall.

Of the two, the mounted horse guards ceremony is a lot more accessible. The site of the ceremony, a large open plaza called Horse Guards Parade, provides room to spread out and get a good view of the event.

Meanwhile, back at Buckingham sure to arrive for the changing of the guard early enough to get a standing spot up front against the Palace fence so your children have a good view. Even then, be prepared for occasional pushing and jostling for position by other tourists. If itís too crowded for your kids to see, climb up the steps of the nearby Queen Victoria Memorial for a better view. Birdcage Walk is closeby, but across a street from the palace.

You can avoid the crush of the Buckingham Palace guard ceremony entirely by walking down the Mall and turning left on Marlborourgh Road. After shift change at Buckingham, the relieved guard troop marches away from the Palace following this route to St. Jamesís Palace. Here you can see the retreat ceremony where the guard retires to its barracks. This is not as elaborate as the changing ceremony at Buckingham Palace, but it is a lot less crowded, you are closer to the action, and thereís no fence to block your view.

If you have other questions about travel to London with kids, you may find my new book to be helpful. It is LET'S TAKE THE KIDS TO LONDON--A FAMILY TRAVEL GUIDE and it is available from online booksellers like Amazon, Borders, etc. or directly from the publisher at:

You can also email specific questions to me at:

[email protected]

Enjoy your trip!

David White
Jan 11th, 2001, 06:24 PM
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From someone who's been there... I don't know where Birdcage Walk is, but pressed against the fence line close to the front of the palace to get a "first row" stand (no chairs, hard to sit down if you want to see anything) gave us a good view, a lot of pushing as the guards paraded in, and an extrmely long wait (you get wedged in and wait a long time if you want to be up front)

Your kids may prefer to sit on the street side so you can see them walk by, and then leave when you want to.... the ceremony was interesting... but may be pretty tiring depending on the age of your kids... the fun part truly is when they march in and out while playing. Ive also heard that the changing on horseback is more summary, you've got to be willing to wait in one spot if you want to be in a good position unless you get lucky at the end.
Jan 12th, 2001, 07:18 AM
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500 yards east of the palace on Birdcage Walk is where I believe you can see the Inspection of the Guard Ceremony at 11:00 in front of the Wellington Barracks. For updated information on changing of the Guard call 0839 1234110
You'll find the Horse Guards on Whitehall on the left, quite near the Banqueting House. Go through the entrance to the parade grounds at the rear. The guards are changed at 11am Mon-Sat and 10am on Sundays. The new guard leaves Hyde Park barracks, about 30-35 minutes before the Changing, rides down Pall Mall, and arrives at the Horse Guards building. You can also see a Changing of the Guard at the Tower of London, in front of the White Tower. There is a Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle as well. My information is that the Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard takes place Monday through Saturday from May to August at 11am; in winter it is every other day Monday through Saturday. To check on the ceremony, call
1753 868 286.
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