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Changing the Guard Ceremony from inside Buckingham Palace?

Changing the Guard Ceremony from inside Buckingham Palace?

Old Aug 6th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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Changing the Guard Ceremony from inside Buckingham Palace?

Hi All - I'll be in London later this month and am planning to tour the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace. My question is whether or not I'll be able to view the Changing the Guard ceremony from inside the palace. Does anybody have any experience with this? I hope it's possible, I think it would be a really cool perspective!

Anyway I've been to London quite a few times but have never toured the palace nor have I watched the Changing the Guard ceremony --- I guess I never really wanted to fight the crowds or whatever for the latter --- but this seems like it might be the perfect opportunity to get the royal perspective on it!

If anybody has experience with this please comment, and thanks for your input Fodorites!
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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All I can tell you is that when we were there, we did the tour during the changing, and the woman at the entrance warned us, "You know, you won't be able to see the changing of the guard." She wanted to make sure we knew that by going into BP during the ceremony, we wouldn't be able to see it.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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"whether or not I'll be able to view the Changing the Guard ceremony from inside the palace"

Absolutely not. Your best option is to book the first tour of the day @ 09:45 and then at the end of the tour when you come out after walking through the gardens, dash around front and into the Spur Road (Just to the right hand side of the palace as you face towards St James's Park). There are usually fewer folks right there (Spur Rd & Birdcage Walk) and they will march out and right past you on as they leave.
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 08:24 AM
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No, the little bit you go round isn't overlooking that area -
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 11:23 AM
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Thanks all for the input! I am going to buy the Buckingham Palace "Royal Day Out" ticket which allows separate entry to the State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen's Gallery so this is good information to have, and I now know that I'll have to pop out of the palace to view the Changing the Guard ceremony if I feel the urge to see it that day. (Also thanks to janisj for the Spur Road suggestion!)

However I might need to visit the mews or gallery first before the ceremony because I don't want to rush the palace part of the tour, since the palace's Garden Cafe sounds lovely on an August afternoon.("Situated on the West Terrace overlooking the Palace's famous lawn and lake, the Garden Café offers a selection of refreshments, including tea, coffee, juice and a choice of cakes and sandwiches.")
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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"I now know that I'll have to pop out of the palace"

Not really possible to "pop out". You must follow the route - no deviations. You can go at your own speed more or less, but you can't skip any rooms or backtrack to the entrance. You enter at the side of the Palace and exit through a different area.

If you don't go on the first (or possibly 2nd) tour of the day you have no chance at all of seeing the Guard Change. And you can't pop out - view the Guards and then re-enter to go to the garden/cafe.

So if you plan on lingering in the gardens you are out of luck. And seeing the Mews/Gallery first won't work either. The gallery opens at 09:30 and the Mews opens at 10:00 -- each of them take at least an hour -- maybe 90 mins for the Gallery.

So -- really the ONLY practical way to see the Changing of the Guard would be to go to the Gallery at opening time - then dash out and hang around until about 12:30 watching the guards - then an afternoon timed ticket for the Palace, late lunch in the cafe, and to the Mews before last entry at 4:15.

But IMO that is too much and you'd have to cut things short - I'd skip the Changing of the Guard if it was me . . . .
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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Thanks janisj! Actually I was thinking I would pop out of the building I was in when I was done but in reviewing what I wrote I see I wrote "palace." (Although that said, I'm not sure yet if the building in question would be the mews, the gallery or the palace itself as I haven't booked my ticket yet.)

But regardless you're right, in going over the logistics and doing further research on what there is to see at each locale, I think I've already got a full day on my hands! I'll probably end up skipping the ceremony as I'm sure I won't want to rush the other stuff. It's nice though to have an idea of what all the options are and what they entail, so your advice has been very helpful!
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Go to Windsor Castle where you can see the Changing of the Guard from inside the castle and have a much smaller crowd.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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"Windsor Castle where you can see the Changing of the Guard from inside the castle"

Just to clarify -- from inside the castle walls -- not from inside the State rooms . . .
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