With old guards going, new guards coming, a cavalry dropping in now and again, two palaces and three barracks, the decision on the best location and time to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony can be daunting. Fear not my friends! I have compiled a detailed timeline of the ceremony with a map to help you with your trip.
When to watch:
The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every day from April to July and on alternate days from August to March. Check the schedule before your trip because the ceremony can be cancelled due to inclement weather. Current schedule can be found here.
Fuzzy Hats and All, definitions of the troops:
Blues and Royals – One of the two squadrons of the Household Cavalry, formed in 1969 with the merger of the Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Dragoons. Colors are blue and red.
Food Guards – The collective term for all of the foot soldiers of the Household Division, commonly referred to as “The Guards.” Compromised of the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards and the Welsh Guards. These troops are distinguished by the large bearskin hats.
Household Division – The collective term for all of the British Army troops that guard the Queen. Consists of seven Army Regiments: five Foot Guards and two Cavalry Guards (Household Cavalry). They are collectively referred to as the “Household Troops.”
Household Cavalry – The mounted cavalry troops of the Household Division. Officially known as The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. It consists of two regiments, The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals.
Life Guards – One of the two regiments of the Household Cavalry, they are the most senior regiment of the British Army. Colors are red, white, and black.
New Guard – The fresh troops stationed at Wellington Barracks, they march to Buckingham Palace to replace the Old Guard (thus becoming the Queen’s Guard).
Old Guard – The guards currently on duty that are soon to be replaced by the New Guard during the ceremony, also known as the “Queen’s Guard”. There are two detachments, one at St. James Palace and one at Buckingham Palace.
Queen’s Guard – The collective term for all the guards currently on duty protecting the Queen, made up of both Cavalry Regiments (Life Guard) and Foot Guard Regiments.
Queen’s Life Guard – The mounted cavalry troops currently on duty, made up of members of the Household Cavalry (a Squadron of Life Guards and a squadron of Blues and Royals).
Timeline and best locations:
10:28 – The Household Cavalry leaves Hyde Park Barracks (9:28 on Sundays), heading for Horse Guards Parade.
10:45 – The Household Cavalry, coming from Constitution Hill, passes Buckingham Palace and heads up The Mall on the way to the Horse Guards Parade (East end of St. James Park).
11:00 – The Household Cavalry ceremony, called the “Life Guard Ceremony” takes place at Horse Guards Parade (10:00 on Sundays).
11:00 – Old Guard at St. James Palace is inspected, view from Marlborough Road.
11:00 – New Guard, accompanied by the band, forms at Wellington Barracks for inspection. A ceremony ensues as they wait for the Regimental Color (flag) to arrive.
11:13 – Old Guard from St. James Palace (a small contingent is left behind) march to Buckingham Palace, preceded by a band, uncrowded views of procession from The Mall.
11:15 – The Old Guards meet at Buckingham Palace. The Buckingham Palace detachment of the Old Guard forms in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace for inspection and the St. James Palace detachment of the Old Guard arrives.
11:27 – New Guard, preceded by the band, proceed to Buckingham Palace from Wellington Barracks, heading up Birdcage Walk and Spur Road.
11:30 – New Guard arrives. Changing of the Guard ceremony officially begins at Buckingham Palace forecourt. View from palace gates or Victoria Monument. Be here at least an hour early to get a good spot.
11:37 – The Old Guard of The Household Calvary ride past Buckingham Palace, coming from The Mall to Constitution Hill, headed for the Hyde Park Barracks.
11:40 – Relief guards (to relieve the remaining sentries) leaves Buckingham Palace headed to St. James Palace.
11:55 – Sentries (remaining Old Guard troops) from St. James Palace head to Buckingham Palace.
12:10 – Old guard departs from Buckingham Palace headed to Wellington Barracks. View from Spur Road or Birdcage Walk.
12:15 – Queen’s Guard (New Guards) departs Buckingham Palace headed for St. James Palace.
12:15 – Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace retire to the guardroom, End of Ceremony.This entry was posted in All, London, Travel, UK