As part of our series of things to do in London with a toddler, we took Lady P to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
One thing that people who are not quite so familiar with London think is that it’s a huge place.
They take one look at the tube map and try to navigate their way around to the various places they want to see, working out which line or stop they need to get on and off at.
What they don’t always realise though, and especially with really central locations, is that a lot of things are actually pretty close together and using the Underground is not always the best way to get about (especially with a buggy).
In fact, when I first moved to London I remember a time I headed underground to go somewhere, trundling up and down steps, along crammed pathways and on and off tubes, only to realise that I could have just walked there in half of the time (and without encountering the sweaty arm pit of an Italian tourist*).
*Other nationalities are available.
What is the Changing of the Guard?
In brief, the Changing the Guard is a perfect example of good old British pomp and ceremony at Buckingham Palace. It is basically the traditional way that guards ‘clock off’ their duties of protecting the Sovereign, and dates back to 1660.
So that’s why their outfits look a bit silly.
During the 45 mins ceremony, one regiment takes over from another and usually takes place daily at 11.30am during April-July, and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.
This activity in itself is not one that you’d plan for a whole day out, but it is something that you can plan in whilst on a bit of a tour of other tourist attractions whilst in the capital, and well worth a visit if you’re close by.
The low down:
- Website: Royal Collection website
- Prices: Free
- Location: Very central – Buckingham Palace
- Only lasts for 45 mins and is walking distance to other attractions
- Best way to get there: On foot