Changing The Life Guard Ceremony

The Queen's Life Guard change daily on Horse Guards Parade at 11:00 weekdays and 10:00 on Sundays
Always check the confirmed dates as State Occasions or other ceremonial duties sometimes lead to changes in the schedule.

The Old Guard forms up on the North side of the enclosure in Horse Guards.

When the New Guard arrives the trumpeters of both the Old and New Guard sound a Royal Salute.

When both Guards have formed up in the enclosure, the Corporal Major, and the sentries of the first relief of the New Guard leave for the Guard Room.

The sentries of the Old Guard, after being relieved, rejoin the remainder of the Old Guard on the north side of the enclosure.

When the Old Guard departs the trumpeters again sound a Royal Salute. 

The New Guard then ride through the arch where they will dismount and the horses led to their stables.

Note: The Standard and trumpeters only parade with a Long Guard.

Long Guard

'Long Guard' is mounted when the Queen is in residence, at Buckingham Palace, the Long Guard is made up of an Officer, a Corporal Major,who carries the Standard, two Non-Commissioned Officers, a Trumpeter and ten Troopers.

Short Guard

'Short Guard' is mounted when the Queen is not in residence at Buckingham Palace the Short Guard is made up of two Non-Commissioned Officers and ten Troopers.

Should The Queen leave London while the Guard is mounted or, having been away, return to Buckingham Palace, the Guard is 'made up' or "masde down" to suit.

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The 4 'O' Clock Parade

The Four 'O' Clock Parade, also known as the Dismount Parade or Punishment Parade, takes place daily in the courtyard of Horse Guards.

The Life Guards Duties

The Life Guards are under orders to bar the entrance of all carriages and cars through the Arch of Horse Guards, unless the traveler is in possession of, and be able to produce, an Ivory Pass, only the Royal Family is exempt from this rule.

Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards Parade, is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London.

As well as being the venue for changing The Queen's Life Guard it is also the location for Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the Queen's Birthday, and Beating Retreat.

Getting To Horse Guards

Address: Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX

By Underground - The nearest tube stations are:

  • Charing Cross - About 6 minutes walk. Bakerloo, & Northern line
  • Embankment - 10 minutes walk Bakerloo, Northern, District & Circle line

By Train - Nearest, mainline, train station:

  • Charing Cross - About 6 minutes walk

By Bus - Bus Numbers: 11, 12, 159, 24, 3, 453, 53, 87, 88, N109, N11, N136, N155, N2, N3, N381, N44, N87

By Car - Not recommended, Whitehall is in the congestion charge zone. Parking is difficult to find and expensive.


Getting Around London

The Visitor Oyster Card is the cheapest and most flexible way to travel around London.

Valid on London Underground, buses, trams and the Dockland Light Railway (DLR).

  • Cheap - A single tube journey will cost £4.30 with cash but a maximum of £2.00 with an Oyster card
  • Smart - You will never be charged more than a price of a London Travel card
  • Easy - Your card is reusable and the credit never expires
  • Save - Discounts at top restaurants, shops and venues across London simply by showing your card
  • Use your Visitor Oyster to get from Heathrow and Gatwick Airports to London and back


The London Travelcard gives you access to unlimited travel on London Underground trains, buses, Docklands Light Railway, trams and overland trains within London.

  • Cheap: with one ticket you get unlimited travel, [ within the zones your Travel card covers], working out much cheaper than buying single tickets
  • Easy: one ticket for one day or one week!

The Household Cavalry Museum

The Household Cavalry Museum, is a living museum in the heart of London, which provides an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the work of the Queen's horse guards and see the men preparing the horses to go duty. Learn more about the Household Cavalry Museum

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