Visiting Changing the Guard With Children

Welsh Guards Band at Buckingham Palace

Standing in the huge crowds in front of Buckingham Palace can make a visit to the Changing of the Guard ceremony a daunting experience for younger children.

However, kids can still see the Guards, hear the Bands play and avoid most of the crowds by following this suggestion.

Make your way to Wellington Barracks, at the Buckingham Palace end of Birdcage Walk, for about 10:45.

IMPORTANT: From the 16th January 2017 for a trail period of 3 months Changing the Guard will take place at 11:00 hours.
This means all times on this page have to be advanced by 30 minutes. i.e. be at the end of Birdcage Walk for 10:15 not 10:45

There you will see the New Guard being inspected, and then while they are waiting for their Regimental Colours the Band play a selection of music.

At 11:27 the New Guard led by a Regimental Band will march out of Wellington Barracks, and turn left for Buckingham Palace.

You can then follow them to the Palace, but to be fair it is difficult to see the troops, inside the railings surrounding the Palace forecourt, and not much happens for the next 30 minutes.

Personally, with children, I would skip the Palace and head across St James’s Park, over the bridge, where you will find toilets and a refreshment kiosk, and plan to be on The Mall, at the junction with Marlborough Road, for 11:55.

First the St James's Palace relief, will march up the Mall towards you, on their way to relieve the sentries who have been standing Guard during the ceremony

Then at 12:15 the St James's Palace Detachment of the New Guard, led by a Regimental Band, will come marching straight down The Mall towards you.

A Second Option

Another option, especially for children who love horses, is to head for Horse Guards Parade where the Queen's Life Guard change, at 11:00 Monday - Saturday and at 10:00 on a Sunday, where there are smaller crowds and no railings between visitors and the men and horses taking part in the ceremony.

Combine this with a visit to the Household Cavalry Museum where kids big and small can dress up in the uniform of a Life Guard or Blues and Royals trooper, as well as see the horses being worked on in their stables, through a glass partition, and you might just have found someone's ideal day out.

Getting to Wellington Barracks

Nearest Tube Station: St James's Park - District and Circle Line

Directions St James's Park Station to Wellington Barracks:

  • Leave the station by the Broadway exit
  • Cross Broadway and turn right onto Queen Anne's Gate
  • Turn left onto Birdcage Walk
  • Walk along Birdcage Walk to the gates of Wellington Barracks

Total distance: 0.3mile. Walking time: 6 - 8 minutes (approximately)

Wellington Barracks to The Mall, (Junction with Marlborough Road

  • Cross Birdcage Walk and enter St James's Park
  • Walk diagonally across the Park to the footbridge over the lake
  • Cross the footbridge, (good spot to get pictures of Buckingham Palace)
  • Follow the path, straight ahead, from the footbridge to The Mall

Route Map

Click the map for pictures of what you will see.

  • Visiting With Children
  • Visiting With Children
    Suggested route for younger visitors to see the Guards and Bands while avoiding the huge crowds outside Buckingham Palace
  • Irish Guards Band
    The Band form a semi-circle and play a selection of music while waiting for the Colours of the New Guard.
    Picture by: David M Whitecross
  • Grenadier-Guards-Wellington-Barracks
    Colours of the Grenadier Guards are escorted to the New Guard
  • Irish Guards Band
    Band of the Irish Guards lead the New Guard out of Wellington Barracks onto Birdcage Walk
    Picture by: Fun London Tours
  • Coldstream Guards Corps of Drums
    Coldstream Guards Corps of Drums marching down The Mall.
    Picture by: Philip Bisset
  • The Life Guards
    The Life Guards, on Horse Guards Parade to change The Queen's Life Guard
    Picture by: Philip Bisset

Need More Information?

Should you need more information about visiting the Changing of the Guard ceremony with children please don't hesitate to get in touch.