At 10.45 am starts on the parade ground of Wellington Barracks the formation of the new guard and the inspection of the Guardsmen.
This was done by a little man; as he wore a normal cap, not a bearskin cap, he looked smaller than the Irish Guards. He was dressed with a dark blue coat, had a sword and spurs at his boots. So that he looked quite different from any guardsmen on the parade ground but he clearly was the chief inspector of all the parade.
During more than half an hour he inspected each button on the scarlet tunics, checked if the white belts were fitted tightly, if the shoes were clean, the correct position of the riffle at the shoulder. He inspected all ranks: guardsmen, sergeants and even the two officers. A sergeant major was following him writing his remarks on a notebook!
Among the tourists standing behind the railing of Wellington barracks a number has been in the army like me; we all had the same thought, how could he find defects on Guardsmen who are an example of military perfection?
At the end of the parade I asked a guardsman at the entry of the barracks who was that man. I was answered the "adjutant" what surprised me because this rank, highest of NCOs, is used in France or Belgium but not to my knowledge in the UK where the equivalent is "Warrant Officer". So I will have to return to learn who was that perfectionist inspecting the mounting Irish Guards.
After some search on the web I found that Guards Battalions have officers called "adjutants". The one which intrigued me was a Captain, Adjutant 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
There is also a Colonel, Regimental Adjutant and, last but not least, Prince William is the Irish Guards' first royal colonel (since Feb. 2011) and its Colonel-in-Chief is the Queen.
Having seen a few palaces around the world, including the Presidential Palace in New delhi, I found the Bukhingham palace to be quite ordinary at first sight .Besides being the official London residence of The Queen, Buckingham Palace is also the busy administrative headquarters of the monarchy and has probably the most famous and easily recognisable façade of any building in the world.
The Palace is a working building and the centrepiece of Britain's constitutional monarchy. It houses the offices of those who support the day-to-day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and their immediate family. The Palace is also the venue for great Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures, all of which are organised by the Royal Household.
Although Buckingham Palace is furnished and decorated with priceless works of art that form part of the Royal collection, one of the major art collections in the world today, it is not an art gallery and nor is it a museum. Its State Rooms form the nucleus of the working Palace and are used regularly by The Queen and members of the Royal family for official and State entertaining. Buckingham Palace is one of the world's most familiar buildings and more than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the Royal Garden Parties.
Visitors are allowed access by and organised tour to some areas of the Palace
During the summer, the Changing of the Guard takes place at the front of the Palace and is a popular event for visitors to the capital from 1st April to Early July and on alternate days at other times.
When I arrived in London, the media were reporting the dead of 15 British soldiers in one week in Afghanistan mainly by roadside bombs.
The political row was strong: not enough troops on the ground, critical shortage of helicopters and armoured vehicles not resisting the IEDs.
The public at the change of guard is not always aware that the soldiers parading with great skill are also often on operations abroad. In that week the Welsh Guards had lost in Afghanistan their colonel and a guardsman killed in the explosion of their armoured vehicle.
At Buckingham the parade went on as usual.
Every tourist to London will probably see Buckingham Palace at some point, whether just to get a glimpse of the exterior, watch the changing of the guard or visit the state rooms inside the Palace. John Nash converted the original Buckingham House into a palace for George IV but he died before work was complete so Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live at the Palace. The Palace is currently home to Queen Elizabeth II and her family.
During the summer months when the Queen is hanging out in Scotland, it is possible to visit the state rooms at Buckingham Palace. I debated over whether I wanted to go see them or not as the price was a bit high, L12.95, if booked in advance online it was L13.95. But I did and I'm glad I decided to.
Buckingham Palace is a functioning Palace, events are still held here-state dinners, knighting ceremonies, etc. and the tour takes you through some of those rooms. The tour is by timed ticket, after you pick up your tickets at the ticket booth in Hyde Park, you queue up on the left side of the Palace as you are facing it. Once inside, they give you an audio guide so you can travel at your own pace through the Palace.
The interior is really quite spectacular, with bold blues and reds, crystal chandeliers, ornate decoration. You see where the Queen holds state dinners for visiting dignataries and the room where she knights folks like Elton John, Ben Kingsley and Paul McCartney. After the tour of the interior, the tour finishes through the "backyard" of the Palace and of course the Royal Giftshop.
It seemed as if people were still able to get tickets if they waited until London to buy them but if you only have a couple of days and time is tight, you may want to reserve in advance. No photos are allowed inside the palace so the only pictures I could get were of the Queen's backyard.
You can see the Change of Guards at Buckingham Palace through the railings, surrounded and pushed by a huge crowd. Not really comfortable!
You can also go on the left of Buckingham Palace to the Wellington Barracks on Birdcage Walk where the New Guard is formed starting at 10.45 am.
On the left side of the parade ground of Wellington Barracks, the new guard, thirty men plus the lance corporals and sergeants, are facing the public standing behind the railing. Not so crowded here. One can see the details and take photos under good conditions.
On the right side stands in circle the band of the Guards with about thirty musicians.
They play during the inspection of the guardsmen.
It is a colourful parade with the scarlet tunics, bearskin caps, the brass of the music instruments and the typical British drill and shouting orders.
The easiest way to recognize the various Guard regiments is by their plume on the bearskin cap (now made of synthetic fiber): white for the Grenadiers, red for the Coldstream, blue for the Irish (Prince William is colonel of the Irish Guards since 10 Feb. 2011), white and green for the Welsh and no plume for the Scots.
The new guard is formed in two sections; the regimental flag is handed to the youngest officer of the Guard.
At 11.30 am the band and the new guard leave the Wellington Barracks by the gate on the right. They march toward Queens Victoria Monument and Buckingham Palace. From here on the crowd is getting quite important.
After the ceremony it is also interesting to stay at the Wellington Barracks to see the "old guard" coming back from the Palace, but I did not stay for this part.
There is no Guard Mounting in very wet weather.
In summer, Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the State Rooms for visitors. I can only highly recommend to anyone who does not live in a country with any kind of monarchy to book this tour. Or who is completely fed up with the addiction to gossip and publicity of a certain late (’97) obviously psychologically disturbed woman and the hideous yellow press which constantly jumped/s on. It will change perceptions, generated by this yellow press! This (being fed up) was the case with me (my mother is addicted to the yellow press) so I was very reluctant to book this tour. But I am so glad I did, that I overcame my prejudices and visit Buckingham Palace to get these droppings, the moster press had placed there, washed out of my brain, so that I could learn to acknowledge what British Monarchy means and how it works. This visit did even more to me - it transformed me into a royalist :-)
A tour through the state appartments (= the rooms which are used for official purposes) with audio guides lasts approx. two hours or more, depending on how much one wants to listen to the additional explanations offered on the audio tape. The tour includes eight rooms and three galleries on two floors and one special exhibition, which changes yearly. Given my former perceptions and the fact that I actually never visited a working palace but only palaces and castles which are no longer in use but are only museums, I was very much impressed. But on the other hand, I don’t know what I had expected. Maybe more glamour? Glamorous the palace is, but in a very much distinctive and, yes, unobtrusively way. There is an incredible harmony in every room and in the sequence of the rooms as well. Partly this is merit of John Nash who had designed the interiors but I am sure that it is also the delicate taste of the ones who live in the palace today, the monarch family and the staff. Everything is very light, bright, thanks to the countless glass ceiling lights. While walking through the strictly determinated path, one can stop wherever one wants. The audio guide has a great many additional explanations about ceiling, doors, friezes, furniture, events. Make sure you stop enough to take in all these magnificent details. And don’t miss the ceilings – they are designed to round up the rooms’ harmony. My favourite room? I think it is the Music Room with a remarkably beautiful ceiling. Don’t miss to look closer at the painting of Queen Alexandra in the White Drawing room: her veil is remarkably painted, it gives the illusion of a feather-light fabric. And don’t miss to look at the paintings in the Picture Gallery: lovers of Venezia La Serenissima will find many Canaletto paintings there. Mid 18th century, George III bought a large number of books and paintings from the British Consul in Venice, among these more than fifty of Canaletto’s paintings.
The theme of the special exhibition in 2008 was the State Banquet. The Ballroom was set for this event and a very interesting set of explanatory behind-the-scenes films can be watched in the next small room, which emphasise the importance and the precision work of the staff to make these banquets successful. It is amazing if one imagines that The Queen gave 97 of these banquets until now (which makes 1,7 per year) and that preparation for one needs approximately 6 months. For more information, the Royal website has a special part with details about State Banquet and explanations by curator Kathryn Jones on youtube. The theme of 2007 was commemoration of the 60th wedding anniversary and from what I have read, 2009 will feature music entertainment.
For more details of the palace interiors, please see a slide show on the Royal Collection website and for more details artwork in the e-gallery (1290 pieces of art).
The duration of the summer opening varies each year. Check the website below for the exact dates. In 2009 it will be August 1 to September 27, daily from 9:45 to 18:00.
Admission is £16,50 per person with reductions for kids, seniors, students and families. An audio guide is included in the fee, available in eight different languages.
An interesting option is the so-called Royal Day Out, which will give access to the State Rooms, The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery. Admission is £29,50 per person (and the aforementioned reductions). This is what I booked. The tickets can be booked online (thank you Sarah for allowing me to use your PC for this) or bought directly at the Palace shop. Note that this shop is NOT at the entrance of Buckingham Palace but opposite of The Royal Mews.
If you book a visit to the State Rooms alone, you have to select a time slot. But if you book Royal Day Out, you have to select the time slot only for the Queen’s Gallery. The staff is very friendly and helpful for decisions of how to visit best. They told me to visit the palace in the afternoon, as it is usually less crowded then. So I went to the mews first, then, following my time slot to visit the Queen’s Gallery and was at Buckingham Palace at approx. 14:30. Note that you have to leave any bigger bags at a checkroom in the Queen’s Gallery; in Buckingham Palace you can drop it at the security and it will be brought to you to the garden (which is where you leave the palace). Security is tight of course (like at airports) and photography inside the palace and the Queen’s Gallery is strictly forbidden.
Buckingham Palace has been the main London home of the Royals since 1837. It was originally built for the Duke of Buckingham. The large statue in front of the palace (outside the gates) is the Queen Victoria Memorial which was built in 1901 and glorifies the achievements of the British Empire.
The outside of the Palace is really unimpressive - not an interesting building at all, although the gold gates were very ornate. Although the Palace is open to the public for a few weeks in the summer, it was not open while we were there. The State Rooms that are open include the Dining Room, Music Room, White Drawing Room, and Throne Room. From the photos I have seen, the inside looks spectacular. I am sure that the inside more accurately reflects the Royal's wealth and lifestyle than the outside and I'm sorry I wasn't able to see that.
We didn’t see the changing of the guard either (I've seen it before), but did see a few of the famous guards in their guardhouses inside the palace gates. The changing of the guards takes place on alternate mornings at 11:30 a.m., and daily in May, June, and July. Get there early for a good viewing spot!!
A visit to Buckingham Palace is a must see when in London!
23 July - 3 October 2011 09:45-18:30 (last admission 15:45)
Admission is by timed ticket with entry every 15 minutes throughout the day. Tickets are valid only on the date and at the entrance time specified on the ticket. Regrettably, late-comers cannot be admitted. A visit lasts between 2 and 2½ hours.
The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace
(includes audio guide)
Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £16.00
Under 17 £10.00
Under 5 Free
Family £46.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
A Royal Day Out
(This ticket gives admission to three sites: The State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace)
(only available23 July - 3 October 2011)
Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £28.25
Under 17 £17.50
Family £81.50 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
Ticket Sales and Information Office:
The Official Residences of The Queen
London SW1A 1AA
Telephone (+44) (0)20 7766 7300
Fax (+44) (0)20 7930 9625
Changing the Guard
Changing the Guard takes place at 11:30 daily from May until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.
Provisional Schedule for 2011 (please note that this schedule is set by the British Army and is subject to change. Please check this site prior to a visit)
March - odd numbered dates (1, 3, 5, etc)
April - even numbered dates (2, 4, 6, etc)
May - daily, except 28 May
June - daily, except 4 June
July - daily
The new guards arrive at the forecourt of the Palace at 11:30 from Wellington Barracks. The journey takes about 5 minutes and the soldiers are accompanied by a band. The ceremony is conducted on the Palace forecourt and takes approximately forty minutes to complete.
The Queen's Guard
The Queen's Guard changes 11:30am in the forecourt at Buckingham Palace. At Windsor Castle the ceremony usually takes place in the Castle's quadrangle at 11:30am. In summer the ceremony takes place every day. In winter it takes place every other day.
Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this update.
Ive been in to see Buckingham Palace twice when its been kindly opened to the public each summer - July to September - and its in the top of my list of favourite castles and palaces. This is the Queens home when shes not at home at Windsor Castle or at Sandringham or Balmoral homes - or wherever else travelling about!
But this place is one of her homes - her Royal Standard flag flies above the palace when she is at home - and in my opinion is beautifully and tastefully decorated - also opulent but tasteful - and as with the Windsor Castle has an excellent art collection which is also well worth seeing.
Each year there is also included a special exhibition with the theme being a significant event or milestone eg a few years back an exhibition on the Queen Mother for her 100th birthday, this years exhibition was in relation to the Queens 60th wedding anniversary.
The exit from the palace is out the back with an opportunity to see some of the Queens 'backyard' - her large lawn (garden tea party spot!) and some of the gardens and then you pretty much end up at the Royal Mews and Palace gift shop to give you the opportunity to spend some more money to commemorate your visit! The range of souvenirs is rather good though with good quality and interesting items for sale - but a bit on the expensive side - things like pens, calendars and teatowels are pretty much standard prices though.
Buckingham Palace - probably one of London's most famous buildings and etched in the collective memory of millions the world over as the scene of "That Kiss" between Charles and Diana on the balcony on 29th July 1981. For more history about the actual building please check the website Buckingham Palace
Despite being a Londoner, I've never seen the Changing of the Guard, and have no great desire to either! But I was in London (as usual) and not too far from the Palace early one evening so thought I would have a wander up the Mall. If do you want to see the Changing of the Guard, this happens at 11.30am.
It was just getting dusk and there were still dozens and dozens of snap-happy tourists around as well as plenty of police on horseback and in cars and motor bikes. The Union Jack was flying so Her Majesty was in residence and I suppose there is always more police presence evident in this area when she is in the capital.
The Queen Victoria Monument is beautifully illuminated in the evening and is situated at the top of the Mall with Green Park on the right where you can take a quiet stroll up to the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly.
Buckingham Palace is not only the official London residence of The Queen, it is houses also the administrative headquarters of the monarchy.
It also is the location where official and great Royal ceremonies are held.
Inside the Palace a huge collection of art is hidden away. Some areas of the Palace are accessible for organized tourist tours.
Opened: daily from 1 August - 28 September, Last Admission: 16:15
And they have their own royal website!
As my works not far from Buckingham Palace if ive done a nightshift or somethings happened like today and i am around after during the day i take the chance to head on up and see the sights along the way on my way up to the British Tourist Office at Regent Street off the Mall.
Its all a lovely walk along with historic buildings, gardens such as the flower beds - and the freqently changing colour and flower scheme in them! - in the roundabout in front of Buck Palace and St James Park and its lake, and in the mornings theres the Queens Guards and Horse Guards that come up and down the mall for the Changing of the Guard and other events.
You can check out what flags are out - whether the Royal Standard is flying or not on top of Buck Palace which indicates whether shes home or not, or like today it was flying on top of Clarence House a few houses along from the Queen, up the Mall, which should mean that Prince Charles is home.
Be around the area by 1030 to see all the lead up to the Changing of the Guard ceremony which is 11am daily in summer and alternate days in winter.
Fronting the outer gates of Buckingham Palace is the majestic QUEEN VICTORIA MONUMENT. Built in 1911, the monument of white marble stands 82 feet high with a wonderful large statue of Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria ( 1819 - 1901 ) became Queen of England at the tender age of 18. She married her cousin Prince Albert and had nine children together - four sons and five daughters.
When Albert died she was devastated as he was the love of her life, her confidante and advisor.
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
Says Alice. (A.A. Milne)
Just as Christopher Robin and Alice did, London tourists go to Buckingham Palace to view the Changing of the Guard.
Ever since William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings, London is the home of monarchy. In London almost everything is Royal; there are royal parks, royal monuments, royal palaces and, of course the Queen's Guard is also royal.
The attraction Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place at 11:30 daily from May to the end of July when the Guard is dressed in their summer coats of bright reds. ( In August on odd days and in September on even days.)
If you are keen for the best views, you should start arriving hours before, and stand as near as you can to the railings at the Victoria Monument. If you do not reach early enough, you will see the changing of the guards only in someones display screen!
And the following 45 minutes music plays, officers bark orders, and the soldiers march back and forth, back and forth and back and forth............
You should take some photos while you're there, if for no other reason than you can say: The Changing of the Guard?? Oh, I have watched that!!
From here you can easily walk to other sights such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (12 minutes), Horse Guards and the Mounted Guards (15 minutes), 10 Downing Street/Prime Ministers residence (15 minutes), Trafalgar Square (20 minutes), Hard Rock Cafe (10 minutes) to name just a few nearby.
The London home of the Royal Family, BUCKINGHAM PALACE was built in the early 1700's. It was renovated by John Nash in the late 18th century and became a grand state palace during Queen Victoria's reign. The Palace is closed to the public, as is the Royal Mews, a working stable that houses the state vehicles.
CLICK TO SEE ENTIRE PHOTO
I'd have to say that Buckingham Palace (formerly known as Buckingham House) is probably the most famous place in London.
But, unless you are someone famous, a hero, or a visiting head of state, you won't see much of the interior of the Palace. It can only be toured from 9:30am-4:30 pm in the months of August & September and then only the State Rooms!
The public entrance to the palace is through the Ambassador's Court.
I was in London in January, so I could only see it from afar. The literature that I read said that the palace has 600 rooms and that it is surrounded by 45 acres of gardens.
For me, the good news was that I was able to see up close the Victoria Monument outside the palace, and what a glorious monument it is!
It's huge, the largest monument dedicated to any king or queen in London. Edward VII planned this memorial for his mother, Queen Victoria. The designer, Edward Webb, used 2300 tons of marble, and the project took five years to complete. How sad that Edward VII did not live to see it completed.
The Victoria Memorial is located at the west end of the Mall.
Note: You are able to see the CHANGING OF THE QUEEN'S GUARD during May through August daily at 11:30 am. During September through April, it happens on alternate days & is subject to change without notice. (0171 930 4832)