Top 5 Changing of the Guard Tours in London – 2024

Pomp, ceremony, marching – this is the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and it’s a real spectacle to watch! Best of all it happens regularly (every day in June and July) and in full view of tourists! It doesn’t happen behind closed doors – we can see it all – and it’s glorious!

I was just a small girl the first time I saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and I remember how fantastic it was! I’ve always been put off by the crowds as an adult, but taking a tour really helps with that as they bring you to the best spots to see which often don’t have as many crowds.

We’ve recently just taken one of these tours and really enjoyed it – it’s a great idea if you’re new to London or have limited time!

Read on to discover some Changing of the Guard Tours that you can take that will help to make your experience of the guard change at Buckingham Palace in London the best it can be! It’s definitely a bucket list Royal thing to do in London!

My top choiceBest of Royal London walking tour

A full day tour in London which starts with an early access tour of the Tower of London, a river cruise and then on to seeing the Changing of the Guard! You tick so many bucket list experiences off with this one!

Check rates and availability here

View from a Changing of the Guard tour in London - parade of guards departing from St James's Palace
Our view from the Changing of the Guard tour we took in London

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A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m a London travel expert – after being so many times over the years I keep returning! Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about your next trip and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Do you need to do a tour to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace?

No, it’s absolutely not necessary – the changing of the guard is free for everyone to watch. BUT, knowing where to stand for the best views and getting loads of information, history and knowledge imparted on you is priceless and this is where a tour comes in.

If you do it by yourself there’s a risk you could get stuck not seeing very much due to crowds and really wasting a lot of time getting a good position – if you only have one chance to see it on your vacation it’s definitely a good idea to grab a tour. Some are very inexpensive and don’t take up much of your day!

Do be aware that most tours WILL NOT take you up to Buckingham Palace itself to see it happen as that would require lots of waiting and huge crowds – you’ll see it happen from other places.

Note – the Changing of the Guard doesn’t happen every day, even though these tours may run every day. Check what you see if you book on a day it’s not happening – sometimes you’ll watch the changing of the Horse Guards instead.

Our experience – in September 2023 we decided to take a tour to see the changing of the guard since my daughter hadn’t actually seen it happen. We just did the smaller walking tour (number 2 below).

We really enjoyed it and I loved to hear some tidbits and facts about the royal history, the ceremony and London itself. I always learn something new!

We got great views of the guard setting off from St James’s Palace while playing music, we saw the horse guards returning along the Mall, we saw the Buckingham Palace parade from a distance (no crowds where we were – thanks!) and then also did the Horse Guards change as well.

It was an inexpensive tour and I felt we definitely got our money’s worth! Recommended!

Which is the best Changing of the Guard tour in London?

Let’s take a look at 5 very different tours. Some include other sights around London, which is a good use of your time and some are simply just getting you the best out of the Changing of the Guard show!

changing of the guard tours London

1. Best of Royal London walking Tour

Rated 4.5 out 5.0 – run by City Wonders UK

This tour is my top pick because it also includes another really amazing Royal London site – the Tower of London. And you get to visit super early before the crowds. Considering what’s included it’s a really good value tour.

You start at the Tower, learning about the crown jewels and ravens, before heading on the Thames on a river cruise.

You’ll see some of the major sights at Westminster before heading to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard (or Horse Guards) where your guide will help you get the best spots to view it.

💂‍♀️ 4 hours tour
💂‍♀️ VIP early access to the Tower of London
💂‍♀️ River Thames Boat Trip
💂‍♀️ Changing of the Guard Ceremony

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Yeoman Warders always come through.

As always the Yeoman Warder was funny, engaging and knowledgable at the Tower. The tour (and Nathan) had it all perfectly timed to see the best parts of the Changing of the Guard. I wish we had had a little more time at Tower of London but I fully understand how the timing had to go.

Kristina_H – see more reviews here
Guards changing outside St Jamess Palace London

2. Westminster & Changing of the Guard

Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 – Run by Secret Chambers Tours Ltd

Personal recommendation: This is the tour that we chose recently on our trip to London – we very much enjoyed it and the guide was friendly and knowledgable about so much.

If you only have an hour or two to spare then a short tour like this one is a great idea. It concentrates on the Changing of the Guard but also takes in a little bit more as you’ll walk around more of Westminster too and end up at the Horse Guard Parade.

Changing of the Horse Guards in London
Excellent views of the Horse Guard Parade change at the end of this tour

You’re not going to just show up and hope to see something amazing, the guide will show you the best spots to catch all the details of the changing of the guard while explaining what’s happening and the history.

💂‍♀️ 2 hours tour
💂‍♀️ Watch the Changing of the Guard
💂‍♀️ Explore Westminster including Parliament Square, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
💂‍♀️ Get expert historic and political commentary through the tour

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I highly recommend! Alan is an incredible guide, caring and funny with the whole group. His British accent is very pleasant and easily understandable. We were in the front row at every stage, almost able to touch the guards. Thanks to Alan for this moment which will remain engraved for a long time 🙂

Léa – see more reviews here
Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

3. Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

Rated 4.3 out 5.0 – Run by City Wonders Ltd Uk

This tour is another typical short walking tour that takes in just the Changing of the Guard – it’s perfect if you don’t want to be constrained in your day and you have other plans for the rest of it!

Your guide will show you the best spots to watch the tour – not just standing in one place but taking you to different spots.

If the Changing of the Guards outside Buckingham Palace isn’t on you’ll watch the changing of the Household Cavalry at Horse Guards.

💂‍♀️ 1.5 hours tour
💂‍♀️ Learn history of the ceremony
💂‍♀️ Find the best spots to watch
💂‍♀️ An inexpensive walking tour

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Louise was delightful! My friend thought it silly to have a guide to watch the guard march past, BUT she told us history and stories, knew the best spots, and we even waved to the King as he passed just a few feet in front of us! (my friend will never doubt me again!)

Kelly – see more reviews here
Harrods Store in London at night and lit up

4.Best of London Tour with Cream tea at Harrods or London Eye trip

Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 – Run by Premium Tours

If you’re looking to explore more of London with your day and make the most of having a guide then this Best of London tour has quite a lot of different experiences that you can explore.

You start your day at St Paul’s Cathedral and then head to Westminster to see the Abbey and then on up tp the palace to the Changing of the Guard ceremony. After that it’s the Tower of London and then and Thames cruise. You can also upgrade your day to either have cream tea at Harrods or do the London Eye trip.

This is good if you’re wanting to pack a lot into your day in London while also having the knowledge of your guides to help you enjoy all there is to see at the changing of the guard ceremony.

💂‍♀️ Tour of St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower of London
💂‍♀️ Bus transportation
💂‍♀️ River cruise
💂‍♀️ Optional upgrade of Harrods cream tea or the London Eye

5. 3 hour walking tour with Changing of the Guards, River Cruise & Tower of London

Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 – Run by London Top Sights Tours

This is a nice, middle of the road, tour that doesn’t take up all day but allows you to do the Changing of the Guard walking tour and adds in a few more must see London Landmarks too. It lasts around 3 hours.

You start your day at Green Park where you’ll then walk to the Palace to see the Changing of the Guards ceremony. After this you’ll spend some time on a walking tour of some of the best sights to see in Westminster as well as learning about the history of the area.

The River cruise on the Thames will then take you to the Tower of London where you’ll be guided round by the legendary Beefeaters and see the Crown Jewels!

💂‍♀️ Start your day by watching the Changing of the Guard
💂‍♀️ Walking Tour of Westminster
💂‍♀️ River cruise & Tower of London

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🇬🇧💂‍♀️ London Travel FAQ 💂‍♀️🇬🇧

Do I need insurance for traveling to London?

YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!

Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.

Do I need a car for visiting London?

NO – If you’re just visiting London then a car is not recommended and can be more of a hindrance than a help.

If you plan to explore more of the UK then I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices

How to book accommodation in London?

For hotels I recommend Booking.com

For apartments and cottages check out VRBO

Will my phone work in London?

Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.

If you need a SIM for use in the UK I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.

What’s the best guidebook for London?

I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks

Where to get flights for London

Expedia is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to London.

Do I need a visa for London?

Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting England as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.

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Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty Bartholomew is a travel expert and has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for over 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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