You are now well settled into your London rental apartment, you have managed to get to grips with the transport system and the English weather. Overall, your move to London has gone well. Now it is time to get out and revel in some of the iconic sights that make Britain ‘Great’. You do not have to be a history buff to marvel at some of the historical treasures that the capital has to offer and you might like to spend some time at one of the most iconic places of all: Buckingham Palace.
This is one of the most photographed places in the world and if you are there at the right time of the day, you will be able to see the ‘Changing of the Guard’. While this is ceremonial in nature, and full of pomp and circumstance as only the British can be. The guards, dressed in scarlet with their bearskin hats are real soldiers, these are not actors hired for the convenience of tourist snapshots. The men who guard the palace are highly trained infantry and cavalry officers who have been tasked with guarding Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Palace, since the reign of King Charles. This historic ceremony is well worth trekking down the Mall to watch. You will be able to get a schedule of the times for the ceremony from most tourist centres in London.
The ceremony begins with the troops from St. James’ Palace marching down the Mall to Buckingham Palace where the detachment from the palace will be waiting for them. These two groups are called the ‘Old Guard’. The two detachments of the Queen’s Guard will be dressed in the Queen’s Colour if her Majesty is in residence or in Regimental Colours otherwise.
The New Guard is always inspected on the parade square at the Wellington Regimental Barracks, while a full band is playing music. When the inspection is finished, the two groups will approach each other in front of Buckingham Palace. The New and Old Guards present arms and the Captain’s of the Guards approach each other for the handing over of both sets of Palace keys.
If you want to you can get a photo of yourself with one of the Palace guards at St. James’ Palace, and the best photographs are when the guards are lined up before the ceremony. This is one of the most iconic sights in England and you would be advised to make a day of it. If you have children, they will love having their photo taken with one of the guards and the traditions and ceremony of London will never fail to leave their mark on you.
Living in London can be such a great experience for you and your family. The opportunity to be exposed to some of the oldest and greatest traditions in the world is not one to be missed. This city is on the cutting edge of technology and modern business, but retains a sense of history and pride that makes London a magnificent city.