Author: Matt Gedge
Post Date: Wednesday 20th February 2013
Going on a Changing the Guard Guided Tour – Welcome to one of the most famous ceremonies in the world. Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is known the world over, and accordingly millions of people flock to the gates of the palace each year for a glimpse of the iconic red tunics and bearskins, and to be uplifted by the marching band.
It is a truly spectacular sight.
As a tour guide, despite the fact I show people this event every week, it remains an absolute joy to behold. My heart still pumps in unison with the steps of the guards, while the fervoured anticipation of the masses of tourists keeps a big smile on my face.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people miss the majority of the ceremony. There are no clear indications of where the guards stand, where they are marching from and to, and why. So what happens is that good photographs are taken by chance; hundreds of people race from one place to another as rumours that the guards are approaching spread through the crowd. Some extremely patient tourists arrive at the front gates an hour early, planting their feet firmly to ensure what they consider will be the best view.
As a consequence, a huge number of people leave the ceremony feeling rather underwhelmed. ‘Was that it?’
I can understand their frustration – standing like sardines in a can for a couple of hours only to find your view blocked by a thousand other people may not seem like your idea of fun.
But that’s entirely why I provide a tour which ensures the tourist sees the highlights of the Guard Change. I explain who the guards are, what they are doing, which buildings they are protecting, and most importantly, give an energetic tour which is just great fun. We don’t stand waiting at Buckingham Palace desperately hoping a guard will walk past. Instead, we march with the band, see the Guard Change in its entirety, leave with an understanding about what just happened, and have an absolutely brilliant time!
So, as far as I’m concerned, this is the only way I would recommend anyone to see the Guard Change, so hopefully I’ll see you on one of my tours!