Visiting The Changing of the Guard?

We’ve always wanted to make this website a useful resource on Jack the Ripper. What we have discovered – and perhaps it should have been obvious! – is that many people who join us for a walking tour around Jack the Ripper’s London also like to do other things in London.

So, from today, in addition to lots of information on the Whitechapel Murders and our Jack the Ripper Tour, we’re going to be making the site a resource on all the great and wonderful things that London has to offer.

Last week I began doing lots of sightseeing tours around London and out to Windsor Castle.  The morning section of the tour was a half day panoramic tour around London. The afternoon section was a journey out to Windsor Castle to visit St. George’s Chapel and The, extremely opulent State Apartments.

The highlight of the morning panoramic tour is a visit to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Now when you arrive at this ceremony it can seem like the world and its mother has turned up to watch.! It is just SOOOOOOO crowded. 

Soldiers Leaving for the Guard Change.

But, with a little forward planning, it is possible to ensure you get a far better view of the Guards themselves than the average visitor gets to see. Here’s how.

The nearest Underground to ensure a great view is Green Park Underground Station. You need to exit the station via the Piccadilly South Exit and turn right along Piccadilly itself. Head past the Ritz Hotel and, at the traffic light go right along St James’s Street. At the end of St James’s Street you will see the gatehouse of St James’s Palace. Turn right in front of the palace and go first right into Marlborough Road, crossing to its left side. You should time your journey to arrive here just after 11am. Ahead of you you will see an immense crowd of people. Ease your way through them, pausing to look across the road where you will see the Old Guard lined up in Friary Court at the rear of St James’s Palace.

IMPORTANT UPDATE

From Monday June 18th 2012 the Old Guard are lining up and starting their march outside Clarence House which is the next turning along The Mall as you walk towards Buckingham Palace.

Make your way to the junction of Marlborough Road and The Mall and get as close to the road as you can (don’t step out into the road itself  for reasons which will become apparent when the police on horseback start clearing the way for the old guard).

At around 11.10am the Old Guard will come marching straight past you en route to the guard change at Buckingham Palace.

Once they’ve gone past, don’t do what the majority of those present will do and follow them. Instead, head across the Mall and enter St James’s Park via the gates opposite. Keep ahead and over the foot bridge (there’s a great photo of Buckingham Palace to be had away to the right from the centre of the bridge).

Once over the bridge turn right and head diagonally left across the grass. When you come to the road cross over and cross to the railings of the Wellington Barracks where you will see the New Guard gathering in preparation for the guard change. The best vantage point is either by the right gate (through which they will march at 11.25am) or on the corner of the road that runs from the Wellington Barracks to Buckingham Palace. In either position the new guard will march straight past you at 11.25am and you’ll get a great view.

Now, at this point, many people head to the railings of Buckingham Palace and push and jostle to get as close to them as they can. But, to be honest, not a great deal happens for the next 30 or so minutes. So, instead, take a slow amble back across St James’s Park (toilets and refreshments are available in the Park) and aim to be back at the junction of The Mall and Marlborough Road at 11.50am. By this time the crowds will have dispersed because not many people realise that, just before midday, the New Guard will come marching down The Mall from Buckingham Palace en route to St James’s Palace. And if you’re standing on that same corner that you were on earlier they will come marching straight towards you giving you a fantastic photo opportunity.

Incidentally, the Changing of the Guard takes place everyday in June and July and every other day at other times of the year. You can get more details about it at the Official Website of the British Monarchy.  It should also be noted that there is no Guard Change in very wet weather.  The British Monarchy, incidentally, is bang up to date with technology and there is even a Changing of the Guard app available which costs just 69p and has lots of information on this popular ceremony.

I’ll be adding lots of new suggestions for things to do in London in the coming weeks so be sure to check back here to get information on London as well as all the latest news on our Jack the Ripper Walk.