Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Changing of The Guard at Buckingham Palace London

There are a handful of things that everyone traveling to London is told-you have to do this-The Changing of The Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of things.

My personal experience of the Changing of the Guard in London was a bit of a let down. It was a gray and overcast April, so it was a bit chilly and the Guard was dressed in their winter coats-which are gray and rather dreary compared to the summer garb of bright reds.

We went and saw the men of horseback, who sat perfectly and still, and it was part of their job was to sit perfectly still. Not too gripping to watch though. Then we went over to the Palace and watched, with a few hundred other people, as the Guard came marching down the street. We watched them march through a pair of very ornate gates at Buckingham Palace and then we waited twenty minutes or so until a nearly identical group of Guardsman marched back out and back down the road. Viola! The Changing of the Guard.

This is one of those London attractions that needs a detailed brochure or an audio guide to tell you what is going on. Ok, Changing of The Guard seems to have a guidebook and lots of other info. There did seem to some yelling of orders of one sort or another, but it was hard to tell what was going on from the crowded street. There is a very nice statue of Queen Victoria here and the Palace itself is very pretty. The mobs of people were not so pretty, but that is one of the side effects of being a world famous event.

Now it is entirely possible that The Changing of The Guard is, in fact, an amazing event and I just missed all the good bits. Or it is possible that watching the Guard march around is the good bit. The Guards are very impressive with their tall hats and long coats. There is so much other great stuff near Buckingham Palace that you don't really miss anything by standing around and watching the Changing of The Guard-tons of old buildings and famous buildings and just stuff that cries out London are on all sides.

From Buckingham Palace you can easily walk to other great London sights including; Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, St James' Palace, 10 Downing Street, The Thames, Trafalgar Square and even Hard Rock Cafe-to name just a few of the great London sights near by.

It was worth doing, if for no other reason than you can say: Oh, The Changing of the Guard, I did that.

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