Arguably the most notable British building is Buckingham Palace, due to this being the administrative headquarters of the royal family since 1837. Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, was the first of the British Monarchy to reside at Buckingham Palace, and its significance has only prevailed since then.
You simply can’t experience a tour of Westminster without marvelling at the beauty of this regal building, which is why this is a notable stop on our Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace Tour. Read on to discover more about the stunning imperial building, as well as the other sites you’ll see along the way.
Canada Gate and Green Park
We begin our tours at 10 am every day from the Canada Gate of Green Park, one of London’s royal parks. You can get here using the nearest Buckingham Palace tube station, Green Park, via the Piccadilly and Victoria lines.
Canada Gate was installed during the early 20th Century and is one of the features of Queen Victoria’s memorial. The gates got their name due to being a gift from Canada in celebration of its contribution to the previous British Empire.
The pathway that runs from the Gate is lined with trees, which are otherwise known as The Broadwalk. These trees were planted in 1905 in order to enhance the view of the Queen Victoria Memorial from Piccadilly. Furthermore, The Broadwalk represents the length of the ancient River Tyburn, which flows under the park all the way from Hampstead to the River Thames. Canada Gate is a mere three-minute walk from Buckingham Palace itself.
The Flags of Buckingham Palace
Upon reaching Buckingham Palace, you’ll notice a flag flying from the top of the building. There’s a common myth that circulates, stating that if any flag is flying from the top of Buckingham Palace, then the Queen herself is present; however, this isn’t exactly the case.
Instead, you’ll know if the Queen is in the building if the Royal Standard flag is flying. This unmistakable flag represents the sovereign and the United Kingdom and is composed of four quarterings. The first and fourth quartering contains three lions passant each to represent England, whilst the second contains a lion rampant for Scotland, and the third contains a harp for Ireland. Wales isn’t included in the flag due to its special position as a Principality.
The Royal Standard can only be flown when the Queen is in residence; however, if she isn’t present in the palace, a Union Jack flag may be flown in place of the Standard.
The Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place every day at 11 am and lasts around 45 minutes. The Buckingham Palace Guards perform this to honour the traditional transfer of responsibility from the Old Guard to the New Guard. Historically, this was done to assure the protection of the Queen and the Palace; however, it has since become a British custom that tourists and locals alike love to witness.
The Changing of the Guard and Westminster Tour
Booking in for our Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey Walking Tour couldn’t be easier thanks to our handy booking system. Simply select your date, and we’ll plan the rest for you! You should allow around two hours for the tour and make sure you dress sensibly for all types of weather. We look forward to meeting you and showing you the wonders of Westminster.