3 unmissable royal ceremonies to see when visiting London

Britain has centuries of spectacular royal traditions to showcase that take place throughout the year to educate and entertain visitors.

Changing of the Guard

One of the most iconic and unmissable royal ceremonies, the Changing of the Guard, is the daily process of the New Guard taking over from the Old Guard at Buckingham Palace. The ceremony starts at 10.45am, but be sure to arrive much earlier to secure a good viewing spot, and ensure to visit the Household division website to check dates and timings (also, bear in mind that in extremely wet weather there may be no Changing of the Guard ceremony).

With the rest of the day ahead, why not take a short walk through St James Park to discover the secrets hidden beneath the streets at Churchill War Rooms, the underground bunker where Winston Churchill and his inner circle directed the Second World War. Visitors can save time and money at the Churchill War Rooms by purchasing The London Pass – a hassle-free sightseeing credits package that lets holders explore over 80 attractions.

Find out more about how to get to and from Buckingham Palace by Train, Tube, Boat & Coach 

Trooping the Colour

Military Guards, The Mall, Buckingham Palace, London, England . ©VisitBritain/Philipp Pley.

Easily accessible by train , tube and boat, the Trooping of the Colour takes place once a year on Horse Guards Parade in St James’s Park to mark Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday.

The ceremony gets its name from the battalion flag which is paraded (or trooped) down the ranks of soldiers, and this year the parade will take place on Saturday, 8 June 2019. If these dates don’t fit, fans of the Royal Family can also catch the equally flamboyant ceremony rehearsals on the two Saturdays leading up to the parade.

All three events are free to watch from The Mall or the edge of St James’s Park and once the parade is finished, visitors can take a short walk from St James Park to the magnificent Westminster Abbey to continue their day of history and heritage.

Find out more about how to get to and from The Trooping of the Colour by Train, Tube, Boat, Coach

Ceremony of the Keys

The Tower of London at twilight viewed from across the River Thames, London, England. ©VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett.

In the Ceremony of the Keys, a tradition that has taken place every night for the last 700 years, the Chief Yeoman Warder meets up with the Tower of London Guard at 9.53pm to secure the main tower gates. When they make their way back they are stopped by a sentry who says ‘Halt, who comes there?’ The Yeoman Warder replies, ‘The keys.’ ‘Whose keys?’ ‘Queen Elizabeth’s keys.’ ‘Pass then, all’s well.’

Tickets for this iconic display are free but must be pre-booked, and bookings are available online only.

Find out more about how to get to and from The Tower of London by Train, Tube, Boat, & Coach

The VisitBritain shop – how can it help me?

As the National Tourism Agency for Britain, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspiration, delivering 40 million international visitors spending £31.5m by 2020.

The VisitBritain shop operates across 94 countries in 7 different languages and currencies, and offers suppliers an excellent scope for international reach. With the VisitBritain shop you will have a dedicated Account Manager looking after the growth and potential of your product, and various training opportunities available.

Get in touch with a member of the Product Team for more information: product@visitbritain.org.

For the international travel trade, the VisitBritain shop offers the opportunity to expand your product offering and earn commission with our range of exciting opportunities.

If you become a trade partner with the shop you can enjoy trade discounts, book with no contract, and be able to book and share products with your clients easily.

Please contact VBShopTrade@visitbritain.org to find out how to start working with us.