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The Royal London: Fully-guided Tour with Changing of the Guard

The city of London is home to one of the oldest and most celebrated monarchies in the world. On this tour, you’ll be getting acquainted with a handful of their most cherished traditions, palaces, and places of interest. From opulent gardens and touching memorials to the houses of Parliament and the Changing of the Guard, you’ll see Queen Victoria’s London in the company of a local Londoner.

Your experience starts in the lovely neighborhood of South Kensington where you’ll pass iconic buildings like the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, before stopping to pay your respects at the Prince Albert Memorial.

Stroll through Kensington Gardens and learn about how they were once part of the exclusive hunting grounds of Henry VIII. They only opened to the public in the late 18th century, and only then to those who were properly attired. In front of Kensington Palace, you’ll pause to discuss its history as a royal residence and hotbed of courtly intrigue. Its current occupants, the Princes William and Harry, Kate Middleton, and others, are a little less scandalous. You’ll also see spots frequented by the Late Princess Diana, as this was one of her favorite areas of London.

Next, you’ll hop on the London Underground - ‘The Tube’ to locals - and get a few tips for how to make your way through London on one of the world’s best subway systems. Just remember to ‘mind the gap’. You’ll go back above ground just in time to catch the Changing of the Guard, when soldiers from the same regiment that has guarded the monarch of England since the 17th century change their posts in front of Buckingham Palace.

While the front of the Palace is mobbed with spectators, you’ll see the famous military procession from a better vantage point near Wellington Barracks. This is where most of the protocol that makes up the ceremony happen, including music from the band and highly formal uniform checks. As you watch these traditions play out, your guide will explain what’s happening, how the guards are chosen, and what the buttons and badges on their uniforms mean.

Crossing the lovely St. James’s park, you’ll arrive in the heart of Westminster, where your guide will show you all the most famous spots and fill you in on the stories behind them. From funny traditions in the Houses of Parliament and where Big Ben (allegedly) got its nickname, to who’s buried in Westminster Abbey and the exact spot where Kate Middleton arrived on the day of her marriage to the future King.

As a special treat, those who want to can end their tour with a very special visit to the top of a nearby building which offers 360-degree views over Westminster and the rest of the city. Spared from the Blitz because of its similarities (in the eyes of German bombers) to St. Paul’s Dome, it is one of the hidden gems of the area and it’s only open to your group!

Experience Includes

  • Changing of the Guard (Buckingham Palace)
  • Exclusive rooftop access for panoramic views of central London
  • Explore South Kensington and Kensington Gardens
  • Expert local tour guide
  • Tube tickets
  • Small Groups of 15 people

Experience Excludes

  • Food & Beverages
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel Pick-Up/Drop-Off

Departs

April - October

Departure location

This tour meets in front of "Ben's Cookies", 9 Pelham Street, Kensington, London, SW7 2ND.

Duration

3 hours 45 minutes (3hours 15 minutes if guests don't climb the dome at the end of the tour)

Terms & Conditions

  • You will receive a voucher for this experience. Please read it thoroughly.
  • Itinerary subject to change.
  • Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Please note that the tour meeting time is 15 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no shows after tour commencement or departure.
  • This tour has a maximum capacity of 15 guests.
  • If raining, Changing of the Guard ceremony will be cancelled and your tour will run with Horse Guards Parade instead.
  • Note: We advise our clients that our unique viewpoint at the end of the tour is subject to closure during special celebrations/festivities, including the Easter ceremonies. If this occurs during your visit, we will run an alternative itinerary that includes and explanation of the viewpoint from the outside. We are unable to provide refunds or discounts.
  • This tour ends with access to an exclusive panoramic viewpoint, by Westminster Abbey. Due to security reasons this viewpoint is not accessible to children under the age of 16, pregnant women and people with heart conditions . Furthermore, access may be limited due to local events or bad weather. Exclusive panoramic view is not available on a Sunday.
  • The viewpoint will not be available on Sundays and December 26th, 28th 2018.
  • Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate guests with mobility impairments, wheelchairs or strollers on this tour due to an underground train ride included. Unfortunately underground stations are not wheelchair accessible.