Horse Guards Parade

A trip to London isn't complete without seeing the Horse Guards Parade

East facade of Horse Guards Building and Parade
East facade of Horse Guards Building and Parade

The Horse Guards Building is a large Palladian style building located on Whitehall Street at the east edge of Saint James's Park. It was completed in 1753, replacing the Guard House of the Whitehall Palace after its destruction by a fire in 1698. The building is currently headquarters to London District and Household Cavalry Army commands.

In addition to the interesting architecture, you will enjoy viewing and photographing the guards. The Horse Guards is guarded by both mounted and foot troopers from the Household Cavalry. There are 2 mounted troopers on post daily between 10am and 4pm. These troopers are relieved every hour. In addition two unmounted troopers posted from 10 am until 8 pm get relieved every 2 hours.

If you arrive just before 11am (10am on Sundays) you can view the popular changing of the guard. There is also an inspection of the the guard everyday at 4pm. This was started over 130 years ago when Queen Victoria came through the gate and found no guards. Upon investigating, she discovered they where intoxicated with ale. She then ordered that the Household Cavalry must parade every day at 4 pm for 100 years, to ensure it would not happen again. While the 100 years has long passed the tradition continues.

Kids and adults will all enjoy watching the guards. It is amazing to watch how still they stand at their posts, seemingly oblivious to everyone around them. This is one of the many things you can do in London for free - great when travelling on a budget.

There are many other attractions within easy walking distance of the Horse Guards Parade. Some of these include Saint James's Park, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. These attractions can be nicely combined into a memorable one or two day walking tour.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Regular Hours:
May differ on holidays

  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Address: Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET, UK

Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating This is one of the must stops for my trip. If you have time to stick around or plan it right you can see the changing of the guards. There were loads of people there by the time I made it there but it was still great to experience. There's also a little souvenir shop around the back. Just to point out, these are real guards, not just people play acting. Please be respectful.
Melissa Leda - 2 months ago

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4 Star Rating Horse guards is a wonderfully historic and spacious part of London. It’s definitely worth a visit on your way to or from Buckingham Palace. I thoroughly recommend going for changing of the guard, a free experience where you get to see all of the soldiers outfitted in their traditional uniforms and horses. There is small museum at horse guards with is ok, likely to entertain kids for 30-45 mins max.
Duke - 3 months ago

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4 Star Rating This is where you see events such as trooping of the colour (yes my American friends it has the letter u in it). Trooping of the colour is to mark the British sovereign's 'official' birthday. As the sovereign arrives the troops (around 1400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians) salute the sovereign who then goes on to inspect them. The Regimental Colour (flag) is then paraded down the ranks with the soldiers making specific coordinated movements. I say official birthday as their actual birthday e.g. King Charles was born on 14 November. However they choose a weekend in June to mark the 'official' birthday as the weather is much more likely to be favourable. And as it is at a weekend, the actual date moves around but is always in June. Apart from the trooping of the colour it's just a square of sand with some lovely architecture (Admiralty House, Household Cavalry Museum, Dover House) and statues/memorials (Guards Memorial, Royal Naval Division memorial, Field Marshal Roberts) around it and even a Turkish cannon (east side) taken after a battle in Egypt in 1801. One final odd fact is that the number 2 on the clock (overlooking the parade and front entrance) has a black background and is thought to commemorate England's last absolute sovereign (Charles I)
Chris Who - a month ago

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4 Star Rating Recommend a visit, walking distance from Westminster station, houses a museum. Guards are Queen's. The main entrance would need a bit of maintenance work. Would be good not to touch or feed the horseses
Akshay Hegde - 4 months ago

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5 Star Rating Horse Guards Parade is an integral part of Central London, it is the connector between Buckingham Palace and Westminster. It is a great walk and has very beautiful buildings and views.
William Whatley - a month ago

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Directions

Tube Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Circle, District and Jubilee LineWestminster7 Minutes
Northern and Bakerloo LineCharing Cross7 MInutes

How to get to Horse Guards Parade by Tube

From Charing Cross Station exit to Trafalger Square and exit the roundabout onto The Mall and then go south (left) on Horse Guards Road.

From Westminster Station take Exit 6 and go left out of the underpass, then go right on Great George Street and right onto Horse Guards Road.

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