The Changing the Guard at London’s Buckingham Palace must be the most heraleded tourist attraction in which many attendees leave out of boredom long before it is over.
I strolled over from the hotel because of glorious sunshine and curiosity. Crowds had already amassed. Only those with front-row positions by the gates, or elevated positions on the fountain or walls, see much. The guards scoot by and then spend nearly half an hour inside doing very little. What they are doing is difficult to see or hear. Then they bolt.
Long before the guards’ departure, the crowds thin and people find other ways to occupy themselves.
A better option, thanks to Rick Steves, is to show up at St. James’s Palace about 12:15 to see the guards march in and out for a quick changing, sharing the up-close experience with at most a handful of fellow tourists. It is just 2-3 minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace so if you must attend the main event and stick it out to the end, make a quick break from Buckingham ahead of the guards to get great pictures as they pass.