Witnessing the changing of the guard in London is a must-see attraction, if anything for its pomp and pageantry. However, while most choose to witness the spectacle at Buckingham Palace, I chose to attend at the much less crowded version at Windsor Castle. Known as the weekend home of the Queen, it is a wonderful alternative well outside the city, near Heathrow Airport.
The schedule of the changing of the guard varies depending on the season; during my visit it was done on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 AM.
As I was planning to go to Birmingham Friday afternoon, Friday morning was my last chance. I arrived just at 11 and saw the guards marching up the street.
Unfortunately I missed the entrance into the castle itself because of the line at the ticket counter.
I made a foolish mistake at Buckingham Palace by not purchasing tickets ahead of time there, they were available at a 10% discount. The reason was because of the unpredictable rain possibly cancelling the visit, but I was wrong as this was a sunny day. Another interesting thing about Windsor Castle tickets is they are valid for up to one year. This could be advantageous for London residents that need to take visitors to an attraction.
By the time I got in, I was still able to catch the end of the 20-30 minute ceremony with a very decent view, something that would be unimaginable in central London. Like most people, I wonder how the guards can stand in the same still position for so many hours without moving anything besides their eyelids.
The castle itself was as nice as any other castle, but the views and greenery are what won me over, in addition to the reasonable crowd size.
It was a serene, peaceful day. One pleasant surprise was my introduction to clotted cream. This is unbelievably tasty and probably equally unhealthy.
This wrapped up my trip in the London metro area, and from here it was off to the West Midlands! There are still a few things I would like to see in a return visit to London: Hampton Court Palace, Chartwell (Winston Churchill’s home), and Southall. Hopefully, I will be able to make a return visit soon and see what I was unable to see in this short trip.