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Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard – ceremony, best time to visit, march route, Windsor traffic, musical bands

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The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle is a vibrant display of British pageantry and tradition, representing over 900 years of royal history. 

Windsor Castle, one of the primary official residences of The King, stands as the oldest and the largest continuously inhabited Castle globally. 

The Ceremony takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11 am, weather permitting, and is a highlight for visitors and locals alike.

Changing of the Guard Ceremony

Visitors must obtain a Castle entry ticket to witness this historic event as the Changing of the Guard transpires within the castle precincts, ensuring an unforgettable experience steeped in royal tradition.

Guarding the Sovereign is a prestigious duty traditionally held by the Household Troops, referred to as ‘the Guards’, a role they have fulfilled since 1660. 

Other regiments of the British Army are periodically granted this honor for operational reasons. 

The Guards, comprising five infantry regiments – the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish, and Welsh Guards – and two divisions of the Household Cavalry – the Life Guards and Blues and Royals – boast extensive overseas service records.

The ceremony commences with the Windsor Castle Guard assembling outside the Guard Room, awaiting the arrival of the new Guard accompanied by a Regimental Band, Corps of Drums, or occasionally a Pipe Band. 

The ceremony lasts 45 minutes, including the formal handover of duties and the changeover of sentries. 

Best time to visit Windsor Castle Changing of the Guard

Guard Changing at Windsor Castle
Image: abcnews.com

The best time to visit is approximately 30 to 45 minutes before the ceremony, allowing you to find a prime viewing spot without obstructing other spectators or traffic delays. 

If you have booked your tickets in advance, you can skip the entry queues and navigate through any potential crowds. 

It also allows you to soak in the atmosphere and anticipation leading up to the ceremony, enhancing the overall experience of witnessing this traditional event. 

You may also have the chance to interact with the guards or observe their preparations before the ceremony begins.

Visitors are often confused about visiting Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace. Check out for more information.

Route of Guard marches in Windsor

Guard Changing at Windsor Castle
Image: mailplus.co.uk

The New Guard sets off from Victoria Barracks on Sheet Street at around 10.45 am, proceeding with a march through the Town Centre. 

At 11 am, the Changing the Guard Ceremony unfolds within the Lower Ward confines of Windsor Castle

Sentries are periodically changed throughout the day. 

Around 11.25 am, the Old Guards conclude the ceremony by marching back to the barracks in Windsor town.

When The King resides in the Castle, the parade unfolds on the Castle Forecourt, adding to the spectacle and grandeur. 

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Windsor traffic during the Guard march

Traffic is halted to accommodate the guards’ procession from the barracks on Sheet Street, along the High Street, and into the Castle. 

Police and traffic wardens manage traffic flow at key points, including Thames Street, the junction of Victoria Street and Sheet Street, and near Frances Road and Sheet Street. 

Traffic disruptions occur between 10.45 am and 11 am as the guards march to the Castle and again between 11.15 am and 11.30 am upon their return to the Barracks.

Musical bands during the changing of the guard ceremony

Guard Changing at Windsor Castle
Image: changing-guard.com

The stirring performances of the musical band of the Household Regiment contribute to the pomp and pageantry that characterize the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Windsor Castle. 

Each of the five Foot Guards regiments – the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish, and Welsh Guards – has its regimental band. 

These bands are composed of highly skilled musicians who perform a wide range of music, including traditional military marches, ceremonial music, and popular tunes. 

Alongside the regimental bands, the Corps of Drums, comprised of drummers and buglers, adds a distinctive ceremonial fanfare during the Changing of the Guard procession. 

On special occasions, such as significant anniversaries or state visits, pipe bands may also participate in the Changing of the Guard ceremony. 

These bands, associated with Scottish regiments, add a unique and traditional Scottish flair to the event with their bagpipes and drums.

Recommended Reading:
# Windsor Castle Gardens
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How to get from London to Windsor Castle
Train from London to Windsor Castle
Parking near Windsor Castle

Sources

# Rct.uk
# Britannica.com
# Wikipedia.org
# Tripadvisor.com

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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