London Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard

Explore royal history at London's famous church before seeing Buckingham Palace's iconic ceremony

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 309 Reviews · 3.00h · England, United Kingdom

Want an in-depth Westminster Abbey tour without waiting in line? Need to know the perfect place to stand for the Changing of the Guards? This London walking tour has got you covered! Along with a small group and your expert Blue Badge guide, you’ll explore Britain’s most famous church and the centuries-old location for royal weddings, funerals, and coronations. Afterwards, you’ll get a chance to watch the iconic Changing of the Guards ceremony (on certain days). A truly royal experience!

  • Meet your guide at Parliament Square
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Coronation Chair
  • Famous tombs of UK Monarchs
  • Poet's corner
  • Downing Street
  • St. James Park
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Changing of the Guard (or horse guard)
  • End at Buckingham Palace

You’ll meet your authorized Blue Badge guide in Parliament Square for the short walk to magnificent Westminster Abbey, where you’ll skip the line and head straight in to explore. Like a walking Westminster encyclopedia, your guide knows everything worth knowing about this 1,000-year-old site. They’ll bring its history to life with engaging stories of the seismic events that happened here.

Leaving the abbey, you’ll stroll through beautiful St. James Park to Buckingham Palace, just in time to find a great spot to watch the famous Changing of the Guards ceremony. You will even have the opportunity to visit nearby Downing Street—the street that plays home to Britain's Prime Minister and other key figures while they're in power.

Westminster Abbey Guided Tour Description

Your 3-hour tour includes: 

  • Skip-the-line walking tour of Westminster Abbey

  • Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace (certain days; weather permitting)

  • Fun, knowledgeable local guide

  • Maximum group size of 20

The Changing of the Guard occurs only on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will bring you to the Horse Guard Ceremony. If there is heavy rainfall, the Changing of the Guard will not happen.

Westminster Abbey

Built on the site where a fisherman saw a vision of St. Peter in the 10th century, the Abbey has over a thousand years of history as a religious center, although the incredible building you'll see today is only around 750 years old, having been consecrated in 1269. Huge events in British history have played out here, including almost 40 royal coronations and the funeral of Princess Diana—watched by some 2.5 billion people worldwide. Today, it remains in use for royal weddings, and the funerals of the royal family and other notable people from British society.

Your guide is a true expert on the abbey and its history, and you'll hear fascinating stories of its construction and the events that have taken place here. This grandest of churches is the burial place for famous scientists such as Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton, and the Poet's Corner section houses the remains of famous writers like Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and Geoffrey Chaucer. You'll explore every beautifully crafted corner of this vast abbey, learning all about its rich history as you go.

Changing of the Guard

A gentle stroll through leafy St. James Park brings you to the Buckingham Palace, just in time for the famous Changing of the Guards ceremony. As one of London's must-see events, crowds can get pretty big and it's not always easy to get a good view. Not to worry though, your guide knows exactly where to go so you can see the ceremony from multiple vantage points.

The King's Guard has been protecting Britain's monarch since 1660, and these elite soldiers from seven regiments are solely responsible for the King's security. This elaborate ceremony serves a practical purpose to change the morning shift (the Old Guard), to the afternoon shift (the New Guard). Though there is much pomp and fanfare, the guards primary focus is the protection of the King.

For this reason, the guards refuse to be distracted by the constant and often humorous attempts to distract them. To see this incredible parade of bands and soldiers in both red and blue outfits, your guide escorts you to more than one viewpoint as the ceremony happens.

What you get with this tour
Expert English-speaking guide
Skip-the-Line Abbey tickets
Famous tombs
Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
St. James Park
Max 20 people
Guide gratuity
Hotel pick-up
Food and drink
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See what people are saying

309 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 309 reviews)
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Fantastic tour by Nicholas!
06 July 2024
P
Reviewed by
Pauline Seeto-Marrero

Thank you Nicholas for your tour yesterday! We were the 1st group to enter Westminster Abbey and it was very special and amazing. Nicholas kept us entertained with his stories and delivery of the history of the Abbey. We also got to see King Charles as he was heading to Buckingham Palace to meet the old and new PM's! What an awesome tour!!!

Great tour with fabulous guide!
06 July 2024
S
Reviewed by
Shanna Arnas

Obviously the abbey is beautiful, however our guide Nicholas made it exceptional! He got us in as the first group which meant our picture were amazing. He was knowledgeable and entertaining. When the changing of the guard was canceled due to the election he made the tour work by taking us to Clarence house right as the King pulled out. Then continued to Buckingham palace as the Prine Minister went to resign. Truly a once in a lifetime event!!

Great tour of Westminster Abbey
23 June 2024
C
Reviewed by
Christopher Dudley

Our group of 6 had a wonderful tour of Westminster Abbey with Susan. She was a great guide who really took the time to explain the rich history of the Abbey. Buckingham Palace portion was a great little side feature. Would highly recommend. Not too long. Not too short.

show more reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

We recommend bringing a bottle of water with you and wearing a pair of comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour.

Can I take pictures in Westminster Abbey?

Yes! You are now allowed to take non-commercial photography inside Westminster Abbey. Videos and flash photography are not allowed, nor is any kind of photography allowed during a service.

Does this tour include pick up from your hotel?

Transport isn't included with this tour, but it's very easy to get here on the tube or by taxi. Your guide will be at the meeting point listed on your confirmation voucher.

Can I bring a backpack?

Small bags and backpacks are allowed, but they will be searched upon entry to Westminster.

What to bring?

We recommend bringing a bottle of water with you and wearing a pair of comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour.

How much walking is involved in this tour?

Although this tour doesn't cover a large distance or any difficult terrain, you will walking or standing for the majority of the 3 hours.

Does this tour guarantee seeing the Changing of the Guard?

No. The Changing of the Guard ceremony happens every day during June/July, but only Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sundays throughout the year. If there is heavy rainfall, the ceremony does not happen. Your guide will watch the time to help you get to the ceremony from Westminster Abbey in time.

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