The Changing of the Guards at Windsor Castle is the regular event where the town and crown interact most closely. The Changing of the Guards is also a wonderful spectacle for visitors.

2017 Update – Full Guard ceremonies are NOT taking place at weekends for at least the first three months of 2017. We will post updates as soon as new information becomes available.

The guards are real soldiers and are on a rotation system so although they may look a little like ‘toy soldiers’ when in full parade costume, they may well have been in a real combat arena only weeks previously.

Windsor Castle Guards

guardsman cartoonFive regiments: Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards all take turns guarding Windsor Castle and participating in the changing of the guards ceremony.

When on parade you can tell which regiment is on duty by looking at their tunic buttons. The picture above shows a member of the grenadier guards, whose buttons are evenly spaced. The Coldstream Guards buttons are set in a series of pairs. The Scots Guards in sets of three, the Irish Guards in sets of four and the Welsh Guards buttons are in sets of five.

Also look out for their collar badges. The Welsh Guards have a leek, The Scots a thistle and the Irish a shamrock. The Grenadiers have a grenade and the Coldstream have a garter star on their collars.

Where to watch the Changing of the Guard

Choose your place along the high street (The Guildhall is a great location) at about 10.40am and watch them go past. They will come back around 11.15am.

The Guards march from Victoria Barracks and up Sheet Street. Then it is left into the High Street, past the Church and Guildhall. At Queen Victoria’s Statue the guards, accompanied by their marching band turn right and head up into the Castle. About fifteen minutes later the old guard return via the same route with more music.

If you are inside the castle, the action takes place on the lower ward. If you are standing on the path when soldiers are marching towards you, get out of the way, sharpish!

When do they change the guards at Windsor?

During July they change the guard everyday (except on special ocassions), but for the rest of the year it is every other day and whether it is on odd or even days changes from month to month, so it is best to always check in advance with the official Castle website.