Horse Guards Parade
A trip to London isn't complete without seeing the Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Building is a large Palladian style building located on Whitehall Street at the east edge of Saint James's Park. It was completed in 1753, replacing the Guard House of the Whitehall Palace after it was it's destruction from a fire in 1698. The building is currently headquarters to London District and Household Cavalry Army commands.
In addition to the interesting architecture, tourists enjoy viewing and photographing the guards. The Horse Guards is guarded by both mounted and foot troopers from the Household Cavalry. There are 2 mounted troopers on post daily between 10am and 4pm. These troopers are relieved every hour. In addition two unmounted troopers posted from 10 am until 8 pm get relieved every 2 hours.
If you arrive just before 11am (10am on Sundays) you can view the popular changing of the guard. There is also an inspection of the the guard everyday at 4pm. This was started over 130 years ago when Queen Victoria came through the gate and found no guards. Upon investigating, she discovered they where intoxicated with ale. She then ordered that the Household Cavalry must parade every day at 4 pm for 100 years, to ensure it would not happen again. While the 100 years has long passed the tradition continues.
Kids and adults will all enjoy watching the guards. It is amazing to watch how still they stand at their posts, seemingly oblivious to everyone around them. This is one of the many things you can do in London for free - great when travelling on a budget.
There are many other attractions within easy walking distance of the Horse Guards Parade. Some of these include Saint James's Park, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. These attractions can be nicely combined into a memorable one or two day walking tour.