At Buckingham Palace, crowds begin to form an hour before the Changing of the Guard, which takes place at 11:30 a.m. daily. If you want to see all the pomp and circumstance — including marching bands and the men who stand guard in their voluminous bearskin hats — it’s best get here early.
Better yet, book the Sunday Westminster and West End Tour with London Walks. For a mere £8 per adult (children under 15 are free), you’ll be led on a two-hour stroll to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and yes, Buckingham Palace, right before the Changing of the Guard. It’s a great way to learn about the history of the West End, as well as the monarchy.
Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms are open to the public for touring from late July to September, when Queen Elizabeth II is away for the summer (you can tell when the queen is “at home” — the flag flies over the palace).