Horse Guards is named after the troops who have mounted The King’s Life Guard here since the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Every weekday, whatever the season or weather, members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment ride down from Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge to take over guard duties at 11:00 am for the next twenty–four hours.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment consists of a squadron from each of the two senior Regiments of the British Army: The Life Guards wear red tunics and white plumed helmets, and The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics and red plumed helmets.
When The King is in London, the Guard consists of one Officer, one Corporal Major (who carries the Standard), two Non-Commissioned Officers, one Trumpeter and ten Troopers. This is known as a Long Guard. When His Majesty is not resident in London, the Guard is reduced to two Non-Commissioned Officers and ten Troopers. This is known as a Short Guard.
On weekdays, The King’s Life Guard leaves Hyde Park Barracks at 10:28 am and rides to Horse Guards Parade passing through Hyde Park Corner and along Constitution Hill and The Mall. The ceremony of Changing The King’s Life Guard then takes place on Horse Guards Parade at 11:00 am.
On weekends, The King’s Life Guard remains in place at Horse Guards Parade, where the duty officer will inspect them at 11:00 am on Saturdays and 10:00 am on Sundays.
During most of the day, the entrance to Horse Guards is guarded by two mounted sentries. After the duty officer has inspected them at 4:00 pm, all personnel, mounted and dismounted, will come off duty for the day.
When to Watch
Changing of The King’s Life Guard at 11:00 am (Monday - Friday)
The Duty Officer's Inspection at 11:00 am on Saturdays and 10:00 am on Sundays
Two mounted sentries guard the entrance to Horse Guards on Whitehall from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. These are changed every hour.
Dismounted inspection of the guard at 4:00 pm daily.