Changing of the Guards
The actual name for this ceremony, which takes place at Buckingham Palace at 11:30am on even dates only starting in 2003, is Guard Mounting. It's presented daily at Horse Guard's Arch at 11:00am, and at the Tower of London at 11:30am.
The official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, the Palace serves as both home and office. It's open to the public in the summer months.
Tower of London
Built in the 11th century to guard over the city, by the 16th century, Henry the Eighth was lopping off the heads of a couple of his wives and Elizabeth I was imprisoned. Now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, the Tower is home to the Crown Jewels and retains its ceremonies..
This Byzantine-style structure surprises all who enter it, with its mosaics and stained glass and relics of time past. It's the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster. For a small fee, visitors can take an elevator to the top of the nearly 300-foot tall Bell Tower, an excellent spot for viewing London.
Although it's the clock face that everyone thinks is Big Ben, it isn't... it's the huge bell that chimes the hours. Learn more about this fascinating landmark at the Houses of Parliament.
St. James's Palace
Not open to the public, this palace is the official residence of Prince Charles. Originally built for Anne Boleyn in 1532, it was used as the Monarchy's London home until 1837. The British composer Henry Purcell lived in the palace composing music for the church; The Chapel Royal is open to the public on Sundays and you can see the daily "Guard Mounting" in Friary Court.
Second only to Big Ben as an enduring landmark recognizable as London, the fascinating history and interior workings of the bridge are available for public tours.