12:00PM, Tuesday 10 March 2015
As the weather gets a bit nicer, it's time to start looking out for fun things to do with the family.
And what could be better than a day out in Windsor to see the pomp, ceremony and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard ceremony?
Here's everything you need to know to plan your visit:
1. Anyone can watch the procession of the Guards through Windsor between Victoria Barracks and Windsor Castle.
But to actually watch the ceremony - 11am Monday to Saturday, April till the end of July, weather permitting - you'll need a ticket for the Castle.
In March, the ceremony takes place on even days except Sundays.
A full adult ticket might sound a bit steep at £19.20, but if you get it stamped on your way out it can be used as a free entry pass for the next 12 months.There are also discounts available for concessions, groups and families - as well as a price reduction when the State Apartments are closed.
If you have a Royal Borough Advantage Card, entry is free.
2. The ceremony is conducted by the Household Troops - or the Guards, as they are more commonly known - who are responsible for guarding the sovereign.
You can tell which regiment is marching by their buttons and their Bearskin hats.
Grenadier Guards: evenly spaced, single buttons and a white plume on the left side of their hats.
Coldstream Guards: three banks of two buttons with a red plume on the right side.
Scots Guard: three banks of three buttons and no plume.
Irish Guards: two banks of four buttons and a blue plume on the right.
Welsh Guards: two banks of five buttons and a white and green plume on the left.
3. The location of the ceremony changes depending on the season and the weather. In summer, when the Queen is in residence, it takes places on the lawn in the Castle’s quadrangle.
But in wet weather, in winter or when the Queen is not in residence, the ceremony occurs outside the Guardroom by Henry VIII's Gateway at the foot of Castle Hill.
4. The handover ceremony lasts about 45 minutes and then the old Guard marches back through Windsor to Victoria Barracks.
There is a changeover of the Guard every 24 or 48 hours.
Sentries are relieved every two hours.
5. The ceremony begins with the Windsor Castle Guard forming up outside the Guard Room.
They wait until the new Guard arrives, led by a Regimental Band, Corps of Drums or occasionally by a Pipe Band.
6. The hat is a Bearskin, although it is sometimes called a Busby.
This is wrong, however, as a Busby is a much smaller hat, usually only about eight inches high, and not necessarily made of bearskin.
7. In addition to their ceremonial role, the Guards are also professional soldiers, among the most elite in the British Army, and have a service record to prove it.
Training for Guardsmen is also two weeks longer than for the regular line infantry regiments of the British Army - this is to cover the extra drill they will need to know for their non-combat duties.
For more information on how to see the Changing of the Guard, visit http://www.windsor.gov.uk/things-to-do/
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