Designed by the two man team of Sir Francis Smith and Philip Hardwick in the 1830s, the site, conveniently located to be near Buckingham Palace, is today used by the five regiments of the Queen’s Household Division to protect the Royal Palaces. The Coldstream, Grenadier, Irish, Scots, and Welsh Guards are based here. Wellington Barracks is also home to all the bands of the Foot Guards, used for ceremonial occasions.
The Guards Chapel
The site includes the Guards Chapel – the original classical design rebuilt in the 1960s after being destroyed by a direct hit in World War II. In August 2007, ten years after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the chapel also hosted a memorial service organised by her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.
The Guards Museum
Covering the role of the guards in protecting the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces, memorabilia from famous campaigns and information on key historical figures from the regiments, the Guards Museum is perhaps the finest regimental museum in England.
The museum, a must for all military enthusiasts, runs two-hour long “walk and talk” tours, that take visitors through nearly 400 years of British military history. Displays on the Duke of Wellington, Field Marshall Alexander and Grand Old Duke of York stand beside information on campaigns in The Crimea, North America, The Sudan and of course The Battle of Waterloo, as well as the role the Foot Guards played in the World Wars One and Two, as well as more recent conflicts.
London’s most historic street?
Whilst visiting the location, do walk through into Queen Anne’s Gate, home of the National Trust heritage organisation and also one of the most beautiful, classically designed streets in Central London, and possibly the one with the most blue plaques commemorating the addresses of its famous previous residents.