Can I go to the Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards on my own? Or joining a tour is recommendable?
I know that in order to get good viewing position I must go there early, perhaps, 2-3 hours before the starting of the ceremony. Are tours given certain privilage to have positions reserved so that tour members could still have better viewing positions even arriving just half an hour before the ceremony?
No, you don't need to join the tour. You can go on your own. The best view is actually from the Victoria Memorial. You are on high ground, therefore, you get the view when the guards marches in to the palace, as well the entire changing of the guards.
Don't gather around the fence, like a lot of people do. You either only see the guards marching in/out (but not the changing of the guard), or you only see the changing of the guard, but not the guards marching in/out.
We went with a tour group and were able to get preferential viewing. I am sure you could go early for a good spot, but our guide had us in position just a few minutes before everything started and it was a good location. We chose the changing of the guard walking tour. You can book it on trip advisor.
No, no tours are needed or given special privileges. For best viewing, you should stand at the Victoria Memorial as it has an elevated view.
Nothing keeps you from doing it on your own, but joining a tour is the best way to get some very interesting stories and historical détails! And you won't have to come early : I don't know if tours are given special positions, but our guide Gavin knew his way to give us a great spot!
You can certainly go on your own. I don't know if there are any tours offered. But I do know that I went 2 hours early and was among the first on site. I had what I considered one of the best spots and I didn't see anything roped off or reserved.
Get quick answers from Changing of the Guard staff and past visitors.