Free London – Ceremonies
Changing the Guard
Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA
Attracting thousands of visitors each year, the Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous ceremonies in the world. Complete with strictly composed soldiers, sharp, regimented movement and a beautiful array of music performed by the Orchestra, this is one ceremony that is most certainly, set to impress. It takes place at 11.30am daily in summer and every other day in winter.
Changing the Guard at Horse Guards Parade
Whitehall, SW1A 2AX
Performed at Horse Guards Parade at 11am each morning, apart from Sunday when it takes place an hour earlier, this impressive ritual showcases the military talent of some of Britain’s very bravest troops. Sat upon horses, the soldiers gracefully ride by demonstrating their strong, calm and composed military demeanor. On special occasions, such as the Queen’s Official Birthday, one of the foot-guard regiments is chosen to troop its colour through each rank of the guards, with the entire Household Division assembly then conducting a march past the Queen, who receives a salute from the saluting base.
Trooping the Colour
Whitehall, SW1A 2AX
Marking the Queen’s Official Birthday in June of each year, an impressive display of pageantry takes place in the form of Trooping The Colour, which is carried out by the Queen’s personal troops, the Household Division. As part of the festivities, the Queen will attend and will take on the honour of the salute.
The Lord Mayor’s Show
The City of London
Celebrated as one of the world’s most-loved pageants, through the years The Lord Mayor’s Show has fought its way through nearly 800 years of British history, surviving everything from the infamous Black Death, to the horrific Blitz. Thanks to one of Britain’s ancient monarchs, King John, each newly-elected Lord Mayor is obliged to travel to Westminster where he or she must swear loyalty to the crown, resulting in an incredible, celebratory procession. Over three and a half miles long, the procession, which is filled with beautifully grand floats, fills the entire space between Bank and Aldwych from 11am until just after 2pm, complete with live TV coverage and a crown of over half a million people. The show is held on the second Saturday each November.
The Ceremony of the Keys
The Tower of London
The ancient ritual of the locking up of the Tower of London has been in place for over 700 years, taking place each evening as the old palace is secured. Although the Queen no longer lives at this palace, the securing of the building is still of the upmost importance as the Crown Jewels and many other royal valuables are still there. Please note, that although tickets to this ceremony are free, they have to be booked well in advance on the Tower of London’s website.