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Changing the Guard | About / Other Ceremonial Events

Ceremonial Events in London

Ceremonial duties are an important part of Army history and tradition, and all soldiers undertaking these duties are highly trained soldiers who also play an important part in military operations worldwide.

Beating the Retreat

11.00am - 'Changing the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade'

The mounted Regiments change The Queen’s Life Guard at the entrance to Horse Guards, daily at 11.00am (10.00am on Sundays only). There are two types of Queen’s Life Guard. A Long Guard consisting of 17 men is mounted when The Queen is resident in London, otherwise a Short Guard made up of 12 men is mounted.

11.00am - ' Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle'

Very similar to The Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Battalion of Foot Guards stationed at Windsor provide the daily Guard. For further information please call 09064 123411.

4.00pm - 'The 4 o’clock Parade Horse Guards'

Horseguards is the official entrance to Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s Life Guard is mounted here and is inspected daily at 4 o’clock.

10.00pm - The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London

For over 700 years, the Tower has been locked every night and no one allowed in or out without the password.

The ceremony of 'The Keys' still takes place at 7 minutes to ten each night, when the Chief Yeoman Warder, escorted by the military Guard, marches from the Byward Tower to lock the heavy wooden gates to the fortress.

Beating Retreat

The Household Division Massed Bands undertake Beating Retreat, usually in June . There are only 2 performances these take place at 6.30pm on Horse Guards Parade. Telephone +44 (0)20 7414 2271

See the promotional video of 'Beating the Retreat' one of London's best kept secrets.

Trooping the Colour - Also known as The Queen's Birthday Parade

To mark the Sovereign’s official birthday the Trooping the Colour ceremony takes place at Horse Guards Parade in June each year.

Trooping the Colour is one of the greatest spectacles in the British calendar of ceremonial events, it is also known as 'The Queen's Birthday Parade'.

Her Majesty the Queen at the Trooping the Colour Ceremony Guards Band on Parade
Ensign carrying the Colours Mounted Kettle Drummer

There are usually two 'rehearsals' for Trooping the Colour and the official event, all are worth seeing:

Major General's Review Telephone +44 (0)20 7414 2479
(Usually held in late May)
.

Colonel's Review Telephone +44 (0)20 7414 2479
(Usually one week before the Queens Birthday Parade).

Tickets for Trooping the Colour

The Queen's official birthday is June 12th but the Parade is not always held on this day. Tickets should be applied for in writing in January or February to: The Brigade Major, HQ Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX.

The State Opening of Parliament

Her Majesty The Queen opens the start of the parliamentary year, usually November or December.

The Lords Mayor’s Procession

A very colourful and musical spectacle, comprising of floats, bands and ceremonial parades.

Lord Mayor of London's show

 

Things to do free with the London Pass