Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards
Horse Guards map location

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Horse Guards is located at: Whitehall, Westminster,
London SW1A
Time required:
A typical visit to Horse Guards lasts 15-20 mins (approx)

How to get to Horse Guards

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Horse Guards Easy to get to? Good for kids? Value for money?n/a Worth a visit?303

Changing the Guard at Horse Guards   

4 O'Clock Parade, or Dismounting Ceremony   

> See all events at Horse Guards


Horse Guards Parade is the large open space that lies at the eastern end of St. James’s Park.

One side lays open to the park, and the other enters into Whitehall. This part is usually guarded by two cavalrymen of the Household Division – a ghostly throwback to its days as a Palace, even though all that remains of Whitehall Palace today is Banqueting House across the road. A favourite pastime of tourists everywhere is to try and make them smile. (Not an easy thing to do!)

The parade ground itself is bordered by an assortment of historical buildings, and the iron-gated entrance to Downing Street. It is also home to numerous statues of military generals, including Lord Kitchener (Your Country Needs You!) and the Queen’s cousin Lord Mountbatten (killed by the IRA in 1979).

Household Cavalry, and Trooping the Colour

Horse Guards’ Barracks still house around forty mounted sentries of the Royal Guard, used to defend the Queen at the other end of The Mall.

There are two regiments in total – the Life Guards (red coat and white-plumed helmet), and the Blues and Royals (blue coat and a red-plumed helmet). You can see two on either side of the gate, and they change around every hour between 10AM and 4PM.

The most famous event to take place on Horse Guards Parade is Trooping the Colour, which always falls on the Queen’s official birthday. It first took place in 1755 and has been a regular event since 1805.

Its origins lie in the parading of the troop’s colours in front of the soldiery, so that they would know where to rally on the battlefield.

  • glenking – “Definitely worth a look, as its close to trafalgar square and buckingham palace, but its really just a big empty courtyard. There's nothing actually in it, just some nice buildings and architecture around the sides. I’ve never been there when there's been anything on, like trooping the colour, and I can imagine how that would be quite a sight, but if you go on a cold rainy day in November like I did, then expect to stay just a few minutes before you move on. A tip: dont forget the little walkway under the arch that leads onto whitehall where the soldiers stand. It's in the middle, and its a good little shortcut otherwise you have to go around to admiralty arch.”
  • londonlover – “I had a walk past horse guards the other day and its all closed up for a beach volleyball tournament. I know it sounds daft, but they are tripping tonnes of sand into it so they can play this game. I think horse guards is where they are holding volleyball tournaments in the olympics, so it's probably a dry-run for that. Horse guards is going to be closed until the end of August until they finish this tournament. Its probably still worth a look though. Ive seen beach volleyball on the telly a few times and there's lots of things to look at (if you know what I mean ).”

> Events at Horse Guards

   Horse Guards WestminsterChanging the Guard at Horse Guards is similar to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, but is usually a lot less crowded.

   Horse Guards WestminsterThe Dismounting Ceremony (or 4 O'Clock Parade) is a short ceremony that takes place every day at the Horse Guards.

   Horse Guards WestminsterTwo weeks before 'Trooping the Colour', to celebrate the Queen's birthday, they hold a rehearsal called "The Major's Review".

   Horse Guards WestminsterOne week before the actual 'Trooping the Colour' parade, they hold a second rehearsal called "The Colonel's Review".

   to Horse Guards WestminsterBeating Retreat is a floodlit pageant of military music and drill on Horse Guards Parade, ending with a salute to the Queen.

   Horse Guards WestminsterWatch a parade of soldiers and bands marching down The Mall in 'Trooping the Colour', to celebrate the Queen's birthday.

If you like Horse Guards, then you might also like…

> Whitehall See the Horse Guards standing outside Banqueting House, and the Remembrance Day Parade.
> Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square has Nelson’s Column, Admiralty Arch, and the world famous National Gallery.
> Downing Street Number 10 Downing Street has been the traditional residence of the Prime Minister since 1731.
> Parliament Square Parliament Square is in the heart of Westminster, surrounded by Big Ben, Parliament and the Abbey.

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