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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).
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.
Changing the Guard 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.
4 O'Clock Parade, or Dismounting Ceremony Horse Guards WestminsterThe Dismounting Ceremony (or 4 O'Clock Parade) is a short ceremony that takes place every day at the Horse Guards.
The Major's Review, at 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".
The Colonel's Review, at Horse Guards Horse Guards WestminsterOne week before the actual 'Trooping the Colour' parade, they hold a second rehearsal called "The Colonel's Review".
Beating Retreat, on Horse Guards Parade 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.
Trooping the Colour, at Horse Guards Horse Guards WestminsterWatch a parade of soldiers and bands marching down The Mall in 'Trooping the Colour', to celebrate the Queen's birthday.
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