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Craig recommends… Here’s my latest Household Cavalry Museum review. You might also enjoy the Guards’ Museum at Wellington Barracks. The National Army Museum is worth a try as well (the Imperial War Museum concentrates more on modern-day warfare). If you want to see the horses of the Household Cavalry in action then our daily parades in London page has information about the parade at Buckingham Palace and parade at Horse Guards.
This review originally appeared in his London blog
The Household Cavalry Museum must be the smallest museum I’ve visited in London. It’s just three big rooms plus a window that looks out into the stables. That’s about it.
The best bit is actually outside, where all the tourists line up to take a photo of the sentry boxes. You’ll find some mounted soldiers on the Whitehall side, and a couple of Foot Guards underneath the arches. The guys I saw today only looked about 12 years old (or maybe it’s just me getting old) – and I’m not even joking. His sword was longer than his legs!
The little Japanese girls all giggling for a photo even blew him a few kisses which must have been embarassing as hell for him. He just had to stand there and take it, in immobile silence. He’s not even allowed to move, ha ha. I’m sure he must have been tempted to swipe his sword out and bully them back, but he showed remarkable restraint. What’s the point of giving him all those weapons if he can’t test them out on the tourists?
The main entrance is not actually on the Whitehall side – you have to go head through the central arch into Horse Guards parade ground. Once you make it through the front door you suddenly realise that it’s a working stables. So the government buildings around the edge of Horse Guards are home to the Prime Minister on the right, the bureaucrats on the left, and a load of military horses in the middle. They even let you look through a plate-glass window into the actual stables themselves, so you can see the soldiers mucking them out.
The exhibition is interesting enough if you’re into military history, but there’s not a lot of it. They’ve got a colourful collection of uniforms that date all the way back to Waterloo. And there are bazillions of silver swords, trumpets and buttons.
There are a few videos dotted around which explain the Household Cavalry’s role in all the pomp and pageantry parades in London, and another cabinet explains in great detail what equipment they require to shine their shoes. If that sounds exciting to you, then give it a go.
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If you enjoy this then try: Guards’ Museum (walk it in 12 mins or catch a train from Westminster to Guards’ Museum); National Army Museum (catch the tube from Westminster to National Army Museum) and Royal Mews (walk it in 18 mins or catch a train from Westminster to Royal Mews).