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Trooping the Colour is one of the best free events in London. But did you know that they hold a big rehearsal one week before, called the Colonel's Review? (Another rehearsal, called the Major General's Review, is held two weeks before).
The Colonel's Review still includes a parade of foot soldiers, mounted soldiers and marching bands, but you don't see the Queen or the RAF flypast (the Queen has been doing Trooping the Colour for sixty years now, so she already knows her bit!). The upside is that it's far less crowded than the real thing, so if you want to take your little kids to see some soldiers then this is perfect. The crowds at Trooping the Colour are ten or twenty deep, and you will be wedged inside for a few hours waiting for something to happen -- you don't get that with the Colonel Review.
You'll be able to watch the soldiers marching along The Mall and up to Horse Guards parade ground for free, but if you want to sit inside Horse Guards itself then you will need to apply for a ticket. See qbp.army.mod.uk for more details about how to apply.
Craig has never been to the Colonel's Review itself, but he has been to the real thing a few times. You might like to read his review of Trooping the Colour before you go to get an idea what it's like. He filmed a video from The Mall as well, so you can see the kind of soldiers and military bands that march past.
You might like to check out our page of military parades in London as well, because there are plenty of gun salutes and daily parades throughout the year.
Guest – “I bought tickets to the Colonels review for 2nd June. Bought them back in January. Went to print them out last night but couldn't print. I have a receipt and booking reference. Would I be allowed in on that?”
Admin – “eTickets are okay for most places, but you really need to ask them. They’re the only ones who can tell you for certain https://qbp.army.mod.uk/colonelsreview/”
Craig’s review of Horse Guards – “When people talk about Horse Guards they usually think of the gravel parade ground where the military bands do Beating Retreat, but the best part is actually the small courtyard that faces onto Whitehall. That's where you'll find all the horses and foot soldiers. Everyone loves a horse. Especially when it's got a soldier on top. If you put a soldier with a shiny swor… continued”
Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London – Every night – The Ceremony of the Keys is over 700 years old, and represents the traditional locking up of the Tower of London at night.
Changing the Guard at Horse Guards – Every day – Changing the Guard at Horse Guards is similar to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, but is usually a lot less crowded.
Yeoman Warder tour, at the Tower of London – Every day – One of the best ways of seeing the Tower of London is alongside a Yeoman Warder (better known as the "Beefeaters").
4 O’Clock Parade, or Dismounting Ceremony – Every day – The Dismounting Ceremony (or 4 O'Clock Parade) is a short ceremony that takes place every day at the Horse Guards.
Private tour of the Churchill War Rooms – Every day – Enjoy a private tour of the Churchill War Rooms, and experience Winston Churchill's wartime bunker from behind the glass.
If you enjoy Horse Guards then you might like to visit Downing Street (you can walk it in less than 3 mins), Parliament Square (you can walk it in 6 mins) and St. James’s Park (you can walk it in 6 mins)
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans