Military museums & War memorials

London’s military history spans 2,000 years, encompassing the Roman fort by the Museum of London, the 1,000 year old Tower of London, right up to the Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast from World War II. Check out our calendar of military events in London and parades taking place in London.

Top 10 military attractions The ten best military attractionsChurchill War Rooms
Tower of London
RAF Museum
Chatham Dockyard
Imperial War Museum
HMS Belfast
Ceremony of the Keys
Bletchley Park
Changing the Guard
National Army Museum

Recommendations Craig recommends… My favourite parades are Changing the Guard, the Ceremony of the Keys, Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Day.

Apsley House

Apsley House was where the Duke of Wellington lived after his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, and is filled with his war memorabilia.

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park was a top-secret facility where Alan Turing worked to crack the German Enigma codes during the darkest days of World War II.

Bomber Command Memorial

This war memorial remembers the pilots of all nations who lost their lives flying on dangerous bombing campaigns.

Cenotaph

The Cenotaph stands in the centre of Whitehall, and is the focus of the annual Remembrance Day Parade when veterans march past and salute.

Ceremony of the Keys

The Yeoman Warders have kept up this ceremony for 700 years. You can watch them lock up the gates of the Tower of London every night.

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace

This popular parade takes place on Buckingham Palace’s forecourt with marching bands and shouting sergeants.

Changing the Guard at Horse Guards

Watch the Household Cavalry change with the soldiers on Horse Guards Parade and outside the horse-boxes on Whitehall.

Chatham Dockyard

This historic dockyard has lots of boats you can walk around: a 19th-century sloop, a World War II destroyer and even a cold war submarine.

Churchill War Rooms

The underground bunker beneath Whitehall where Winston Churchill directed the war still looks exactly the same as when they closed it on VE day.

Dismounting Ceremony

Every day at 4 o’clock the Household Cavalry’s mounted soldiers leave the horse-boxes on Whitehall and enter the barracks after a quick inspection.

Guards’ Museum

Learn the history of the Foot Guards’ five regiments: the Coldstream Guards, Grenadier Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards.

HMS Belfast

This Second World War cruiser moored next to Tower Bridge allows you to go aboard and explore all the decks, including the bridge and missile room.

Household Cavalry Museum

The highlight of this museum is a window into the stable where they groom the Household Cavalry horses before a parade.

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum tells the story of the British army from the early days of the British Empire right up to the modern wars in Afghanistan.

National Army Museum

The National Army Museum focuses on the land forces of the British military from the English Civil War right up to World War II and beyond.

National Maritime Museum

Greenwich has had a long association with the sea, and the National Maritime Museum tells the story of the British navy.

RAF Museum

The RAF Museum has more planes than an airport! You can see everything from a Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber to a colossal Vulcan bomber.

Remembrance Day Parade

The Remembrance Day Parade is a chance for the country to honour the fallen soldiers of all Commonwealth wars.

State Opening of Parliament

The Household Cavalry leads the Queen to Parliament so she can read out the government’s program for the coming year.

Tower of London

This World Heritage Site is famous for the Crown Jewels, Traitor’s Gate, the grisly executions on Tower Green, and the 1,000-year-old White Tower.

Trooping the Colour

This annual parade is held to celebrate the Queen’s birthday with military bands, marching soldiers and a flypast over Buckingham Palace’s balcony.
Shadows of War: Fentons Photos of the Crimea The 'Shadows of War' exhibition at the Queen's Gallery reveals the futility of war through Roger Fenton's photographs of the Crimean War.
Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Watch a parade of soldiers and bands marching down The Mall in 'Trooping the Colour', to celebrate the Queen's birthday.
Alfred Munnings: Horse artist from World War I World War I paintings by Sir Alfred Munnings created when he was part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force
The photographs of Don McCullin An exhibition of 250 photographs by Don McCullin, showing scenes of poverty and war in Vietnam and Northern Ireland.
41-gun salute to mark the Queens 93rd birthday You can hear the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the Queen's 93rd birthday.
I Was There: Room Of Voices Hear the personal stories of the soldiers, civilians and children who lived through the Armistice at the end of World War I
Craig’s review of Dismounting Ceremony You've done Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace... posed for a photo outside Horse Guards... seen the Ceremony of the Keys and Remembrance Day Parade... tried Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament... so what have got left? Well, you've forgotten this one (everybody forgets this one). This is the Dismounting Ceremony, or 4 O'Clock Parade. Compared with the oth… continued
Craig’s review of National Army Museum If there's one thing Britain is good at then it's fighting wars. Every country is good at something: for the Americans it's playing that girls game rounders (sorry, I mean baseball). For us it's winning wars. I think the reason we're so amazing at it is because we've been practising, practising, practising for a thousand years. That's why we have so many military museums in London… continued
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