4 O’Clock Parade, or Dismounting Ceremony

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Address:
Horse Guards, Whitehall, Westminster, London

Dates and ticket price

Dates & Time:
15th October 2018 30th December 2019 Every day
4 PM to 4.15 PM
Tickets & Cost:
Free to watch from inside the courtyard at Horse Guards (the one that faces onto Whitehall)

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3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 159 – London bus tickets
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Charing Cross BKL NRN, Embankment BKL CRC DSC NRN, Westminster CRC DSC JUB
The closest station to Horse Guards is Westminster
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Horse Guards is #13 in our London Bucket List
Good for kids? Value for money? free Worth a visit?

Their are two different ceremonies at Horse Guards -- both of which are usually forgotten by the tourists. The first one is the Changing the Guard ceremony which takes place in the morning (10.45 AM Monday to Friday, and 9.45 AM on Sundays), and the second one is their daily inspection at 4 PM.

Known as the 'Dismounting Ceremony', or 'Four O'Clock Parade', this very short ceremony takes place in the courtyard behind the horseboxes (on the Whitehall side). The mounted sentries trot into the courtyard and are joined by a line of Foot Guards from the barracks, who are then inspected by a very vocal officer. He walks around the front and back of the line to inspect the soldiers uniforms, and then does exactly the same thing for the horses, before ordering them into the stables for the night. The whole thing takes no more than fifteen minutes from start to finish.

The horseboxes on Whitehall will then be closed for the night, and the courtyard will tbe guarded by a couple of Foot Guards instead. The horses will return the next morning at 10 AM.

This is probably the least visited ceremony in London and hardly any tourists know about. The guidebooks all focus on Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace and hardly ever mention this one. And whilst it is very short and not a lot happens, Craig still thinks it's well-worth a visit -- especially if you have kids. The biggest downside to Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is the size of the crowd. Being wedged inside a crowd of a thousand people for an hour with young ones is not much fun. But this is a great way to show your kids some pageantry without having to wait around all day. And it handily takes place at 4 PM too -- so you can squeeze it in between some other attractions and your evening's entertainment.

Read Craig's review of the Dismounting Ceremony before you go which includes a lot more pictures and goes into detail about the best place to stand, and the best time to arrive etc. You might like to visit our page about other military parades in London as well.

 

> Talk about Dismounting Ceremony At Horse Guards

> Craig’s review of this event – “If you want to watch some pomp and pageantry but don't like big crowds, or you've got a little kid who can't stand around for an hour without needing a wee, then how about this one -- this is the parade for people with no patience. You only need to give this one thirty minutes from start to finish so you can squeeze it in between some other attractions. It takes plac… continued”

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Check out our guide to all the daily parades in London

Look for more military events in May, June and July

Here are some more free events in London if you want a cheap day out

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)

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