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'Beating Retreat' is an annual pageant of military music and marches on Horse Guards Parade. It's a magnificent example of the kind of pomp and pageantry that London does so well. It always takes place in the week before Trooping the Colour.
The ceremony dates back to the late 17th-century, when the beating of drums and lowering of flags signalled to the battlefield troops that the camp gates were about to close. These days it's more of a military concert with marching bands, and includes the lowering of the Regimental flag at sunset.
This year's pageant will be performed by the Massed Bands of the Household Division (which is drawn from the two Household Cavalry Regiments and the five Foot Guards Regiments).
The evening will end with a salute to the Queen (or possibly another high-ranking member of the Royal Family), followed by a fireworks display.
Horse Guards is quite a small seating area, and tickets are hard to come by. So if you want to attend Beating Retreat make sure you buy a ticket in plenty of time.
> 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”
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Changing the Guard at Horse Guards – Every day – Changing the Guard at Horse Guards is similar to Buckingham Palace but it's less crowded and takes place every day
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 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.
Wartime Posters — The Art of Persuasion – 6 Apr to 24 Nov 2019 – An exhibition of posters by the wartime artist Abram Games during his time as Official War Poster Artist in World War II.
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace – 1 May to 30 Jun 2019 – Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of the must-see sights in London for every tourist's itinerary.
Check out our guide to all the daily parades in London
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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