'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”
Major General’s Review, at Horse Guards – 25 May 2019 – Two weeks before they celebrate the Queen's birthday at Trooping the Colour, they hold the Major General's Review.
The Colonel’s Review, at Horse Guards – 1 Jun 2019 – One week before the actual 'Trooping the Colour' parade, they hold a second rehearsal called "The Colonel's Review".
Trooping the Colour, at Horse Guards – 8 Jun 2019 – Watch a parade of soldiers and bands marching down The Mall in 'Trooping the Colour', to celebrate the Queen's birthday.
62-gun salute to mark the Queen’s Coronation – 2 Jun 2019 – The HAC will be firing a 62-gun salute by the Tower of London, to mark the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation in 1953.
41-gun salute, to mark the Queen’s Coronation – 2 Jun 2019 – The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery will be firing a 41-gun salute to mark the 66th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.
62-gun salute, to mark Prince Philip’s birthday – 11 Jun 2019 – The HAC will be firing off a 62-gun salute by Gun Wharf at the Tower of London to honour Prince Philip's 98th birthday.
41-gun salute to mark Prince Philip’s birthday – 11 Jun 2019 – The KTRHA will be firing a 41-gun salute for Prince Philip in Hyde Park to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's 98th birthday.
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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