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The Remembrance Day Parade is No.10 in our list of London's best annual events
Remembrance Sunday is simultaneously one of the most sombre, and most uplifting, parades in the London calendar. On the one hand you've got the quiet reflection and sad sound of the Last Post, but that's followed by a solid hour of clapping as the soldiers march past.
Whitehall usually opens to the public at 8 AM, and if you want the best spots then you need to arrive then. You will have to pass through a cordon of police officers and security scanners to get into the street itself (security is extremely tight). If you arrive after it opens then you'll find it jam-packed by 9 AM.
At 10.15 AM the military bands will start to form up by The Cenotaph, and at 10.45 AM the Royals and leading politicians will file out of a building in Whitehall and stand by The Cenotaph. (Note: The Queen does not parade down from Buckingham Palace in a carriage or car -- she just steps out of a building in Whitehall.)
At 11 AM a two-gun salute will be fired from Horse Guards Parade to signal the start of a two-minute silence. Another gun salute will sound at 11.02 AM, together with the Last Post. The Queen and other dignitaries will then lay their wreaths at the foot of The Cenotaph and share a short service of remembrance, to honour everybody who has died in the service of our country.
After the National Anthem has played, and the Queen has departed back inside the building, another member of the Royal Family will take the salute from a parade of war veterans as they march past The Cenotaph. This line will constantly be replenished by the thousands of soldiers waiting patiently in Horse Guards parade ground. The parade route isn't very long: it simply marches down to Parliament Square, turns right into Great George Street, and then back up Horse Guards Road (to the side of St. James's Park), and back to Horse Guards Parade again -- so it's just one big loop.
Craig has attended this event himself and written a detailed review about what happens. Make sure you read his review of the Remembrance Day Parade before you go, because explains what time you need to get there to grab a decent spot (basically, straight away!). He also describes the atmosphere in the crowd, and what it's like to stand there in the presence of the Queen during the two-minute silence. Feel free to ask Craig some questions before you go.
Note: If you can't arrive early enough to get a good spot in Whitehall, then they usually erect some giant video screens near the green patch of grass outside the Ministry of Defence building. There's usually another one outside the Scotland Office.
If you enjoy military parades, then you might be interested in our guide to other military events in London. We also have a list of other parades and ceremonies, and a list of the best annual events in London.
Craig’s review – “You have to be a bit brave to attend the Remembrance Day Parade because a week before the date comes round the papers will start churning out scary stories about terrorists wanting to blow up the Queen. This year it's all about ISIS (they are the bad boys at the moment). Before them it was Al Qaeda, and before them it was the IRA. Before them it was probably someone e… continued”
Moments of Silence — Imperial War Museum – 21 Sep 2018 to 31 Mar 2019 – Moments of Silence uses recordings of the silences captured at Remembrance Services at 11 AM on 11th November
Renewal — Life After The First World War – 21 Sep 2018 to 31 Mar 2019 – An exhibition of black and white photos showing the rebuilding and changes that took place after World War I.
I Was There — Room Of Voices – 21 Sep 2018 to 31 Mar 2019 – Hear the personal stories of the soldiers, civilians and children who lived through the Armistice at the end of World War I
Mimesis — African Soldier – 21 Sep 2018 to 31 Mar 2019 – An exhibition to commemorate the often unheralded role that African and colonial soldiers played during the First World War
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace – 1 Oct to 30 Nov 2018 – The 'Changing the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace is one of the must-see events for every tourist's itinerary.
Poppies — Weeping Window – 5 Oct to 18 Nov 2018 – A display of ceramic poppies at the Imperial War Museum by the same people who created the poppies in the Tower of London's moat
Ceremony of the Keys – Tower of London – Every night – The Ceremony of the Keys is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London and has been taking place every night for 700 years
Check out our guide to all the daily parades in London
Here are some more free events in London if you want a cheap day out
If you enjoy Cenotaph then you might like to visit Bomber Command Memorial (walk it in 20 mins or catch the tube from Westminster to Green Park), Churchill War Rooms (you can walk it in less than 3 mins), Downing Street (you can walk there in less than 1 min), Imperial War Museum (walk it in 18 mins or catch the tube from Westminster to Lambeth North) and Whitehall (you can walk it in less than 3 mins)
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans