Whitehall and Downing Street, London
Horse Guards stands on the site of Henry VIII's tournament ground or 'tiltyard'. Nearby is a remnant of the 'real tennis' court where Henry is said to have played the forerunner of modern lawn tennis.
The elegant buildings of Horse Guards were designed by William Kent and completed in 1755.
There is a crowd of people creating chaos to have aphoto taken with the Gaurds.some have no respect and stick their tongue out which I think is very wrong.do be carefu-horse kick and bite!!
The Household Cavalry mounts the guard here (10.00 - 4.00 pm daily). The Changing of the Guard takes place everyday, when the Household Cavalry rides from Hyde Park, via The Mall, to Whitehall for the 11.00 am changeover
As we walked from Westminster Abbey toward Trafalger Square, we passed Horse Guards Parade in the Whitehall area. Two mounted members of the Household Cavalry were performing guard duties at the sidewalk entrance to the the Parade, and they had a good crowd of tourists around them jostling for position. I walked inside the gate a short distance and found another dismounted trooper on guard with various tourists posing beside him for photo opportunities (second photo).
The Horse Guards Parade was built in 1745 and is where the daily changing of the guard ceremony takes place for the troops who provide protection for British Royalty when they are in London. The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is made up of a squadron from each of the two senior cavalry regiments of the British Army. One squadron is drawn from The Life Guards (shown here with their scarlet tunics and white helmet plumes) while the other is from The Blues and Royals with their blue tunics and red plumes.
Hasn't everyone got one of these on their London page??? We were just passing through.... and I just thought "oh well... might as well take a pic now I am here..." I mean some people visiting London go out of their way to see these guys sitting here for hours on end.. they are trained not to make eye contact with tourists!!! Poor horse is bored witless, 'cos if it thought about it for just a nano-second he would think.... "hey I could just rush this lot... chuck lardarse off my back and be in St James Park having a dip in the lake rather than stand here with these irritating tourists all day!!". But horses don't really think too much.... they are so gorgeous they just behave and do as they are told... bless.
Number 10, as it is often known, is perhaps the most famous address in London and one of the most widely recognised houses in the world. The centre of the United Kingdom government, it is the Prime Minister's home and place of work with offices for secretaries, assistants and advisors. There are also conference rooms and dining rooms where the Prime Minister meets and entertains other leaders and foreign dignitaries. The building is near the Palace of Westminster, the home of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen Elizabeth.
After the 1991 bombing, security at Number 10 was enhanced. An iron gate now blocks access to the street; visitors can only view the Prime Minister's residence from a distance, as seen in the photos.
Trooping the colours during 60 years is a record achieved by Queen Elisabeth II.
This year 2012 the Coldstream Guards were at honour (red plume on the bearskin cap).
It is the oldest regiment in the U.K. Regular Army in continuous active service, originating in Coldstream, Scotland in 1650. In Belgium there is a monument remembering the Coldstream Guards who fought against Napoleon at the farm of Hougoumont near Waterloo (18/06/1815).
Trooping the Colour is a yearly military ceremony carried out by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division.
This ceremony dates back to the early eighteenth century, when the flags (colours) of the regiment were 'trooped' (carried) down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised by each soldier. This parade also marked the Sovereign's official birthday.
The parade takes place on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. (The daily change of foot guards is at Buckingham Palace).
The troops involved come from the Household Division made up of five Regiments Foot Guards and two Regiments of the Household Cavalry
Only one colour (flag) can be trooped each year and it is done on rotation between the 5 Regiments of Foot Guards: Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh.
If you want to see a "trooping the colour" ceremony in London and have no link with the "Royals" you will be obliged to follow the somewhat complex formalities to obtain - most often not obtain - an invitation.
Applications to attend the Parade in the seated stands should be sent in January and February 2013 only to:
The Brigade Major, Headquarters Household Division, Horse Guards.
Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX.
Or telephone +44 (0)20 7414 2479 for further information.
The tickets, at £25.00 per seat, are ALLOCATED BY BALLOT in March.
Individuals without tickets can still see the processions from the Mall. The parade is also broadcast live on the BBC in the UK and retransmitted by some other countries TV's.
In 2006 my good friends (ref. my pages on Belgium, Ieper, Welsh Guards at Last Post) of the Welsh Guards trooped the colour. Photos by courtesy of Welsh Guards Online (see also my travelogue).
2nd. Battalion Coldstream Guards was on the 2007 Parade.
The Trooping the Colour 2008 was perfect.
Adequate weather, the flag, the Dragon of the Welsh Guards, was the colour trooped on this June 14th, 2008. As you might know the Welsh Guards are my favourite regiment (re. the liberation of Brussels on Sept 4, 1944 - my page on the history of Belgium). You will recognize them at their badge on the collar: a silver leek.
The best moments were the quick march of the Foot Guards and the sitting trot of the Cavalry.
I remarked, with pleasure, that the commander of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery was a woman; not easy for her to bark orders over that huge parade ground.
On Saturday 13th June 2009 the Colour has been trooped by 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
Perfect parade as usual. Remarkable voice of the commanding officer. I wonder how many decibels he developed when shouting his orders. In 2010 the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards were parading their flag colour. In 2011 the Colour was Trooped by 1st Battalion Scots Guards.
One of my favourite touristy things about London is observing the HORSE GUARDS' PARADE. I love the colourful tunics, especially the red ones and the cool headgear, but most of all I love the majestic horses.
Horse Guards is the traditional entrance to the Royal Palace and is still guarded by mounted sentries from the Queen's Cavalry. The Guard Changing Ceremony takes place weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Sundays. It is at this time that twelve mounted troops in traditional costume arrive from their Hyde Park Barracks.
This is a fascinating group of rooms which constituted the underground headquarters of the British government when London was under attack. It is fortified with 3 foot thick walls of concrete and of course is under ground and accessible during the war only from the offices above. Everything was left in place at the end of the war so you walk through a 1945 time warp and see where Churchill slept and even his chamber pot. It is an interesting and educational view of the map room and the nerve center of England's war effort. Admission is around 5 pounds.
The entry shows the way it probably looked during WWII with sandbags still fortifying the door and front walls.
Halfway down Whitehall on the west side of the road you will always see a crowd gathered. This is the location of the Horse Guards building, and outside two troopers from the Household Cavalry are on guard every day, from 10.00 AM to 4.00 PM. Their colourful costumes and impassive stare attract attention, and legions of tourist photographers. Once an hour the crowd swells as the troopers are relived and a small ceremony marks the handover of duties to a new pair.
The building behind is often overlooked by those watching this ceremony, but from the other side, by St James’s Park, it is very impressive (see photo two). There it is fronted by the wide expanse of Horse Guards Parade, where the Trooping the Colour ceremony is held. This wide expanse of gravel on the eastern edge of St James’s Park has been used as a parade ground since the 17th century, although its original use was for jousting tournaments held for the pleasure of Henry V111 at what was his main London residence, Whitehall Palace. The palace itself was destroyed by fire at the end of the 17th century, but this tiltyard, and the Banqueting House nearby on Whitehall, remain.
On the northern side of the parade ground is the Old Admiralty, while on the southern side you can see the back of the buildings in Downing Street, including no 10, the home of the British Prime Minister. Access to the ground is open apart from during official ceremonies, and indeed it makes a good short cut between Whitehall and the park.
Horse Guards was built between 1751 and 1753, and served as the headquarters of the British Army's Commander-in-Chief until 1904, when it became the headquarters of the Household Cavalry. The unit of the Household Cavalry which you see on guard here is known as the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. The troops and horses are based at Hyde Park Barracks, a mile or so away, and it isn’t unusual to see them on the streets around here, coming or going from their duties. Indeed, I once saw a rather exciting incident – one of the horses was being led by a trooper riding a second horse, and the horse being led managed to escape from the man’s grasp and bolt down the road. Luckily it was quiet at the time, and a policeman on motorbike who was with the troop of cavalry was able to catch up with the horse and grab its rein.
Incidentally, there are two regiments within the Household Cavalry, and they wear different uniforms, so you can easily tell which is on duty when you visit. The Life Guards wear red tunics with a black collar and a white plume on their helmets. The Blues and Royals, as the name suggests, wear blue tunics with a red collar and a red plume. So you can see that the troopers in my photo are from the Blues and Royals.
In 2012 Horse Guards Parade took on a new role, and was transformed into a temporary beach – or at least, into the site for the Olympic Beach Volleyball tournament. Chris and I had tickets for the event and were there to see what was surely one of the most unusual and exciting of any Olympic venue.
When I prepared my summer 2008 trip to London and browsed through many of the VT pages, I was deligthed to see that Mariajoy wrote about bath & wash houses in Hampstead. So I have put it on my wishlist, but finally didn’t go to Hampstead (maybe next time), as I found a beautiful building of a former public bath & wash house in Great Smith Street, just behind Dean’s Yard. It is hard to imagine for us inhabitants of the “industrialised” part of the world (what a horrible word….) that only 100 years ago many inhabitants in the commencing industrialised parts of our planet didn’t have the water supply in their homes as we have today. So it was most natural to open public baths with facilities to wash laundry as well. In the Museum of London should be a detailed exhibition of these days and the idea of bath houses, however, this part is closed for renovation until 2010. So the only options to see these old bath houses are to walk around in London and look out for them.
The one in Great Smith Street was designed by J.F. Smith at the end of 19th century and is located next to the former Westminster Public Library. Sadly it is no longer in use but houses a real estate agency (I think).
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
Cenotaph, meaning, "Empty Tomb", is a Battle of Britain Memorial for both the World Wars. The inscription reads: "The Glorious Dead." It commemorates the British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives in war. It was originally built of wood and plaster on the 1st anniversary of the armistice in 1919. The monument that stands today, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, is constructed of Portland stone, and was unveiled a year later.
It contains the emblems and flags from the Army, Royal & Merchant Navy, and the Royal Air Force, and is located between Parliament and Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. Every year on the Sunday nearest to November 11th, at 11:00AM, There is a ceremony to honor these patriots. There is also a 2 minute silence observed, and Her Majesty The Queen lays wreaths made from poppies at the base of the Cenotaph. That is so heartwarming! There are numerous war memorials consisting in most every city in England. It is nice to know that in modern society today, these heroes of ancient times, are still being honored (honoured) throughout England.
This is a somewhat bizarre tip as it is extermely unlikely that you will even be allowed down the road (you'll need a personal invite first, and if you are an average Joe Bloggs, that isn't likely to happen!)
However despite all of this, tourists still flock here to see the entrance in to Downing Street from Whitehall, I guess if you are really lucky, you may get to see the PM whizzing past in his car, but don't be surprised if all you see is some police standing around in front of a large shut gate!
I have actually been down Downing Street, but not because I got invited! When I was a kid, security was much more lax, and you were free to wander up the road (although you had to stay on the opposite side of the road to the PMs house (which is number 10). If I remember correctly, the IRA attempted to take a bomb down there (which failed), and since then, it has been much more secure.
The banqueting house is along Whitehall, and is virtually opposite Horseguards Parade. It is considered to be very important architecturally as it was the first building in London to draw on Italian influences. It was finished in 1622 and was designed by the very famous architect Inigo Jones.
The big difference architecturally between this building and what had come before was that this was very sleek and had a pure and simple type of design. The earlier buildings had huge amounts of external decoration and lots of turrets sprouting out here there and everywhere.
Another reason this building is considered very important is that when there was a big fire in Whitehall in 1698, almost everything else was destroyed, and this was the sole survivor.
Inside is a painted ceiling that was painted by Rubens and exalts royalty. However some years later, Oliver Cromwell and his parliamentarians executed King Charles I on a scaffold just outside the banqueting house. As a further twist, King Charles II was restored to the throne some 20 years later, and celebrated this in guess where! Yes the banqueting house!
Located in Whitehall, stands the Cenotaph, a memorial to those Commonwealth citizens who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars.
Cenotaph means 'Empty Tomb', and was originally designed as a temporary structure, but in 1920 it was recreated in marble and this is the memorial still standing. On Remembrance Sunday (the nearest Sunday to the 11th of November which is the anniversary of the end of the 1914-1918 war) a ceremony is held to pay a minute's silent tribute to the Commonwealth citizens who lost their lives in both World Wars. Wreaths and artificial poppies are laid at the Cenotaph by the Queen; Prime Minister; other members of the Royal Family; representatives from Parliament; Commonwealth Countries; the Armed Forces and many organizations of ex-service men and women.
For several weeks before the 11th of November, poppies are made by disabled ex-servicemen. The poppies the UK's symbol of remembrance and citizens purchase and wear poppies in their buttonholes in memory of the war dead. A short service is followed by two minute's silence and then a procession by those who took part in the Second World War and other conflicts since then.
The Cabinet War Rooms were where Winston Churchill and his predecessor Neville Chamberlain spent a lot of their time during the Second World War. It is where a lot of the military plans were made, and the rooms here included living quarters for the most important government officials and military leaders. The rooms were made pretty bomb proof with a metre of concrete above them (this probably doesn't sound too much these days!).
The rooms are still set up as they were during the war time, and this includes the maps with the little slideing flags showing how armoured divisions were doing against the enemy.
These war rooms aren't cheap however. They cost £7.50 for an adult and £6 for a student or retired person. Children under 15 years of age are free. The are a very short walk from Whitehall and Downing Street. Follow the signs.
Horse-guards Parade which is along Whitehall is definitely a place favoured by tourists. It is possible to go and stand right next to the soldiers (many of whom are not actually on horseback - despite the name!).
It is hard to tell exactly what you will see when you go there as sometimes you get a couple of soldiers on horses out the front, and several more soldiers standing on duty in the training area. Other times there are very few soldiers at all here.
A nice walk is to head through the training area, and into the square where the tropping of the colour takes place. It is then an easy walk into Saint James' Park and up to Buckingham Palace (which is a bit further).