Whitehall and Downing Street, London

68 Reviews

Whitehall, SW1

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Downing Street
    Downing Street
    by mindcrime
  • Whitehall and Downing Street
    by mindcrime
  • monument for the WWII women
    monument for the WWII women
    by mindcrime
  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    Horse Guards

    by mallyak Written Sep 19, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Household Cavalry

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Jul 6, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    A mounted Life Guard on sentry duty A Life Guard of the Household Cavalry
    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Horse Guards

    by Mariajoy Updated Feb 16, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Go on Dobbin!... make a run for it!!!

    Was this review helpful?

  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    White Hall and 10 Downing Street

    by mallyak Written Sep 19, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    TROOPING THE COLOUR (June 18, 2012)

    by breughel Updated Dec 21, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    The Welsh Guards 2006 - By courtesy of WGO Welsh Guards 2006 Coldstream Guards at Hougoumont farm (Waterloo).
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    HORSE GUARDS' PARADE

    by LoriPori Written Mar 1, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Horse Guards Parade
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Horse Guards

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 30, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Horse Guards: the Household Cavalry Horse Guards Parade

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Fancy a bath?

    by Trekki Updated Aug 15, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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:
    51°29’50,53’’N; 00°07’46,44’’W

    Westminster Public Bath House Westminster Public Bath House Westminster Public Bath House Westminster Public Bath House Westminster Public Bath House
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Elena_007's Profile Photo

    Cenotaph, "The Glorious Dead"

    by Elena_007 Updated Mar 20, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Cenotaph
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Monument to the Women of World War II

    by Regina1965 Updated Jun 25, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The other war memorial in the middle of Whitehall, north of the Cenotaph, is the Monument to the Women of World War Il. It is much newer than the Cenotaph, and was unveiled in 2005 by the Queen on the 60th anniversary of the end of WW II. The monument was made by the sculptor John W. Mills and has 17 sets of different clothing on it, all around the monument, which represent the different jobs women worked during WW II to replace the men who had to go to war.

    The memorial is dedicated to the work of more than 7.000.000 women who served their country during WW II. The memorial is also dedicated to the politician Baroness Betty Boothroyd, who has been the only female Speaker of the House of Commons

    Was this review helpful?

  • smschley's Profile Photo

    Cenotaph

    by smschley Updated Mar 14, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    The Cenotaph in Whitehall.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jun 25, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are two noteworthy war monuments in the middle of the street of Whitehall. One of them is the Cenotaph, which is the official war memorial in the U.K. It is dedicated to the dead of the British Empire in WW I and WW II and those in the British Military.

    The Cenotaph was designed by Edward Lutyen, unveiled in 1920, and is a Grade I listed building. The inscripton on the memorial is "The Glorious Dead". A year before, in 1919, a wooden and plaster Cenotaph was erected in the same shape as the current Cenotaph, which replaced it a year later. It was originally built for the first anniversary of the Armistice of WW I.

    On Remembrance Day the Cenotaph is the focus of the Remembrance service.

    The Cenotaph. The Cenotaph. The Cenotaph.

    Was this review helpful?

  • easyoar's Profile Photo

    Horse-guards parade - a tourist favourite

    by easyoar Written Nov 13, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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).

    A Horse-guard at Horse-guards Parade
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • easyoar's Profile Photo

    The back of Horseguards Parade (with London Eye)

    by easyoar Written Feb 15, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    IMost people visit Horseguards Parade from the front, but make sure you walk through the small tunnel and see what is behind.

    There is a largish square where you can see the Trooping of the Colour (a large military display performed for the Queen). Then behind this is St James Park.

    If you get as far as St James Park and turn round, you will see a great view of the back of Whitehall and the top of the London Eye. This picture was taken from along Horse Guards Road, just as you head up towards the Mall. Of course from here it is an easy walk to Buckingham Palace or to Trafalgar Square.

    he back of Horseguards Parade (with London Eye)
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • planxty's Profile Photo

    So where are the horses?

    by planxty Updated Jan 28, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    London is rightly famous for it's ceremonial occasions, many of them originating centuries ago, and rightly so in my opinion. It may sound a touch jingoistic but I think we do them rather well. The scene of some of the most impressive of these is Horseguards, which stand to the rear of Whitehall and facing St. James Park. Most people will have seen pictures or TV coverage of the Trooping of the Colour, when the Sovereign review her troops and their colours (flags). The troops you see on these occasions are footguards (think red tunics and tall furry headgear) and horseguards (think long shiny riding boots and breastplates). They are, as the name suggests, the sovereigns bodyguard, although nowadays they all have more conventional military roles as well. Most guards are light armoured now.

    Even when there is not a ceremonial going on, Horseguards is still worth a visit, as it is steeped in history. The open space which you can see in the photos was originally the tiltyard, or exercise yard for horseguards stationed in the guardhouse of Whitehall Palace which was destroyed by fire in 1698. A new building was obviously required and was built in a grand Palladian style, as you see, to the design of William Kent in 1751 - 1753. for centuries, the very term "Horseguards" was synonymous with control of the Army as it was the headquarters of the General Staff. In the 19th century the phrase, "I shall report this matter, Sir, to Horseguards" would be enough to strike fear into the heart of any errant Army officer. Currently it is headquarters to the London District and the Household Cavalry.

    If you look at my photos, you will see a complete absence of well turned out soldiers either on horses or on foot. Do not panic! If you want to see the soldiers, go through the middle gate of the building and you will find them on the other side on guard. There are mounted soldiers on duty from 1000 - 1600 daily and if you want to see a bit of British military tradition, you can see the Dismounting ceremony at 1600. Foot soldiers, bizarrely dismounted horseguards as opposed to "real" footguards are on duty until 2000. Yes, you can stand beside them to get you photo taken but please don't try to engage them in conversation etc. as they are not allowed.

    Here is a real insiders tip for you, if somewhat bizarre and given to me by a mate of mine who was in the horseguards. Ladies (or indeed gents), if you find yourself attracted to a particular mounted trooper, this is the form. As stated, they cannot speak to you so write your name and phone number n a bit of paper and disreetely drop it into the fairly wide top of the thigh length riding boots. Just don't tell the Major I told you to do it!

    Having divulged that little gem, there is little more to tell you about horseguards except that it is free (always good) and it is scheduled, during the 2012 London Olympics, to be the venue for the beach volleyball. I can't wait.

    Horseguards, Whitehall, London, UK. Horseguards, Whitehall, London, UK. Horseguards, Whitehall, London, UK.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: London

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

40 travelers online now

Comments

View all London hotels