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The Lord Mayor’s Show

I’ll be in London for this event and I was hoping I could get advice and suggestions on where to go, what to do, etc. I’ve gone on the website but I wanted to hear from those who’ve been there at this time. I’m thinking of getting seats in the grandstand, and while it seems costly, is there another way to see everything? How long does it last? Thank you for your responses!!!

Posted by
6481 posts

I’ve been. 2015. Went for the purpose of photographing it.

Was the day following the tragic bombings in Paris. I expected security to be beefed up. It wasn’t.

Got some great photos of the Lord Mayor in the Gold Leaf carriage.

Hung out at the Starbucks over by the Museum of London which was near the parade’s staging area. It was raining off and on.

Look at You Tube videos and you’ll see you can stand unencumbered along the route.

Largest gathering of people I saw was near St Paul’s. Maybe 4 deep along the sidewalk.

Go! I enjoyed it, especially the large rolling statutes of HRH.

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you for your response. I had expected there might be really large crowds turning out for this. I’m not sure I should get the Grandstand seats if there’s not much to it. I’d like to see what goes on though!
Again, thanks!

Posted by
5726 posts

It’s held in November, so it’s likely to be cold. I wouldn’t want to be sat down, as I would prefer to walk around, grab a coffee etc to stay warm. The parade lasts for a couple of hours and the route is several miles long, so you should be able to see from places other than the grandstand. Most of it is rather tedious, so you may not want to watch for the whole parade. The Lord Mayor’s carriage is at the end of the procession and starts out an hour after the start of the event, which is presumably the bit you want to see.

Posted by
6481 posts

Berry I would listen to Jennifer about not wanting to sit in the cold.

It’s an enjoyable event that you can easily watch it from curbside on the parade route. No need to pay for grandstand seats!

As I mentioned I was photographing it so I went early to the staging area and meandered about. That was fun for me and I liked the images I got by doing that.

Bag pipers, floats, bands, horses, dancers, jugglers, and the Lord Mayor’s Carriage. The 2015 parade even had the Bat Mobile. What’s not to love?

Enjoy the tradition and frivolity!

Posted by
639 posts

I got a grandstand seat for it last year. Signed up on the website and thus got an email alert when the tickets went on sale. Had a huge choice because I immediately bought a ticket.

My advice: you don't need a grandstand seat to see the parade, but it's nice to be able to sit down.

If you do buy a grandstand seat, don't do what I did. The grandstands are at St. Paul's Cathedral, where the Lord Mayor's coach stops and there's some kind of ceremony on the steps. I hadn't known that bit about the ceremony on the steps. My seat was in the grandstands on the same side of the street as St. Paul's, a front row seat but down near the other end, away from the Cathedral steps.

  1. Don't sit on the front row(s). Your view won't be blocked by other people but any photos will be blocked by the railings. Also, there's the main walkway across the stands, in front of the seats, so you may get the occasional person rudely standing in front of you and waving their smartphone around.

  2. Choose a seat a little higher up than the front row, with a view of the Cathedral steps/entrace. Either on the side of the street facing the Cathedral, or if on the other side, down at the very end of the stands closest to the Cathedral entrance.

  3. If you buy a seat, you will get the nice big souvenir booklet/programme. Don't need to buy one from one of the many vendors strolling around.

Regardless of how you see it, it's a fun day to be in the City. All the streets in the area are closed to vehicles so you really get to wander around without worrying about traffic. Claudia's advice is good. If I'm ever there again for this event I'll probably forget the grandstands, and get down there early enough to see the participants in the staging areas.

Last year on my way to St. Paul's for the show, I stopped in a Pret or coffee shop (can't remember which), for a coffee. There were some men there in their regalia who were going to be marching, I think they were representing architects. They seemed in a good mood. So I asked the guy holding the sign if he'd been chosen to carry it because he was the best architect or the best looking, and we all had a good laugh. It seemed to be that kind of fun morning.

PS: It wasn't really cold that day and I was comrfortable, never felt chilled. Although it had rained earlier - and the folding seats in the grandstands were WET, the lower parts of the molded seats holding some water. I sort of sopped up the water with some napkins I'd fortunately nabbed from the coffee shop. Wished I'd brought a little towel or something but who thinks about that?

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you all, for your thoughts and suggestions! I’m excited to be in London for this! Since it winds down at Westminster, would that be a good location to stand for the day? Who gets invited into Westminster? Is the Queen there to meet the Mayor?
Thank you!!

Posted by
28145 posts

I don't know why you think that the parade goes into the City of Westminster - it is a City of London historical event and goes to the border of Westminster but never crosses the boundary.

Have a look at the map on the official webpage:- https://lordmayorsshow.london/

The Queen is not part of the event.

Posted by
28145 posts

are you confusing the Lord Mayor's Show with the New Year Parade which is, indeed, in Westminster?

Posted by
28145 posts

The Queen tends to be in Sandringham in winter, not in London.

Posted by
639 posts

The Queen isn't part of the event, but the procession does enter Westminster at the Temple Bar, although it doesn't venture far into Westminster before turning back into the City.

Here's a bit of the history from the Lord Mayor's Show website (titled "Celebrating 800 Years of Paranoia, Murder, and Betrayal" - what's not to love about the Brits?):

For years London had been trying to organise itself into a ‘commune’:
a sort of early city state that would be able to declare its borders,
make agreements and defend itself. [King John] may have thought it was
a clever move to go along with this, and in 1215 he issued a Royal
Charter creating the commune and allowing the City to elect its own
Mayor every year.

The King added a condition: every year the newly elected Mayor must
leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to the small town of
Westminster and swear loyalty to him. The Lord Mayor has now made that
journey for over 800 years, despite plagues and fires and countless
wars, and pledged his (and her) loyalty to 34 kings and queens of
England.

The map of last year's procession/parade route is here: https://lordmayorsshow.london/2018/map

And, I should have said in my post above, the Lord Mayor stops at St. Paul's to receive a blessing on the steps. "Some sort of ceremony," indeed. Sorry. I don't know if there's any ceremony at the Westminster end of the procession, at the Royal Courts of Justice; the map says the procession "gathers for the return leg" of the route through the City.

Oh dang. After visiting the website, I wish I were going again this year. Have fun!