I'm trying to work my way round all the sorts of tourist and interesting things that tend to get taken for granted when you live so close to a place (I live in London). So, one Sunday night in February, I took my father to see the Ceremony of the Keys in the Tower of London. Here are some tips for those travellers thinking of booking up to attend, based on my experience:
- It's free (great!)....but you have to book online, several months in advance (boo), so this is an experience to plan well ahead for.
- The whole briefing then ceremony is short - enter the Tower about 9.30pm, and out finished by about 10.10pm.
- NO photography is allowed - the Yeoman Warder explains by stating that they want to keep the ceremony's mystique private to those who observe it!
- Perhaps paradoxically, I personally think that the ceremony is best observed in the Winter months - the darkness, damp/wet and wind adds to the occasion (but you do need to dress appropriately)
- People attending need to be able to walk quickly on cobblestones, in the dark - people with poor walking ability may not be best suited.
- If you want to get a glimpse of a traditional English military ceremony that goes back 700 years it's excellent. However if you think it is going to be a large-scale ceremony, think again. However its intimacy makes it more appealing I think.