The Ceremony of the Keys is one of London’s most fascinating traditions and has been taking place every single night at the Tower of London for over 700 years. Despite the long waiting time for tickets, it is an opportunity that visitors should not miss. The ceremony is unique and special, and it is a testament to the dedication of the Beefeaters and Tower Guard who have ensured the safety of the Tower of London through various historical events.
Visitors can expect to witness a historical ritual that has stood the test of time and has been carried out without fail every single night. In this article, readers will learn about the history of the ceremony, what happens during the event, and how to book tickets for this unique experience. The article will also provide practical information to help visitors prepare for their visit to the Tower of London.
- The Ceremony of the Keys is a historical tradition that has been taking place every night for over 700 years at the Tower of London.
- Visitors should not miss the opportunity to witness the ceremony, despite the long waiting time for tickets.
- The article provides information on the history of the ceremony, what to expect during the event, and practical information for booking tickets and preparing for the visit.
What is the Ceremony of the Keys?
The Ceremony of the Keys is a nightly ritual that takes place at the Tower of London. During the ceremony, the gates to the Tower of London are locked, and the Tower Guard march with the Chief Yeoman Warder to ensure his safety as he protects the historic palace. This opulent and bizarre tradition has been carried out for centuries and is a must-see for anyone living in or visiting London. The ceremony is a fascinating glimpse into the history and traditions of the Tower of London.
Why You Should Expect When Visiting?
Visiting the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into centuries of history and tradition. While the ceremony itself has been taking place for over 700 years, very few pictures or videos of it exist due to the Tower’s strict policy against photography during the event.
Upon arrival, visitors should expect to arrive at the designated meeting point at least 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. The tickets are very clear that anyone who arrives after 9:25 on the dot will not be admitted. Once inside, visitors will be greeted by one of the Yeoman Warders, also known as the Beefeaters, who will lead them through the ceremony.
The Yeoman Warder will provide a verbal walkthrough of the ceremony, peppered with interesting historical facts and humorous asides. Visitors can expect to learn about the history of the Tower of London and the role of the Yeoman Warders in guarding the Crown Jewels. The Yeoman Warder will also run through the roll call of attendees before ushering them inside.
The ceremony itself begins suddenly, with a clang of metal as the gate to the Tower entrance is unlocked. Visitors will witness the Yeoman Warder perform the ancient ritual of locking the Tower gates for the night, a tradition that has been upheld for centuries. The ceremony is steeped in tradition and offers a unique opportunity to witness history come alive.
Overall, visitors should expect a unique and engaging experience when visiting the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. The ceremony offers a glimpse into centuries of history and tradition, and is a must-see for anyone interested in British history and culture.
What Happens During the Ceremony?
The Ceremony of the Keys is a traditional and ancient ceremony that takes place every night at the Tower of London. It marks the locking up of the Tower for the night and has been performed for over 700 years. The ceremony is a fascinating and unique experience that can only be understood by witnessing it firsthand.
At precisely 9:46 pm, the Chief Yeoman Warder appears carrying a lantern in one hand and the Queen’s Keys in the other. The Tower Guard awaits his arrival in the archway of the Bloody Tower. After he arrives, he hands the lantern to an unarmed guard, and they march in procession to the two gates that need to be locked for the night.
Once the gates are locked, the Chief Yeoman Warder and the Tower Guard return towards the Bloody Tower. However, before they arrive, they are challenged by a sentry. The sentry demands to know who comes there, and the Chief Yeoman Warder responds with “The keys.” The sentry then asks, “Whose keys?” to which the Chief Yeoman Warder replies, “King Charles’ keys.” The sentry allows the group to pass, and they proceed forward to a set of stairs where the Chief Yeoman Warder proclaims “God preserve King Charles,” and the Guard and audience chorus “Amen.”
At precisely 10:00 pm, a soldier representing the drummer plays the solitary sound of The Last Post on his bugle. With that, the ceremony concludes, and the Tower is locked up for the night.
In conclusion, the Ceremony of the Keys is a unique and fascinating event that has been performed for over 700 years. It is a tradition that is steeped in history and is a must-see for anyone visiting the Tower of London.
How to Book Tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys
Booking tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys is a straightforward process. Interested individuals can visit the Tower of London’s website and book their tickets online for the next available slot. As tickets sell out quickly, it is recommended to book well in advance, especially if you have specific travel dates in mind. Keep in mind that the earliest available slot may be at least a couple of months away. Plan accordingly to ensure a spot at this unique and historic event.
History of the Ceremony of the Keys
The Ceremony of the Keys is a tradition that has been held every day since the mid-1300s, making it one of the oldest ceremonies in the world. It was first commanded by King Edward III after he strolled into the Tower of London unchallenged one evening. He ordered that the Tower’s gates be locked each evening to protect the palace, a tradition that subsequent kings and queens continued.
To provide additional security for the Tower, the number of Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) was increased over the years. The ceremony was initially held at sunset, but in 1826, the time was changed to 10 pm, which has been the time of the ceremony ever since, with one exception during World War II when the Tower received a direct hit just before the ceremony was due to start. Fortunately, no one was harmed, and the ceremony was still held later that evening.
Today, the Ceremony of the Keys is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can watch as the Chief Yeoman Warder locks the gates of the Tower of London, accompanied by the military escort. The ceremony is a testament to the long history of the Tower and its importance as a royal palace and fortress.
The Ceremony of the Keys is a fascinating and enduring tradition in London. It is highly recommended to witness this unique event firsthand.
The Ceremony of the Keys: Practical Information
- Location: The Tower of London
- Schedule: Every day at 10pm
- Booking: Tickets can be booked online at the official website
- Cost: £29.90 per person, or £32.90 with a donation to the Tower
Visitors can witness the historic Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. The ceremony takes place every day at 10pm, and tickets can be booked online at the official website. The cost is £29.90 per person, or £32.90 with a donation to the Tower.