The Lord Mayors Show is Londons most spectacular free event. Beat the crowds by booking a London hotel. The Lord Mayors Show is one of Londons most enjoyed free events. Held on a Saturday in mid November, the procession starts at 11am and there will be a spectacular firework display, usually around 5pm. Drawing a crowd of over half-a-million, you'll have to hunt hard to book Londons cheapest hotels.
For over 800 years the procession has made its way through the streets of London from Mansion House in the City to Westminster and the Royal Courts of Justice where the mayor must pledge allegiance to the Crown. This is a tradition that celebrates Londons heritage and comes with all the quintessentially British pomp and ceremony. The Lord Mayors Show was the first ever live televised event and will be watched by a BBC audience of millions.
The modern procession includes Londoners from all walks of life and is a staggering 3 miles long (more than twice as long as the route it will take). It includes more than 6,000 people with all manner of carriages, marching bands, floats and other vehicles.
An RAF fly-past commemorate Armistice Day usually starts things off at 11am when the procession begins. The procession lasts until 2.30pm, filling the streets between Bank and Aldwych with colourful floats and cheering crowds. Fascinating guided walks run by qualified members of the City of London Guide Lecturers Association are available at 3pm.
The day culminates at 5pm with one of Londons finest firework displays launched from a barge moored in the Thames between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges. Over half a tonne of massive fireworks will be sent rocketing 600 feet into the air before exploding in a dazzling display that can be seen for miles. For the best views head to Victoria Embankment where the road will be closed to traffic to give you plenty of room.
Getting there and around
Most of the roads anywhere near the procession route will be closed or totally gridlocked. Public transport, walking or cycling are the only sensible option.
Be warned that buses are likely to be subject to delays and diversions and won't be travelling into the parade area. Instead buses will be dropping passengers as far as Liverpool Street, Old Street, Kingsway or the South Bank - all within easy walking of the City.
There are several tube stations right on the route of the procession - on the outward leg there's St Pauls, on the return leg there's Blackfriars and Mansion House, Bank is on both. Many more are just a couple of minutes easy walk off the route - including Cannon Street, Monument and Moorgate, also with Temple close to the Royal Courts. All stations will be extremely busy (especially Bank and St Pauls) so allow yourself more time than usual.
With such huge crowds and travel chaos, many people will be booking hotels in London and simply walking to the procession.