Not many traditions are still going strong after 801 years, so be sure to get involved in this one.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is the highlight of the year in The City of London and with a history dating back to 1215, it is full of tradition. Those staying at serviced apartments on Cannon Street are perfectly placed to see the spectacle unfold, while anyone in London at this time of year should make sure they don’t miss it.
A little bit of history
Way back when King John was in power, he thought it would be a good idea to let Londoners elect their own mayor. Each year, the new incumbent of the position would make his way from The City to Westminster to be formerly introduced to the monarch. Of course, much pomp and ceremony surrounded the event and hordes of people turned out to watch. 801 years later and the situation hasn’t changed! You can still see the new mayor riding the same route in a stunning golden coach.
The Lord Mayor’s Show will be held on November 12th, with a whole programme of events throughout the day. You could decide to throw yourself into it fully and go to each element or simply pick the bit that most appeals to you or fits in with other plans. Walk from your serviced apartment or hop on the Tube to the station nearest to your vantage point.
Get up bright and early for the first event of the day – the river pageant. The lord mayor knows how to arrive in style and that means a flotilla down the River Thames, featuring a selection of traditional barges. Look out for QRB Gloriana, which was commissioned for the Queen’s jubilee, and at 29 metres long, is hard to miss. The boats set off from Westminster at 8.30am and you will be able to see them from all along the banks of the river. If you can get a good view of Tower Bridge, you’ll witness it open in a salute at 9.25am as the barges sail beneath it.
Probably the most famous part of The Lord Mayor’s Show is the procession, which gets underway at 11.05am, when it sets off from Mansion House. With some 7,000 performers, 200 horses, in excess of 150 floats and music, dance and acrobatics, it’s one spectacular show. You’ll never have seen the streets of The City quite like it before.
Choosing your position is the key part of enjoying the show and even if you haven’t got tickets for the grandstand at St Paul’s, the area around the cathedral is a good bet, as it’s on the outward leg of the procession. Alternatively, head to Blackfriars or Mansion House, which the lord mayor will pass by on the return journey, which starts at 1pm. Bank is also right in the heart of the action, so go there and you’ll be sure to get caught up in the atmosphere.
You may have thought all of the fireworks were over after November 5th, but there’s another display to enjoy and they’re bound to be world-class. They’re set off from between Blackfriars and Waterloo, but being in the sky, you can see them from just about anywhere in the vicinity of The City. With nights now getting darker earlier, the extravaganza starts at 5.15pm, so even little ones can stay up to watch them.