If there’s one thing the Brits are good at, it’s a full-on technicolour ceremonial event and the Changing of the Guard, Birthday Parades and Beating Retreat attract millions of visitors to London.
Make time for Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s but if you’re looking for something a little more understated, the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London has all the tradition of some of London’s higher profile events and is particularly charming, having taken place every night for about 700 years. It is essentially a traditional gate-closing ceremony, performed in the shadows of the Bloody Tower archway by the Yeoman Warders (the Beefeaters). It starts at precisely 21.52pm, ending at 22.00pm to the Chief Yeoman Warder’s pronunciation of ‘God preserve Queen Elizabeth’ and the melancholy sound of The Last Post on the Duty Drummer’s bugle.
Despite its lower profile, it is still extremely popular and gets booked up a long way in advance but you may have more chance of getting a ticket (which is free) in January than in July. Between 40-50 visitors are admitted each night at 21.30pm and tickets can get booked up to 12 months in advance.
More information and tickets from the Tower of London website.