Beating Retreat is a colourful pageant of military music and precision drill carried out by the the Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry, the Massed Bands of the Household Division and guest performers.
This not to be missed musical spectacular takes palce two successive evenings in June, each year, Beating Retreat takes place on Horse Guards Parade.
Beating Retreat 2018 is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 6th & Thursday 7th June.
Beating Retreat has its origins in the early years of organised warfare when beating or sounding retreat called a halt to the days fighting, a return to camp and the mounting of the guard for the night.
An order from the army of James II of England, dated to 18 June 1690, had his drums beating an order for his troops to retreat and a later order, from William III in 1694, read:
"The Drum Major and Drummers of the Regiment which gives a Captain of the Main Guard are to beat the Retreat through the large street, or as may be ordered.
They are to be answered by all the Drummers of the guards, and by four Drummers of each Regiment in their respective Quarters".
The original call of Retreat, to mark the end of the days fighting was beaten on drums as were most battle orders.
The use of brass bugles, as military signaling device, came to England in 1764 where it was gradually accepted in the foot regiments.
The massed bands we see today are a modern innovation, added to provide spectacle, to the Beating Retreat ceremony.
You can buy Beating Retreat tickets online from the Household Division or in person, from the Guards Museum
Address: Guards Museum, Birdcage Walk. About 500 metres from Buckingham Palace.
Ticket prices start at £20 (GBP 20).
Location: Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX
The nearest tube stations are:
Charing Cross - About 6 minutes walk. Bakerloo, & Northern line
Embankment - 10 minutes walk Bakerloo, Northern, District & Circle line
Busses: 11, 12, 159, 24, 3, 453, 53, 87, 88,
N109, N11, N136, N155, N2, N3, N381, N44, N87
Nearest, mainline, train station:
Charing Cross- About 6 minutes walk
Not recommended, Horse Guards Parade is in the congestion charge zone.
Parking is difficult to find and expensive.
The Visitor Oyster Card is the cheapest and most flexible way to travel around London.
Valid on London Underground, buses, trams and Dockland Light Railway (DLR).
The London Travel Card gives you access to unlimited travel on London Underground trains, buses, Dockland's Light Railway, trams and overland trains within London.