Ceremonial Events | Household Division / Beating Retreat

The Household Division's 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.

Beating Retreat is a musical spectacular, which takes place two successive evenings in June, where horses, cannons, fireworks, the Massed Bands of the Household Division and guest performers put on a show which will have you on the edge of your seat.

Described as 'truly spectacular' and 'London at its finest', the Household Division Beating Retreat cannot be seen anywhere else in the world and is an event not to be missed.

Beating Retreat 2019

Wed 5th & Thurs 6th June

Starts: 20:00 Ends 21:40

Venue: Horse Guards Parade

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Beating Retreat on Horse Guards Parade

 

History Of Beating Retreat

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.

 

Getting to Horse Guards Parade

Address: Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX

By Underground - The nearest tube stations are:

  • Charing Cross - About 6 minutes walk. Bakerloo, & Northern line
  • Embankment - 10 minutes walk Bakerloo, Northern, District & Circle line

By Train - Nearest, mainline, train station:

  • Charing Cross - About 6 minutes walk

By Bus - Bus Numbers: 11, 12, 159, 24, 3, 453, 53, 87, 88, N109, N11, N136, N155, N2, N3, N381, N44, N87

By Car - Not recommended, Whitehall is in the congestion charge zone. Parking is difficult to find and expensive.

Getting Around London

Visitor Oyster CardThe Visitor Oyster Card is the cheapest and most flexible way to travel around London.

Valid on London Underground, buses, trams and the Dockland Light Railway (DLR).

  • Cheap - a single tube journey will cost £4.30 with cash but a maximum of £2.00 with an Oyster card
  • Smart - You will never be charged more than a price of a London Travel card
  • Easy - your card is reusable and the credit never expires
  • Discounts on meals, experiences, shopping, galleries and museums, including the Household Cavalry Museum with your Visitor Oyster card. More Details...

 

London Travel CardThe London Travelcard gives you access to unlimited travel on London Underground trains, buses, Docklands Light Railway, trams and overland trains within London.

 

  • Cheap: with one ticket you get unlimited travel, [ within the zones your Travel card covers], working out much cheaper than buying single tickets
  • Easy: one ticket for one day or one week!

Event Calendar

With so much happening in London all year round have a look at our Ceremonial Events calendar to make sure you don't miss out while you are in London.

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