It’s nearly time for the return of The City of London’s oldest and best loved procession.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is back on Saturday November 11, with an uplifting and colourful parade that is famously much longer than the actual route.
The show will see around 7,000 people, 200 horses and 150 floats journey through the City to celebrate the newly elected Lord Mayor’s first full day in office.
Travelling in style, in the 250 year old golden state coach will be the 695th Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Mainelli. Joining him will be military bands who will help set the pace of the procession. You can also expect to see performers, musicians, and representatives from schools, universities, financial institutions and Livery companies.
To help you with organising your day around watching the procession, we have put together a guide containing everything you need to know.
What’s It All About?
It all started in 1215, when King John made a desperate bid to get the people of London on his side. London was already a thriving city, pushing for more independence. To appease the people, King John issued a royal charter that allowed London to choose its own mayor.
He granted the people this freedom on the condition that each year the newly elected Mayor would have to travel to Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown. Whilst this did very little to increase the King’s popularity, the Mayor’s procession grew into a hugely popular spectacle that later became known as The Lord Mayor’s show.
The modern procession is inspired by the very first journey to Westminster, but with tonnes of decorative floats and a lot more people.
Bank to St Paul’s in the Morning
Mansion House marks the start of the three-mile long procession. Armistice day will be commemorated with a two-minute silence at 11am, before the parade officially begins.
To watch the outward procession from 11am to 12pm, head to the area between Bank and St Paul’s. While Bank and St Paul’s stations bring you right onto the processional route, they are both expected to be very busy.
Mansion House and Cannon Street both offer good alternatives, as getting off at either of these stations means only a short walk to the route. This area usually sees the biggest crowds, so get ready for the show at its liveliest.
If you’re looking to do some exploring while you’re in the area, St Paul’s Cathedral are offering free entry to the Cathedral floor until 3:30pm, and you can access the Dome Galleries for £10.
Once The Lord Mayor has reached the Royal Courts and sworn the oath of allegiance to the Queen’s Bench, the procession will begin the return journey to Mansion House.
If you’re also keen to catch the parade as it rolls back around, you can grab lunch at one of the spots in the area, before making your way back to the route.
To experience all the traditional pageantry, head straight to Mansion House for plenty of saluting and presenting of arms, before the show draws to a final close at around 2:30pm.
If you fancy taking a stroll around The City once it’s all over, City of London guides will be leading free guided walks starting at Bank, from 3pm to 4pm.
Temple to Blackfriars in the Early Afternoon
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy the show that’s slightly quieter and with a bit more room to manoeuvre, head to the Embankment area in the early afternoon.
The stretch from Temple to Blackfriars is a great place to catch the procession on its way back from Westminster. This area is usually less busy and provides the most spacious part of the route, with wider roads and pavements, so more room for buggies, wheelchairs and folding chairs for the well-prepared.
Temple or Blackfriars tube stations are both ideally located for accessing this section of the route. Alternatively, you could spend the morning in Southbank and walk across either the Millennium or Blackfriars bridge to reach the route.
The Southbank Centre’s Winter Market and the Food Market will both be open from 11am for you to wander through before making your way over the river in time for the show.
Whether you prefer the atmosphere of a big crowd or you would rather opt for a quieter spot along the route, The Lord Mayor’s show promises that there’ll be something exciting to see wherever you are.