It’s about time you go to London’s biggest parade. The 2018 Lord Mayor’s Show will begin on Saturday 10, November at 11am. This ancient procession and festival is regarded as a classic piece of British pageantry in the UK calendar.
For more than 800 years the newly elected Lord Mayor of London has been rowing, riding or marching off to Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown and begin his or her year in office. Over the centuries that journey became known as the Lord Mayor’s Show. It has been a mediaeval carnival, a renaissance spectacle and a military parade. Now it’s one of the longest, oldest and most splendid civic processions in the world.
Lord Mayor’s Show: Why Haven’t You Been? Procession
The procession will include: Band of HM Royal Marines (HMS Collingwood), Royal Naval Guard of Honour, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines any many other respected organisations including Gog and Magog- the symbolic protectors of the City of London. They are paraded by volunteers from The Guild of Young Freemen each year. The most recent representations are made of willow and were created by members of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers. You can see a preview of the whole procession in the official Programme and on the day the Show’s app will give you a live account of who’s who as they go by.
In Paternoster Square and around St Paul’s there will be a funfair, an archive film show and a splendid variety of art installations and street theatre suitable for all the family. There will be displays on car technology, silly musicians, dancing wheelie bins, needy baby vegetables and an entirely factless tour of the City. A range of artisan food stalls will also be on hand to feed any exhausted explorers.
Where to Watch
In the morning the Lord Mayor’s Procession goes from Mansion House to the Royal Courts via St Pauls. In the early afternoon it comes back via the Embankment and Victoria Street. The procession is much longer than the route, so for most of that time the streets are completely full and you can watch from anywhere on the route. The best places to go will depend on how much you like a crowd and what else you would like to do on the day. Here are a few suggestions:
For the full Lord Mayor’s Show Experience: Watch the outward procession from 11 to 12 in the area between Bank and St Pauls. The outward journey squeezes down relatively narrow City streets past very lively crowds.
For the Quiet, Spacious Version:Watch the return procession between 1.15 and 2.30 in the Embankment area. When the procession heads back towards Mansion House things will get busy again, but the stretch from Temple to Blackfriars is much quieter and the roads and pavements are wider.
To Make a Day of It: Watch the outward procession, visit both Show Zones and see the Lord Mayor return to Mansion House.
To Head into The West End Afterwards: Watch the outward procession on Fleet Street between 11.30 and 12.30. From here it’s an easy walk across to Kingsway, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
‘The Lord Mayor’s Show enthusiastically embraces the Shakespearean view of life, a particularly English phenomenon founded in literature by the London Poet Chaucer, and described by another London author Dickens as “streaky bacon”. By this he meant that the way we do things here is to put the comic and the tragic against each other, we do coarse and we do grandeur. We do bawdy and we do elegance. In the first two or three hundred years after his death Shakespeare was heavily criticised by Classicists especially in France for this mixture. Well, the Lord Mayor’s Show perpetuates it. There is splendour and there is a knees-up.’ -Melvyn Bragg, in his introduction to the 800th anniversary book