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The Household Cavalry Museum

Updated: Mar 25


Household Cavalry Museum Blog Cover


The Household Cavalry Museum is a living Museum in the heart of Horse Guards, Whitehall, London.


It celebrates the history & accomplishments of The Household Cavalry offering a unique 'behind the scenes' look at the work that goes into the ceremonial & armoured reconnaissance role of HM The King's Mounted Bodyguard.


Photo: Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Key features of the museum


DRESS LIKE A CAVALRYMAN;

in our uniforms: tunic, cuirass (a piece of armour consisting of breastplate & backplate fastened together) & helmet. See if you’ve got the mettle to protect the Monarch at home & abroad.


SEE THE REGIMENT IN ACTION;

with hourly sentry changes, daily morning guard changes & daily afternoon Garrison Inspections.


household cavalry horses

PEEK INTO THE WORKING STABLES;

to see what it takes to care for our many beautiful horses.


FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY;

with school focused workshops & holiday & half term events


GUIDED TOURS;

can be arranged in advance for groups up to 20. Larger groups can be accommodated but are split into two.


TOUCHSCREEN MULTIMEDIA GUIDES;

are available in 8 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian & Mandarin) & included in the ticket price for all paying guests.


Behind the scenes at the Household cavalry museum

The museum celebrates the dual roles of the King's mounted bodyguard, & is a window into the heart of this regiment based in the epicentre of historic London.


Ceremonially, the regiment has protects not only the entrance to the Royal Residences on Whitehall, but operationally has been at the forefront of every major battle since its genesis in 1661.


Household Cavalry Soldier on horseback

Members from across the Commonwealth dedicate their lives to the protection of the monarch & the realm, & in turn the museum celebrates their lives & achievements as well as the ones they protect.


The public are invited to enjoy a unique glimpse into a modern working environment, set in the 18th century stables of a site the regiment have guarded for 350 years.


Photo: Sgt Rupert Frere RLC/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Soldier of the Household Cavalry

Uniform


Uniform is a big part of who we are & identifies us to each other. The best way to learn about our uniforms is to try them on- so don’t forget your camera! Tag us in your social media feed for a chance to win a free return visit & entry into our competitions.


Helmet;

Find the hidden messages on the helmet & learn what difference a white or red plume makes. Why do we wear them & what are they made of?


A soldier of the Blues & Royals on sentry duty

Tunic;

Who wears red & who wears blue? What does the braiding mean?


Cuirass;

What’s the hidden secret behind this shiny armour? Why is it an hour to wear one & how could the straps save your neck?


Jack boots;

These boots aren’t made for walking; why are they the shape they are & what makes them so strong?


Collections & Research;


An outstanding collection of rare & unique treasures from ceremonial uniforms, royal standards & gallantry awards to musical instruments, horse furniture & silverware by Fabergé. Each exhibit has its own compelling story to tell & many are on display for the very first time.


You can see two silver kettledrums given to the regiment in 1831 by William IV; the pistol ball that wounded Sir Robert Hill at Waterloo & the cork leg which belonged to the first Marquess of Anglesy, who, as the Earl of Uxbridge, lost his real one at Waterloo.


The cork leg which belonged to the first Marquess of Anglesy, who, as the Earl of Uxbridge, lost his real one at Waterloo.

Modern additions to the collection include Jacky Charlton’s football cap – he did his national service with the regiment & Sefton’s bridle – the horse that was injured in the 1982 Hyde Park bombings. Much of the collection has resulted from the close association that has existed between the Household Cavalry & Royalty.


Visitors can gain a unique behind-the-scenes look at the working stables through a large glazed partition. All the horses here are on duty & at different times of the day you will see something going on – you might see the horses being brought in, groomed, fed & watered, their hooves oiled & shoes checked, their saddles adjusted ready to go on guard or just see the stables themselves being cleared or washed down.


Both horses & riders go through a rigorous & demanding training. In the museum display, you will hear first hand accounts of what this training is like & the techniques the soldiers use to master their horses & complete the gruelling preparations for regimental inspections.


VISIT the Household Cavalry Museum Shop;




The official World War II history of 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment (2HCR) by Roden Orde (hardback)


Location;


The Museum is situated in Horse Guards, the heart of ceremonial London, with access off Horse Guards Parade. It is within very easy walking distance of Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square & Downing Street, St James’s Park & Buckingham Palace & the Embankment piers. Public transport links are also excellent.


Address;

The Household Cavalry Museum

Horse Guards

Whitehall

London SW1A 2AX


General enquiries: 020 7930 3070

Email: museum@householdcavalry.co.uk


Opening times;


Open daily

  • 10am – 6pm April to October

  • 10am – 5pm November to March

  • (except Marathon Day, Easter Friday, & Christmas Eve-Boxing Day inclusive when we are closed all day).

Last admission 60 minutes before closing.


Closures;

The museum will be closed on the following days: Tuesday 24th July from 12pm due to military security



Admission;

Adults (17 & over): £10

Children (aged 5-16) and Concessions: £8

Family Ticket: (2 Adults aged 17 and over 2–3 Children aged 5 to 16) £27.50

Senior aged 60 and over: £8

Student: (Must have a valid Student ID £8


Military guest prices:

Serving Household Cavalry personnel and accompanying families: free of charge

Veteran Household Cavalry personnel: free of charge

Serving Military personnel: 50% discount to £5


  • Last admission 60 minutes before closing.


Daily Ceremony;

The Changing of the king’s Life Guard takes place daily on Horse Guards Parade at 11am (10am Sundays). The Daily Inspection takes place at 4pm (Front Yard Whitehall).



Soldier of the Household cavalry on horseback

Disabled Access;

We are committed to ensuring the Household Cavalry Museum is accessible to all visitors. If you have any queries or need any assistance, please ask.


Touring the area;

Combine a visit to the Museum with any of the following attractions close by.


The Banqueting House is directly opposite Horse Guards.


The Guards Museum, Churchill War Rooms, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey & the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Gallery & The Royal Mews are a short walk away.




Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London
Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London

Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum


More about the Household Cavalry


'TRUSTED GUARDIANS OF THE MONARCH'

The Household Cavalry is made up of the two most senior regiments in the British Army: The Life Guards and The Blues & Royals. It's divided into the Household Cavalry Regiment & the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.


By Peter Broster (Household Cavalry) [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The regimental badge of the Household Division
The regimental badge of the Household Division

Role of the regiment;


The Household Cavalry are Cavalry Regiments who along , with the five Foot Guards Regiments, form the Household Division.


Formed in 1661 under the direct order of King Charles II the Household Cavalry today consists of the two senior regiments of the British Army, The Life Guards & the Blues and Royals who have two roles:


The operational role, of the The Household Cavalry Regiment, is in armoured fighting vehicles & they have been involved in Britain's military operations including the Falklands, the Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo & most recently in Iraq & Afghanistan.


The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, equipped with horses, consists of a Squadron of The Life Guards, & a Squadron of The Blues and Royals who provide 'The Queen's Life Guard' and carry out ceremonial duties, including the provision of the Sovereign's Escort for State & Royal occasions.


The Household Cavalry has also earned a formidable reputation on the battlefield, having served in iconic conflicts from Waterloo to Afghanistan. At home, its duties have ranged from providing security for the 2012 Olympic Games in London to assisting flood victims.


Whether they’re riding a horse or driving an armoured vehicle, all Household Cavalry soldiers have one thing in common: excellence.


The reigning monarch normally holds the appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of the regiments of Household Division. Each regiment has a Colonel who is normally either a member of the Royal Family or a senior officer.


  • The Life Guards: Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne

  • The Blues and Royals: HRH The Princess Royal

  • Grenadier Guards: HM The Queen

  • Coldstream Guards: Lieutenant General Sir James Bucknall

  • Scots Guards: HRH The Duke of Kent

  • Irish Guards: HRH The Princess of Wales

  • Welsh Guards: HRH The Prince of Wales


The Colonels of the regiments of Household Cavalry hold the Court appointment of Gold Stick-in-Waiting in rotation. The Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Household Cavalry normally holds the post of Silver Stick-in-Waiting.


Photo: Harland Quarrington/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

History Timeline;


The Household Cavalry is one of the oldest regiments in the British Army, with roots dating back to 1660. Up until the beginning of World War II, it acted as a heavy cavalry unit. Today, it functions as an armoured reconnaissance regiment, as well as carrying out its ceremonial duties.


1660 - The Life Guards formed to escort & guard the monarch.


1743 - The Life Guards and The Royal Dragoons defeat the French Cavalry at the Battle of Dettingen


1815 - Both regiments distinguish themselves at Waterloo, capturing Napoleon’s 105th Regiment Eagle.


1982 - The Blues and Royals support 2 Para at the Battle of Wireless Ridge, Falkland Islands.


1990 - The Life Guards deploys to the Gulf to support the land war in Kuwait City


2003-13 - The Regiments deploy to Iraq on Operation Telic & Afghanistan on Operation Herrick.


By Ozeye [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

The Household Cavalry has a longstanding reputation as an elite battlefield reconnaissance force. Its soldiers also act in a ceremonial capacity as the public face of the British Army, & as mounted escort to His Majesty The King.


  • Reconnaissance

  • Guarding the monarch

  • Crafting and repairing horse saddles

  • Shoeing horses

  • Tailoring

  • Carrying out ceremonial duties

  • Providing security at national events

  • Battlefield duties


The soldiers of the Household Cavalry are custodians of a reputation built upon centuries of proud service. Whether they’re shoeing horses or guarding His Majesty The King, the Household Cavalry work together with courage & humility.


The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is based at Hyde Park Barracks in Central London, while the Household Cavalry Regiment resides at Combermere Barracks, Windsor.



By Sgt. Adrian Harlen, Ministry of Defense official photographer [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (Guard of the Royal Cavalry) [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Aldaron, a.k.a. Aldaron. [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons


Photo: Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Sgt Rupert Frere/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Life Guards

The Life Guards;


The Life Guards, although not the oldest, is the most senior regiment of the British Army. They were formed by Prince Charles, later King Charles II, when he was exiled at the end of the civil war from loyal followers who travelled with him to Holland. Since their first action in the Battle of Maastricht in 1672 the Life Guards have won numerous battle honours, including Waterloo, Marne, Brussels & El Alamein.


The Life Guards who always ride black horses, except the Trumpeters who ride greys, wear scarlet tunics & metal helmets with white plumes. During inclement weather they sometimes wear a long red cloak with a blue collar.


Trooping the Colour at Horseguards Parade, London

regimental badge of the Blues and Royals.

The Blues And Royals;


The Blues and Royals were formed in 1969 when The Royal Horse Guards, which was known as 'The Blues' or 'The Oxford Blues', & The Royal Dragoons, which was known as 'The Royals' were merged.


They are the only regiment in the British Army officially known by their nickname, 'The Blues and Royals, Instead of being known as the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons.


Their battle honours stretch back to Tangiers 1662-1680 & include the Battle of Waterloo where they captured the Napoleonic Eagle of the French 105th Infantry Regiment.


The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics & metal helmets with red plumes. Except for the Trumpeters who ride greys, they ride black horses. During poor weather they may wear a long blue cloak with a red collar.


A soldier of the Blues & Royals

Photo: PO(Phot)Owen Cooban/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons


Household Cavalry Horse

By Jon (Trooping the Colour, 16th June 2007) [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons








By Console (Capt), War Office official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1939-45 A mounted lance corporal of the Household Cavalry wearing a gas mask, Windsor, 1939. His horse is also wearing a gas mask.

Trooping the Colour: 360 virtual reality experience - BBC;



More videos;








 

Further interest;















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I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Household Cavalry Museum, located in the heart of historic London. This fascinating site, located between Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey, offers a deep dive into the rich history of the British Army's senior regiment through a superb display of uniforms and weaponry. While planning this visit I also coordinated a sash window refurbishment with https://scottjameswindows.co.uk/double-glazing-sash-windows/ . Their efficient service ensured that the maintenance of my home did not interfere with my day at the museum, allowing me to enjoy a seamless experience filled with ceremonial grandeur and impressive exhibits. This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in military history or British traditions.

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