Where: The Tower of London, Tower Hill, EC3
What: The ceremony of the keys at the Tower of London has been a nightly event for the last 700 years. Every night the Tower is locked up by the Chief Yeoman Warder. Dressed in a scarlet coat, tudor bonnet, carrying a lantern and with foot guard escort, he makes his way to the gates from the Byward Tower at exactly 21:53.
He locks up the several gates, however, it is on approach to the archway of the Bloody Tower that the famous words are uttered:
A sentry challenges: ‘Halt! Who comes there?'
‘The keys’, comes the reply
‘Queen Elizabeth’s keys.’
‘Advance, Queen Elizabeth’s keys. All’s well’
Once all the Tower gates are locked, the last post is sounded by a trumpeter and the ceremony is concluded.
The ceremony of the keys lasts approximately 10 minutes and concludes at 22:05, after which visitors will be escorted to the exit.
Nearest underground station: Tower Hill
How to get tickets to the ceremony of the keys: Tickets are free, but you need to apply at least 2 months in advance (3 months for July - August) in writing to: The Ceremony of the Keys, Waterloo Block, HM Tower of London, London, England EC3N 4AB enclosing a stamped addressed envelope or a minimum of two International Reply Coupons (Coupon-responsé International), stating the date you would like and the names of the attendees. You can only apply for a maximum of 6 tickets during the summer (2 April - 31 October) and 15 during the winter (1 November - 1 April).
Opening times: Only members of the public who have applied for and received permit may attend. Visitors need to arrive at the West Gate by 21:30. Ceremony takes place at 21.53 throughout the year.
Admission charges: Tickets for the ceremony of the keys are free.
(2005) gate prices for the tower are: Adult £14.50, children 5 - 15 £9.50, children under 5 free, family tickets (2 adults and 3 children) £42.00, student (with ID) and senior citizen 60+ £11.00).