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tower of london ceremony of the keys

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
‘Whose keys?’
‘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).

Website: hrp.org.uk



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