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Lord Mayor's Show

The story of the Lord Mayor’s Show begins in 1215 with the well-founded mistrust of King John. The King sought to win London to his side by allowing it to choose its own Mayor but he insisted that every new Mayor must leave the safety of the City of London, travel upriver to distant Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown.

The ancient pageant is now bigger than ever. It is a London institution and hasn’t missed a year since Wellington’s funeral took over the whole city in 1852. The modern procession is over three and a half miles long and fills the whole space between Bank and Aldwych, setting off at 11am and returning at about 2.30pm. It is cheered on the streets by a crowd of around half a million people and watched live on the BBC by millions more.

There are fewer sword fights these days but the floats are grander than ever. The procession is a magnificent three-mile long ceremony full of innovation, spectacle and pageantry, and the Show is a great free day out for everyone.

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