The Household Cavalry Museum
The Household Cavalry Museum is a living museum about real people doing a real job in a real place.
Visitors can see troopers working with horses in the original 18th century stables and hear first hand accounts of their rigorous and demanding training.
The experience comes alive with compelling personal stories, interactive displays and stunning rare objects – many on public display for the first time.
The Household Cavalry Museum sits within Horse Guards in Whitehall, one of London’s most historic buildings. Dating from 1750, it is still the headquarters of the Household Division, in which the Household Cavalry has performed the Queen’s Life Guard in a daily ceremony that has remained broadly unchanged for over 350 years.
The Household Cavalry was formed in 1661 under the direct order of King Charles II and now consists of the two senior regiments of the British Army – The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals.
They have two roles: as a mounted regiment (on horseback), they guard Her Majesty The Queen on ceremonial occasions in London and across the UK and are a key part of the Royal pageantry; as an operational regiment they serve around the world in armoured fighting vehicles. They currently have units deployed on active service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their fighting capacity is matched by their strategic role in international peace keeping and humanitarian operations.
Over the centuries, they have amassed an outstanding collection of rare and unique treasures from ceremonial uniforms, royal standards and gallantry awards to musical instruments, horse furniture and silverware by Fabergé. Each exhibit has its own compelling story to tell and many are on display for the very first time.
Visitors can see two silver kettledrums given to the regiment in 1831 by William IV; the pistol ball that wounded Sir Robert Hill at Waterloo and 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 – and 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 and Royalty.
Visitors can gain a unique behind-the-scenes look at the working stable block. All the horses here are on duty and at different times of the day visitors will see something going on – it might be horses being brought in, groomed, fed and watered, their hooves oiled and shoes checked, their saddles adjusted ready to go on guard or just the stables themselves being cleared or washed down.
Tickets: Adults: £6, Children (aged 5-16) and Concessions: £4, Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children): £15.
Times: 10am to 6pm (March to September), 10am to 5pm (October to February).
Ceremonies: The Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard takes place daily on Horse Guards Parade at 11am. The daily inspection takes place at 4pm.
The Household Cavalry Museum, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX