Household Cavalry

My Review of the Household Cavalry Museum

If regular museums bore you, I highly recommend that you take a trip to the Household Cavalry Museum in London. It’s not just a museum – it’s a living exhibit complete with horses!

The museum has beautiful architecture that dates back almost 300 years, and gives the history of the Horse Guard Building, in which it is situated, which was completed back in 1755. It also teaches about the service of each of the Household Cavalry regiments curing the Crimean and Boer Wars.

Inside, it is full of majestic arches and pristine glass cases full of parts of armour and other historical artefacts. It’s really fairly small – only three main rooms, but it’s full of fascinating history!

What is there to see?

As you walk through the museum, you can see stunning ceremonial uniforms (and in some other parts, try things like helmets on), as well as items that have to do with the horse training.

I personally enjoyed learning about how the horses are chosen and how they are named. As it turns out, each year the horses are named with the same first initial – in 2008, they all started with ‘’I’’ for example. After a training period of five years, they serve for another 14 to 16. You can even see the soldiers preparing their steeds in the stable right in front of you.

Something else interesting I came across was the prosthetic limb used by Henry Paget, the cavalry commander at the Battle of Waterloo. He lost his leg in battle, and thus began to push for improvements on prosthetics.

As is expected for a military museum, it is also full of swords, keys, medals, and even some musical instruments, and there are plenty of videos to explain everything.

Great for children

The museum often has craft sessions on holidays and weekends, where children can discover the Household Cavalry, its history, all the while letting their creativity flow. They get to take a handmade gift home that they themselves made, which makes a wonderful souvenir.

Every day they can try on Cavalry helmets and armour and talk to the Cavalrymen. They’ve also got a word search and a detective trail that runs through the museum.

During the summers, they also hold workshops to teach children what it takes to be a Trooper by having them learn how to shine boots and cuirass in order to pass daily inspection! Keep an eye out for the Household Cavalry Open Day in 2019.

Taking a tour

Personally, I walked through alone, though you can take a guided tour in groups. Also, there are touch screen guides available in many languages, including Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

But really, between all of the videos and exhibit explanations, it’s really not necessary to take a guided tour unless you learn better hearing. The tour guides could also probably point out the most interesting or curious facts about the museum, items or the regiment, but, as I said, it’s really not necessary.

What else have they got?

As I’ve mentioned, most of the displays there are actually interactive. You can try things on, watch videos, and see real people doing what the museum has been teaching about.

And, every day at 10:50 you can watch the Guard Change, the Guard Inspection at 4 pm, or the mounted sentry changes (which happen every hour on the hour until 4 pm). The ceremonies probably haven’t changed in 350 years or so! Thus, they are probably the highlight of the entire experience at the Household Cavalry Museum in London.

There is no better way to learn history than to go see it in real life. So, if you’re looking for something a little different to do in London, or you like military history, stop by the Household Cavalry Museum.

Address: Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX
Hours: Open today · 10am–5pm
Phone: 020 7930 3070

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Household Cavalry

Household Cavalry Training

The Household Cavalry provides the Queen’s Life Guard daily and Sovereign’s Escort on State occasions, mounted on horseback. They maintain their world-famous traditions dating back to 1660. Having enlisted in the Household Cavalry to serve with either The Life Guards or The Blues and Royals, you will join the Guards Company in the Army Training Regiment at Pirbright for basic military training – training which is common to all recruits joining the Army.

You are taught drill, physical fitness, how to handle and fire your personal weapon, map reading and elementary fieldcraft – and basic military skills, which, in an emergency, might save your life. At the end of this 12 week period of basic military training, those not becoming Mounted Dutymen move to Bovington in Dorset to carry out specialist Royal Armoured Corps training as either an AFV (Armoured Fighting Vehicles) Driver or a Gunner.

After this six-week course you join one of The Life Guards or The Blues and Royals squadrons of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

Those selected for Mounted Duty remain at Windsor to complete a further 16 weeks in Riding School. Here you will have your own horse which you must feed and look after at all times, to help you understand the animal and build up a working relationship.By now you will have learned to think for yourself. On a horse you need to think for two, which requires patience and practice.

The expert instruction in Riding School will build up your confidence and riding ability. Gradually you increase the amount of outdoor riding until you are ready to learn sword drill, jumping and cavalry foot drill.

A final four weeks are spent riding in ceremonial uniform before your Passing Out Parade in front of the Commanding Officer, as one of the most highly trained soldiers in the Army.

You then join either The Life Guards or The Blues and Royals Squadron of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at Hyde Park Barracks in London.

I found this article I came across recently in the New York Times about the Geneva Cavalry rather interesting. I feel like a fact finding trip may be happening soon. An acquaintance of mine runs this Swiss Geneva Airport car hire website. Sort me out John. Thanks 🙂

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