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