15 March 2012

The Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London

Last night I went to The Tower of London to witness the longest-surviving ceremony anywhere in the world... The Ceremony of The Keys. This locking-up of ritual has been taking place EVERY night, without fail, for over 700 years.
Halt! Who goes there? The Keys. Whose keys? The Queen's keys (etc.)
I remember doing a project on it when at junior school after a school trip. Which reminds me that in all my school years, excluding art trips in the 6th form, I can only recall ever going to three places; The Tower of London, London Zoo and Lullingstone Roman Villa...
The ceremony is free to attend but you have to apply here.
I haven't been to the Tower for a proper visit in decades, so another look around is well overdue, but I am not sure that this is the year to go, what with the Olympics and all the extra visitors headed this way. I'll just have to add it to my ever-lengthening list...
Here are some other London keys and keyholes:
Top: Holloway, Smithfield, Fleet St, Spitalfields
Middle: Finsbury Park (x2), Bloomsbury, Covent Garden
Bottom: Bloomsbury, Soho, Holloway, Kentish Town


  1. Ahem!

    Who comes here, not who goes there.

  2. Oh I had to stifle a giggle when I went to it but enjoyed it all the same. It's a great little piece of tradition, isn't it?

  3. Thank you for this! I can't wait to find out more and visit myself...

  4. Ian... I don't care!! I have been getting it wrong since I was 10 , so it stays! Like singing the wrong lyrics to a song ;-D
    We could get even more pedantic and say it ought to be "Queen Elizabeth's keys"...

  5. Did the Yeoman Warder ask the American tourists to point to London Bridge? Inevitable error there!
    As for visiting the Tower - early on a sunny midwinter's morning highly recommended. Very quiet, great lighting and fabulous views.


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Thanks, Jane