Household Cavalry Museum

The Household Cavalry Museum proudly bills itself as a “living museum,” meaning it grants visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse of daily working life for members of the British Army’s Household Cavalry. Visitors to the Household Cavalry Museum can explore interactive exhibits that tell the story of this special military regiment through historical artifacts and ceremonial uniforms while also viewing the site’s working stables and attending a changing-of-the-guards ceremony.

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History of the Household Cavalry Museum

The Household Cavalry Museum is located within Horse Guards, between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade, right in the heart of bustling Westminster. The Horse Guards building standing on this site today was constructed during the 1750s as a barracks and stables for the Household Cavalry, a special unit consisting of the British Army’s two most senior regiments. For the next century, Horse Guards would serve as one of the primary headquarters for British military operations.

Today, a portion of the Horse Guards is still used for military purposes, with the rest of the structure given over to the Household Cavalry Museum. The Household Cavalry Museum has been in operation here for over two decades now, presenting the world with fascinating access to this intriguing slice of British life.

The Household Cavalry Museum, London, UK

Household Cavalry Museum Highlights

The Household Cavalry Museum contains a small museum featuring rotating exhibits covering a wide variety of subjects such as the royal family, England’s military history, and of course the role the Household Cavalry has played for the country throughout the centuries. In addition to this museum, though, the attraction remains in part a working facility. Visitors will be able to look into the site’s large stables and watch staff working to care for the many horses who call this place home.

For many visitors to the Household Cavalry Museum, the biggest highlight is liable to be the opportunity the attraction provides guests to dress up like a British cavalryman. This actually includes the chance to wear the iconic red jacket, sash, and helmet. It’s a terrific photo opportunity for the entire family.

No visit to the Household Cavalry Museum is complete without taking the time to observe one of the attraction’s famous changing of the guards. Every hour on the hour, the two guards standing sentry at the entrance to Horse Guards change out, with two new guards taking their place. Witnessing the pomp and circumstance of this age-old ritual firsthand is a significant part of the Household Cavalry Museum experience. 

More to See and Do at the Household Cavalry Museum

Here are a few more things of note regarding your upcoming visit to the Household Cavalry Museum.

•In addition to the hourly sentry changes described above, two other daily ceremonies of some importance take place at the Household Cavalry Museum. Every morning at 11:00am (10:00am on Sundays) the Changing of the Kings’s Life Guard ceremony occurs, during which a procession of mounted guards travel from Hyde Park to the doors of Horse Guards. The formal Daily Inspection also takes place here each day at 4:00pm.

•The Household Cavalry Museum has its own arts-and-crafts area where the little ones can sketch their impressions of the attraction, color in a drawing, or create their very own cardboard-paper tiara to wear.

•On the exterior of the museum, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the Horse Guards Clock. This large ornamental clock has two faces—one pointed toward Whitehall, the other toward Horse Guards Parade—and possesses a visible stain near its “II.” Legend has it this marks the hour of King Charles’ execution in 1649. Until Big Ben was constructed during the nineteenth, the Horse Guards Clock was the area’s primary public clock.

•Speaking of Big Ben, it’s worth knowing as you plan your visit to the Household Cavalry Museum just how many other major London tourist attractions are located in the surrounding area. Popular London attractions not far from here include Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Gallery, Trafalgar Square, St. James’s Park, the National Gallery, and the Churchill War Rooms, just to name a few.

Why the Household Cavalry Museum Should Be on Your Must-See List

If you’re looking for a low-key attraction to visit while in the midst of exploring the many historic museums, palaces, and government buildings of London’s incredible Westminster area, then the Household Cavalry Museum fills that niche quite well. Families with small children are particularly likely to enjoy the attraction’s hands-on exhibits, while witnessing a changing-of-the-guard ceremony provides visitors of all ages with a quintessential London experience.