lord mayor stage coach

How to get around London during the Lord Mayor’s Show 2023

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a standout event in the London calendar. It has been running in the City of London for over 800 years, dating back to the 13th Century. But, does it affect your travel around London?

We delve into the Lord Mayor’s Show, what it is, where you can watch it, and the restrictions on travel including road closures around London on Saturday 11th November 2023.

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What is the Lord Mayor’s Show?

The Lord Mayor’s Show is an annual event on the second Saturday in November that consists of a ceremonial parade through the City of London

Dates for the event have changed over the 800 years since the procession started, as Britain initially followed the Julian calendar, and now the UK follows the Gregorian calendar.

The show started in 1215 when the City of London’s mayor (different from the Mayor of London) had to swear allegiance to the monarchy, at the time King John. It has evolved over the years to become a celebrity spectacle for the London population. Eventually, the Mayor became the Lord Mayor, hence the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Where can you watch it?

Spectators can stand along the route and watch the procession pass. If you would like to see the procession in its full glory in person it is recommended that you are in the area between Bank and St Pauls from 11am to 12pm. However, you should arrive early as crowds do fill up.

Every year the BBC televises a special event showing the Lord Mayor’s Show, usually on BBC One.

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The Lord Mayor’s Show route

In the past, the Lord Mayor’s Show route changed every year to pass through the Lord Mayor’s home ward. Since 1952 the route has been fixed and is broken down into five sections:

  • The Start – The bands will march from Guildhall to the Royal Courts of Justice
  • The Middle – The floats join the pageantry marching the route
  • The Stage Coach – The Lord Mayor joins the procession
  • The End – Support vehicles following the Lord Mayor’s Stage Coach
  • The Return – Following the oath of allegiance the procession reforms and returns via a different route to Mansion House

The Start

At the start of the procession, the Coldstream and Grenadier Guards set off at 11am from Mansion House. They approach Prince Street, past Bank Junction and then head to St Paul’s Cathedral. The bands march past the new Lord Mayor on the balcony towards the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Middle

Before the Lord Mayor leaves the balcony, around 80 floats join the procession. They follow the same route, marching past the crowds in an almost carnival-like fashion.

The Stage Coach

After the floats, the Lord Mayor joins the pageantry. Rather than descend from the balcony into a chauffeured Rolls Royce the Lord Mayor enters the traditional gold Stage Coach. This usually is about one hour after the bands of Coldstream and Grenadier Guards start the march. Decorated with gold and pulled by six horses, the Stage Coach is difficult to miss.

The End

Once the Stage Coach has reached the Royal Courts of Justice, it is followed by a number of support vehicles. Subsequently, the Lord Mayor enters the Courts, swears an oath of allegiance to the King’s Bench the starts the return journey.

The Return

Now that the oath of allegiance has been sworn, the Lord Mayor returns to the Stage Coach to travel back to Mansion House. The route changes for the procession to march past Embankment, Victoria Street all the way back to Mansion House. If you want to watch the show in a less busy area the return is ideal for you.

Travel around London during the Lord Mayor’s Show

As the procession is a circular route, most of the City of London (central London) has roads closed from 7am on the day and in the Bank area 6am. Below you will find a map of the closed roads during the Lord Mayor’s Show.

lord mayor show road closures

No traffic will be able to pass through whatsoever, this includes buses. Buses will be diverted and parking suspended. 

The best way to get around during the show will be either walking or using the London Underground.

Road Closures during the Lord Mayor’s Show

From the official Lord Mayor’s Show website: “The closed area extends from Kingsway in the East to Bishopsgate in the west, and from the river up to Holborn and Chapterhouse Street. All those perimeter roads are open; everything between them is closed.”

The main road closures during the Lord Mayor’s Show include:

  • Blackfriars Bridge
  • Embankment
  • Bank
  • Liverpool Street
  • City Road
  • Barbican
  • Smithfield
  • Aldwych

Most roads are closed from 7am to 3.30pm with a few exceptions. Normality will completely resume by around 4.30pm on the 12th of November 2022.

Will the Underground be open?

Yes, the London Underground will remain open and operational. If you are travelling to watch the show, then the Central line and the Northern line around the City of London will be much busier than usual.

The rest of the Underground will still be open with a normal Saturday service.

Get in touch with Chauffeur Cars of London

If you wish to arrive at the Lord Mayor’s Show at a specific time, you can not go wrong with a chauffeur-driven vehicle. At Chauffeur Cars of London, we know exactly where we can go on the day of the event. Call us to discuss your needs or fill in our enquiry form.

Featured image: V-LEIBIUK / Shutterstock.com