What is the Lord Mayor's Show?
It's an annual event, taking place in the City of London to celebrate the new Lord Mayor taking on the role. This longstanding tradition is bursting with pomp and ceremony.
In 1215, King John was persuaded to let the City of London elect its own mayor, with one major condition; each year the new mayor must travel from the City to Westminster to swear loyalty to the crown. Those are the origins of the Lord Mayor's Show which has run for more than 800 years, despite some major obstacles, not least 2020's Covid-19 pandemic, which saw plans for the event cancelled entirely.
When is the Lord Mayor's Show 2023?
The 2023 Lord Mayor's Show takes place on Saturday 11 November 2023.
Who is the new Lord Mayor 2023?
The 695th Lord Mayor of London has been announced as Seattle-born economist, accountant, and scientist, Alderman Michael Mainelli, who takes over from Nicholas Lyons.
Lord Mayor's Show and Parade 2023 events and route: schedule of the day
This year, the Lord Mayor's Show coincides with Armistice Day (Remembrance Sunday is the following day), so the schedule begins with a two-minute silence at 11am. Immediately after this (11.03am to be precise — there's no question that the military is involved in this event), the parade begins to leave Mansion House, the Lord Mayor's official residence.
It's an epic three-mile long procession (the procession being longer than the actual route), taking about an hour and a quarter to pass a single point. It winds its way through the City, beginning at Mansion House, via Cheapside and St Paul's Cathedral, and arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice at 12.32pm.
At this point, the new Lord Mayor spends some time inside the Royal Courts to swear an oath of allegiance, before rejoining the procession at Temple Place (1.10pm) and heading back to Mansion House. If you want a quieter or less crowded experience, head to the Embankment area between 1.15pm-2.30pm to watch the parade on its return journey.
Following the procession, free walks led by City of London guides are available from outside Bank, between 3pm-4pm. You can also get free entry to the cathedral floor at St Paul's Cathedral until 3.30pm, or ascend to the Dome Galleries for just £10, though this too is likely to be very busy.
Who's in the Lord Mayor's Parade 2023?
It's a three-mile long procession, so they pack a lot in. 7,000 people, 250 horses, and over 50 decorated floats are expected to take part this year — the full participant list will be available on the Lord Mayor's Show website closer to the time, but it usually includes military bands, Taiko drummers, mounted knights, and has on occasion included a 1955 Austin Champ, and a very large inflatable pig.
Representatives from charities, schools, community groups, musicians, performers, financial institutions, military bands, and Livery companies will be involved. Look out for the Ukraine-themed float, created by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to show support to Ukrainian people.
The absolute highlight, though, is the golden State Coach, which has been used in every Lord Mayor's Show since 1757, and is the oldest ceremonial vehicle in regular use in the world. It's previously been on show in the Museum of London, but it looks like it's now in storage ahead of the museum's move.
Where to watch the Lord Mayor's Show and Parade 2023
It's free to stand and watch the procession — the world's oldest and longest civic procession — pretty much anywhere along the route, and around 250,000 people usually turn up to do so.
It can be seen between 11am-12pm in the area between Bank and St Paul's, but lesser-known is the stretch between Temple and Blackfriars on the return journey, which tends to draw fewer crowds. Get to this area between 1.15pm-2.30pm for the best experience.
Remember, if you want to see the full length of the parade, it's expected to take an hour and a quarter to pass you so... comfy shoes, and maybe a cagoule, this being London.
Here's a look at the 2019 Lord Mayor's Show, to give you an idea of what to expect:
Is the Lord Mayor's Show shown on TV?
If you can't make it in person, there will be live coverage on BBC One and online, with commentary by former BBC Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills.
Getting to the Lord Mayor's Show
Be aware that there are road closures right along the route and the surrounding roads on the day of the Lord Mayor's Parade, with many buses on diversion — meaning getting to the event by car, bus or bike isn't an option. Instead, your best bet is to get to one of the nearest train or tube stations and walk to the route from there. Note that the District, Circle, Metropolitan and Jubilee lines are all closed until 3pm, so Bank or St Paul's stations are your best bet.
What's the Lord Mayor's 'ghost parade'
Once a year, in the early hours of the morning, the City of London's streets come alive with horses, carriages and police, for an event informally known as the 'ghost parade'. It's the rehearsal for the Lord Mayor's Show, when the organisers take advantage of the 3.30am lack of traffic to check the parade's timings, to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day. We went along in 2019 to find out what it was all about.
The Lord Mayor's Show takes place on 11 November 2023 — keep an eye on the official website for the latest updates.