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 incredible obstacles, not least 2020's Covid-19 pandemic, which saw plans for the event cancelled entirely. The outgoing Lord Mayor didn't miss out on his day in the spotlight though; William Russell has served two years in office, and took part in the 2019 parade.
When is the Lord Mayor's Show 2021?
The 2021 Lord Mayor's Show takes place on 13 November 2021.
Who is the new Lord Mayor 2021?
The 693rd Lord Mayor of London has been announced as Vincent Keaveny, who takes over from William Russell. He's a partner in business law firm DLA Piper.
Lord Mayor's Show 2021 events: schedule of the day
At time of writing, we're still waiting for 2021 details to be finalised (that pesky pandemic has rather got in the way of planning). What we do know is that the show will go ahead in some form unless we're back in lockdown. It's unlikely the grandstand seating will be provided this year, but other than that, we're hopeful things will proceed as normal.
Here's what's happened in previous years, which we hope to see again in 2021:
- Procession: An epic three-mile long procession, which takes about an hour and a quarter to pass a single point, winds its way through the City, beginning at Mansion House (11am in previous years) and finishing at the Royal Courts of Justice. At this point, the new Lord Mayor spends an hour and a half at the Royal Courts, before rejoining the procession at Temple Place and heading back to Mansion House. Everything from military bands to corporate floats, and 200+ horses has featured in previous processions, though of course things may be scaled back this year.
- Festival Zones: Funfair rides, food stalls art exhibitions and live entertainment all took place at festival zones in locations such as Paternoster Square and Bloomberg Arcade. 2021 details TBC.
Who's in the Lord Mayor's Parade?
It's a three-mile long procession, so they pack a lot in. In 2019 we saw military bands, giant teapots, dragons, African drummers, an inflatable pig, a Red Dwarf Starbug, 6,500 people, 120 horses and over 60 decorated floats. So perhaps it's more a question of who's not in the Lord Mayor's Parade (guess our invite got lost in the post...)
Where to watch the Lord Mayor's Show 2021
It's free to stand and watch the procession — the world's oldest and longest civic procession — pretty much anywhere along the route, though of course it's advisable to avoid large crowds this year.
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:
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 13 November 2021 — keep an eye on the official website for the latest updates when they're announced.