Ceremony of Keys - worth it and where?

May 30th, 1999, 06:35 PM
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Ceremony of Keys - worth it and where?

I'll have to read my guide books a little closer but I don't recall any mention of "Ceremony of Keys", except in this forum (and, yes, I did a search under that heading).

What did you like about it? Or not? How do I arrange for tickets?


May 30th, 1999, 07:21 PM
wes fowler
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The Ceremony of the Keys, a 700 year old ritual, involves the nightly lockup of the Tower of London by its Warders. The ceremony is limited to small groups under the guidance of a Tower Warder and is by advanced reservation only. If you'd like to view the ceremony, pick up an International Reply Coupon at your post office. Include it in your request mailed to:

Ceremony of the Keys
2nd Floor
Waterloo Block
HM Tower of London

In your letter, indicate preferred dates you would like to view the ceremony; be sure to list alternate dates. Indicate the number of persons in your party and their names and addresses. Include a self addressed envelope measuring at least 5"x9" for the tickets. Expect a four to six week delay before receiving the tickets.

When you arrive at the outer gates of the Tower, to gain a better viewing position, you have two options: at the extreme left of everyone at the cobblestone line by the Bloody Gate so you can see the middle part of the ceremony where the distant outer gates are locked, or dead center at the Bloody Gate where the first and last parts of the ceremony take place.

For the last part, when the Yeoman instructs you to follow him, do so as closely as possible to see the end of the ceremony.

For the dialogue involved and pertinent information regarding the ceremony, check the website:


May 31st, 1999, 06:59 AM
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Sandra, I definitely think it is worthwhile. Our tickets arrived within 2 weeks. Its quite a contrast to go to the Tower in the day, (go before 11 am to beat the tours) then return at night with only a few people. We took the Tube at night and did not have any problems.
May 31st, 1999, 11:44 AM
Bob Brown
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The ceremony is interesting. We were there in December and it was bloody dark. One interesting aspect of the ceremony is this: the warders do in fact lock the gates quite securely, while ou are inside.
May 31st, 1999, 12:36 PM
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Well worth it to see the Ceremony.
Even though you may not take pictures inside the Tower during the Ceremony, I wish I had brought my camera because the Tower and the Tower Bridge all lit up at night would have made great pictures.
Being part of a 700 year ritual was real special.
May 31st, 1999, 12:46 PM
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We sent for tickets on April 5. I'm concerned because we haven't received any response yet and we are leaving for Europe in three weeks. Did anyone wait over eight weeks for tickets and still get them? Guess I'm wondering because so many people who responded to previous threads regarding the Ceremony of the Keys responded that they had received tickets in two to four weeks. If anyone lives in England and has experience with this, perhaps you could indicte whom I might call to see if the tickets have been lost in the mail. Thanks.
May 31st, 1999, 01:08 PM
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Few other notes:

We went there by Tube and back. The panhandlers roaming around the tube entrance during the days were all gone by that time and only saw very few late workers catching the tube. Tube we took after the ceremony had perhaps 5 or 6 people per train, all looked like late workers. We did not want to go thru the underpass between the tube station and the Tower entrance, that we were uncomfortable. So we dashed across the busy street to go back and forth to the tube station.

It is not necessary to arrive at the gate any earlier than the warden collects the ticket. You just get led to the customary bag inspection station and assemble again inside the gate to listen to the warden explain what would take place. I would have heard him better had it not been for 5 loud middle age American women who talked and giggled loudly during his explanation and all through the ceremony! After the explanation, he would lead you thru the gates to be locked later. This is when you follow him closely for a good view of the ceremony. He walks very fast. When the warden tells you to stand behind the line at the Bloody gate, you literally stand ON the line: that is your viewing position.

He would tell you to follow him closely when he tells you to move up near the end of the ceremony to have a good view. He means that literally, that is to follow him within the touching distance of this coat.
Jun 1st, 1999, 05:44 AM
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The Ceremony of the Keys was wonderful and not to be missed. We went to the Tower during the day and then back for the ceremony that night. I am glad that we toured it during the day, it was great having both impressions of the tower in the same day. It also made us more comfortable travelling the underground at night, since we knew exactly where we were going.
May 17th, 2002, 01:20 PM
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May 28th, 2002, 12:04 PM
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I definitely think it was worth it. like the others, we went first during the day (early to miss the crowds) then back at night. Great experience. The first request I made came back denied. They wanted full names, ages, relationship (to me), addresses of everyone in my party. So i sent a request again and received my tickets in no time.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 01:28 PM
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Just got my reservations in the mail. Turnaround was exactly two weeks. I gave them five dates in August and they picked the first one.

Jun 7th, 2002, 09:19 AM
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Topping for JoAnn
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