Ceremony of the Keys

Old Feb 17th, 2002, 10:36 AM
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Ceremony of the Keys

Could someone point me to a website <or perhaps just explain here> about the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower?

Thank you.......
Old Feb 17th, 2002, 10:44 AM
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The Tower of London website describes the keys Ceremony (I don't have the URL at hand but should be easy enought to find)

Basically it is a "locking up" ceremony that has been performed continuously for 400+ years. The Tower of London is still a Royal Palace and "fort". there are still active duty military in residense. eash night just after 10PM the outer and inner gates of the Tower are secured in the name of the reigning monarch.

In modern times, up to 50 people are admitted each night - by free advance tickets - to observe the ceremony.
Old Feb 17th, 2002, 11:14 AM
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Old Feb 17th, 2002, 11:32 AM
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Message: For anyone interested in the Ceremony of the Keys, you need to know the following information concerning admission:
1. All requests for admission must be in writing. They do not take phone calls or email requests, and your concierge can't get you tickets.
2. Admission is limited. You should make your request as early as possible, particularly during the busy tourist season. Basically, the earlier you request a certain date(s), the more likely you are to get it.
3. Send your request to:
The Ceremony of the Keys
Queens House
HM Tower of London
London EC3N 4AB
United Kingdom
4. If possible, specify several alternative dates when you can attend.
5. Provide the full names, addresses and ages of each person in your party. (I'm not sure but there appears to be some limit on the size of groups, and on the age of children admitted (over 8 years old).
6. Include with your request a self-addressed envelope and (for those outside the UK), an International Reply Coupon (available at any post office). Some posters have said that two coupons are required, but I have not found that to be true. If mailing from the U.S., make sure you send your request airmail with the proper amount of postage required for international airmail.
7. You should receive your response in two to three weeks.
8. On the date selected, you must be at the Tower by 9:30 p.m. No photography is allowed.
Old Feb 17th, 2002, 11:45 AM
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Add'l info -

the max number is 7 (or at least it was a couple of years ago so that may have changed)

One International reply coupon is all that is needed

If you leave out the names (and address of anyone with a different last name) of each person they will only return it and you have to start over.

If the specific date you want is full they will send you a letter and you will need to start over -- so if you are in London several days - list all possible dates in your first letter.

And DO NOT BE LATE. Be there ready to enter the gate at 9:30 sharp -- even one minute late and you are out of luck.

You will only receive one ticket for the entire party - so be sure to make clear "If you are late we are going in without you!!"
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 12:55 PM
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We saw the COK last March. basically it is a short interesting ceremony and a chance to see (a very small part of) the tower at dark. You are ushered in by a yoman warder and stand by the traitors gate looking north through the portcullis toward the white tower. You are instructed to remain quiet throughout. the Ceremony consists of the head guy (with Lantern) going to get an escort then ceremonially locking up the front gate, on his return, he is challenged by the sentry "who goes there!" The head guy identifies himself as queen elizabeths keys and proceeds. Then the ceremony moves forward into the tower (Crowd follows) and there is so more banter, and taps (or something similar) is played. Thats it. The whole experience was over by 10pm. the ceremony itself lasting like 10 minutes. Still I would highly reccomend this. I thought it was one of the highlights of our two weeks in england, and something that most tourists don't get to do.
Old Apr 6th, 2002, 09:49 AM
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FYI - the Tower website and several guidebooks recommend sending your request at least six weeks in advance. While I suspect this is best during the high season, the turnaround right now is pretty quick. I just got my pass today for a weekday ceremony in late May, about 10 days after I mailed it off.
Old Apr 6th, 2002, 12:53 PM
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DUH - Am I missing something? You mailed the request 10 days ago for a trip in late May. On my calendar that is more than 6 weeks in advance. They mean send in your request at least 6 weeks before you need the tickets - NOT that it takes 6 weeks to get an answer.
Old Apr 6th, 2002, 12:56 PM
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I meant to add - the reason for the long advance requests is they often have to mail back to you with questions about your group, or to offer other dates if your dates are full.
Old Apr 6th, 2002, 09:10 PM
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just sharing my observations, however unhelpful the peanut gallery may be - i was merely left with the impression that it might be a long wait.
Old May 17th, 2002, 01:24 PM
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topping for Sandra
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