Ceremony of the Keys at Tower of London

Aug 22nd, 2008, 11:34 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8
Ceremony of the Keys at Tower of London

This is our first trip abroad and to London. We have tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. We are staying near Westminster Abbey. Is it safe to use the underground to and from the Ceremony since it is late at night 9:30 to 10:00 pm? Or should we get a cab to and from for safety?
mKaren is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 01:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
yes it's safe & 10:30pm isn't late
alanRow is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 01:44 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,700
Not only safe, but pleasant sort of. Actually, if I had any energy left at that time in the evening, I would cross the Thames and walk along the SouthBank back to the Westminster area. It is a lovely walk and still lots of people about but not the crowds there are earlier in the evening. If just too tired, walk part way and then hop a bus. I much prefer the evening walk along the south side of the river, rather than the north side. It is designed for strolling.
cynthia_booker is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 02:04 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,577
Once you've been - you'll chuckle about even asking this question

Re the Keys Ceremony - do not arrive even 1 minute late. Give yourselves a bit of a cushion for your travel time.
janisj is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 02:13 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,699
Very safe, you'll be amazed how many people ride the Tube after 10:30.

I second janisj's suggestion about arriving early to make sure you are at the right entrance on time. I would suggest that you tour the Tower that day, so you'll have a better understanding of the ceremony and the location.
emily71 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 02:22 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,577
Re visiting the Tower the same day - if it fits in your schedule, that is totally fine. But the Tower closes several hours before you have to be back there for the Ceremony - giving you a lot of time to kill on the east side of London.

There are things to do - like walking along the southbank etc - but other tourist attractions will mostly also be closed during that time.

So, if you can, I'd personally try to plan your visit to the Tower on a different day. Treat them as two totally different events. Tour the Tower one day - attend the Ceremony of the Keys another day.
janisj is online now  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 08:57 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8
Thanks for all the responses. We feel much better since reading your comments.
mKaren is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 11:40 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7
Will be travelling to London on the 18th of October and would like to attend Ceremony of the Keys, but I understand you can only get tickets by mail. Can you please let me know about how long it takes to receive them?
EuroTravel is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 11:46 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,577
EuroTravel: It usually only takes a couple of weeks to hear back - but be sure to include a range of dates when you can attend.

If you request - say 19 October - and it is already booked up, then you have to start the process all over again.

So if you are for example, in London 18 - 22 Oct, request any dates that would be possible on your first request. And be sure to follow all the steps - International Reply Coupon, names of everyone in your party, etc. Skip something and they'll kick it back to you and you are back at square 1.
janisj is online now  
Aug 24th, 2008, 11:52 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7
Thanks janisj. We've been able to locate the International Reply Coupons, but wasn't sure if we had time to write and receive a reply before we left.
Thanks for your advice!
EuroTravel is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 05:48 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
EuroTravel, we received our tickets in a matter of days, not weeks. It was much shorter than the time the website advised.
noe847 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 05:55 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
While it's true the Tube doesn't run 24/7 like the NYC subway - even in London 10:00 pm isn't late. Many people will just be finishing dinner and theaters will not have broken yet.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 05:59 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,577
The last 4 times I've ordered Keys Ceremony tickets it has taken 8, 12, 7, and 13 days respectively to receive them- which is why I said it takes a couple of weeks.
janisj is online now  
Aug 25th, 2008, 06:06 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 234
We went to the Ceremony of the Keys on a Saturday night in late July 2008. We visited the Tower the morning of the day before. I was glad we did not try to do them both in the same day and glad that we had done the tour before the ceremony.

You don't really get to see much of the tower during the ceremony. The ceremony itself is the thing. If you've already seen the tower before it will place the ceremony in context.

Also, as was mentioned, best to see the tower in the morning and then it would be a long day to fill to get back out there again at 9:30 pm. I don't see any advantage of doing both on the same day unless it just is the only way to work out your schedule.

Also, it was quite breezy and chilly by the river at 9:30 at night, so even if the days are warm be sure to take a jacket for the ceremony.

As to the tube..I agree with everyone that the tube will be safe and fine...and at the end you will be joined by most of the people you've just spent the last 45 minutes with at the ceremony all walking toward the tube entrance at the same time.
LynAK is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 01:20 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
janisj, I hope you didn't think I was contradicting you - I was trying to underscore what you said and reassure mKaren that the guidelines on the website (as I remember them) were overstated.
noe847 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:12 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10
Can you please tell me where I might find International Reply Coupons? My husband tried two different post offices, and they said that they have been discontinued at USPS.
Thanks in advance for your help!
NewHoper is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:22 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 143
NewHoper, The coupons are available at the Post Office. If they don't have them on hand, they can order them for you.
JJ127 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:28 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
The USPS web site still lists international reply coupons. I had to call several local post offices to find a location that sold them.

http://www.usps.com/prices/extra-services-prices.htm
adrienne is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:03 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,812
We took the tube back after the ceremony. We did NOT take the underground passage back to the tube station; we walked across the street (dodging cars trying to run us over even at the late hour.) Once we got to the station, we felt safe all the way back to our hotel.
greg is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:04 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,577
"they said that they have been discontinued at USPS."

That's very common - I think many PO staff will say that just to get rid of you. IRC's definitely have not been discontinued. If it were me when a clerk tried to pull that, I'd ask to speak to his/her supervisor. And if the Supv repeated it - tell them you are contacting the local postmaster.

Here locally about 4 or 5 of the branches have them in stock (out of about 25 - 30 total). So I either travel to one of those branches - or have my local branch order them for me.
janisj is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:09 PM.