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Ceremony of the Keys - Logistics with a young child

Ceremony of the Keys - Logistics with a young child

Feb 24th, 2012, 11:46 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 158
Ceremony of the Keys - Logistics with a young child

I already have the tickets for four persons, including a 7 year old and a 1 year old. It now turns out, somewhat last minute, that my husband will not be able to attend and it will be up to myself to get us (myself and kids) there and back. I was already somewhat hesitant to take the 1 year old there, but now that my husband will not be coming, I am even more concerned that it may be too much for us, esp. given the late start time (a time at which the baby would usually be in bed). Nonetheless, *I* would love to see it, and I think my 7 year old would enjoy it as well.

Here are my questions/concerns:

1. Are strollers allowed during the tour? I have never been and wonder if there will be stairs, etc., that make a stroller a hassle. If the stroller is a problem, then I will take the baby carrier.

2. Is the whole tour very hush - hush and formal/tense? WIll having a one year old who may make some noises be a huge damper on the rest of the visitors?

2. Will it be OK for us to show up as three persons, even though our ticket is for four? I assume so, but just wanted to make sure.

3. We are staying in Covent Garden, and this is our first visit to London. We are used to public transport (we are currently living in Munich), but being as I have not used PT in London, I am a little concerned about getting to/from with the girls at night. My understanding is that in general, using a stroller will be challenging on the Tube as there are not many elevators. If my husband were with me, he could help me carry the stroller up/down stairs. Will a taxi be a terribly expensive and/or difficult option?

4. Our tickets are for early April. Has anyone ever requested a change in date for the ticket? And with so little time to spare?

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
eluckhardt is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,626
I've been twice to the Ceremony of the Keys.

I don't know whether a stroller is allowed. I don't recall many steps, if there were any at all. Once you enter (through the Middle Gate, I believe) it's a very short walk to where you stand - pretty much in front of Traitor's Gate.

Both times I went it was pretty much silent on the parts of the people attending. The Ceremony is well, a ceremony - so everyone was very quiet and attentive once it started.

I don't think it's a problem if less than the number of people specified on the ticket attend - we didn't have a problem entering with two people when our ticket specified four.
chepar is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
I've been once and it was three years ago, but I don't recall any steps either. However, given your concerns about the Tube as well, it sounds like it would be easier in general to just use the baby carrier if your youngest does well in it. As chepar said, it's a very quiet ceremony. "Reverent" is the best word I can come up with for the atmosphere at ours. We had some people who were chatty and the guard made sure that they were quiet before the ceremony officially began.

I don't think you'll have a problem with only three on the ticket. However, if you can find an email address or phone number, it might be nice to let the "authorities" know that you will have one spot you're not using, so they could potentially allow someone else to observe the ceremony.

As far as a stroller on the Tube in general, it will take you longer to get everywhere if you have to deal with it, especially if you *have* to use the elevator to get anywhere (not every station even has elevators). If you have an umbrella stroller that folds up easily rather than a big one, this would be a good time to use it.
jent103 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,069
I sort of hestitate to say this but it's a quiet, serious ceremony and a one year old who could make noise would be quite distracting and possibly annoying for everyone else. I know that you want to go, is there any way someone could mind the little one and you just go with your older child?

With the stroller on the tube, you will have stairs to go up and down but usually someone will stop and give you a hand at one end of the stroller. When my husband and I lived in London we would do this fairly often, people don't mind and often don't even ask, they just pick up one end and start up the stairs.

You could write and ask for a different date but say that if that's not possible, you will keep the ticket for the original date - unless you change your mind about going.

One other thing, they open up The Tower just to let people in for the Ceremony, so don't be late. They consider opening The Tower gates a serious thing.

KayF is online now  
Feb 24th, 2012, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I believe there are cobbles where you stand for the ceremony. And no one speaks during it although it's a very short ceremony. If you one year old starts making noise no one will be able to hear what the person is saying.

you can enter with few people than is specified on your ticket but I agree that you should let them know as you are keeping someone else from seeing the closing ceremony.

Don't be late is correct - you won't be let in if they have closed the gates. When I went there were people who showed up a minute or two after the gates closed and they were calling through the railing but were totally ignored.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I don't think 3 versus 4 is a problem. And I think you could manage with a bay carrier - but in a cab not trying to hang onto a 7 year old and manage an infant.

BUT, I really don;t think an infant belongs here. While not a very formal religius ceremony - it is a solemn occassion - and if the baby started fussing you would have to leave.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,800
3 vs. 4 is no problem at all. I've been more than a dozen times and believe me, not every time did my whole party make it in time.

"2. Is the whole tour very hush - hush and formal/tense? WIll having a one year old who may make some noises be a huge damper on the rest of the visitors?"

Not 'formal', but yes VERY hush/quiet.

Sorry, but I think it isn't a venue/event appropriate for a 1 yo. It is cold, dark, quiet. Everyone needs to stand in very close quarters and not move about/wiggle/kick/giggle -- normal 1 yo stuff.

Having your husband along wouldn't help BTW. If the baby has a 'spell' -- you can't leave like you could in a restaurant or museum. You'd be stuck there w/ a screaming child.

If a different date works, write to the Tower and request an alternate. They will accommodate you if they can. But I honestly think you should get a baby sitter for the 1 yo.
janisj is online now  
Feb 25th, 2012, 09:29 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 158
Thank you all for your insight and comments. Greatly appreciated.

I understand that many will be unhappy if they see a young one at the ceremony, let alone if she starts fussing. I will look into the babysitter option, as I did not consider it (we don't usually have a babysitter available). But, I have a cousin who lives in London and perhaps she can watch the one year old. It certainly would make things much easier.
eluckhardt is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,800
"I understand that many will be unhappy if they see a young one at the ceremony, "

Oh - no one will mind seeing him/her . . . It's the hearing that is the problem
janisj is online now  
Apr 11th, 2012, 04:28 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 158
Just a quick update. We tried to get tickets on another night, but were unable to. In the end, my husband was able to come back and meet us, and we both wound up going with the two kids. There were several other kids there, as well as another baby in a stroller. I walked our little one down to sleep (in the stroller) before the ceremony began, and she stayed asleep the entire time. Not a peep from her!

I felt pretty confident that she would fall asleep before the ceremony began (it was 10:30 pm our (Munich) time, so she was beyond tired). Otherwise, we probably would not have gone into the ceremony. I agree with many of you that it is not the place for a fussy little toddler. Using a stroller there was no problem.

Thanks all for your comments/suggestions. We had a great time.
eluckhardt is offline  
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