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Horse Guards and its Surroundings
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Horse Guards and its Surroundings

In the heart of historic London

Horse Guards sits in the heart of historic London, surrounded by many famous buildings and monuments.
Horse Guards Parade, where the annual Trooping the Colour takes place, was formerly the site of the Palace of Whitehall's tiltyard. Here tournaments were held in the time of Henry VIII.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

The Guards Memorial.

The red brick and white stone Old Admiralty Building (1904) dominates the north side of the Parade. Built in the Queen Anne style, its size reflects the importance attached to the naval arms race with Germany of the time.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

The Admiralty Citadel.

Next to it is the Admiralty Citadel (1941), a squat, windowless, ivy-covered World War II fortress. It was built with a hugely thick concrete roof as a bomb-proof operations centre for the Admiralty and a defensive stronghold in the event of a German invasion.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

The figures represent each of the Foot Regiments

The Banqueting House on Whitehall (1622), built by Inigo Jones, is the only surviving portion of Whitehall Palace. Here, King Charles I was executed. Nearby is the Cenotaph, Britain's principal war memorial, built at the end of World War I and a focal point of the nation's ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday each year. Close by are various equestrian statues of famous military commanders.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

Charles I's execution outside the Banqueting House.

Dover House (c.1755), south of Horse Guards, holds the Scotland Office. It has been home to a French ambassador and the romantic poet Lord Byron. Its rotunda-shaped entrance hall is unique in London.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

The Old Guard; Field Marshal Lord Wolseley (Crown Copyright); The Cadiz Memorial (Crown Copyright).

The most famous house overlooking the south side of Horse Guards Parade is 10 Downing Street (1684), home of British prime ministers for over 200 years, a warren of over 100 rooms. Beyond it, is the imposing Foreign Office building (1868), Italianate in style and designed by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. In the 1960s, proposed demolition was prevented by public outcry. The building is open to the public each year over Open House Weekend.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

A 16th-century Turkish cannon, captured in Egypt 1801. (Crown Copyright)

Just round the corner lie the Cabinet War Rooms (1938), constructed as an underground headquarters for the British government during World War II and the meeting place for Churchill's War Cabinet.

Horse Guards and its Surroundings

The Old Admiralty Building.

Horse Guards Parade is also home to many military monuments, including statues of three Field Marshals: Kitchener standing, Roberts and Wolseley on horseback; a sixteenth-century Turkish cannon captured in Egypt in 1801; the Cadiz Memorial (c.1812), a French mortar mounted on a cast-iron Chinese dragon; the Guards Memorial (1926) commemorating the First Battle of Ypres and other battles of World War I; and the Royal Naval Division Memorial (1925). Finally, on the south side, is a statue of Admiral of the Fleet, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, a former Colonel of The Life Guards.

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