London’s big day out
The Lord Mayor’s Show
9 November 2019
The Lord Mayor's Show winds through 804 years of turbulent London history, from its origins as a way for King John to keep London in line (didn't work) through centuries of mediæval carnival and imperial spectacle to become the world's first live outdoor broadcast and its longest-running TV show.
The modern Show is a joyful and diverse civic parade of over 6000 people, with dozens of marching bands, military detachments, carriages, dance troupes, giant contraptions and ceremonial displays. Every year is different and surprising, combining London's ancient pomp, rowdy patchwork heritage and modern dynamism to create a spectacle unlike anything else in the world.
There are no fireworks this year but the 2019 Show will once again include Show Zones at Paternoster and Bloomberg providing family entertainment and good food all day. It's the oldest, the biggest and the best free day out in London.
Leave your car at home! The roads are all closed, there’s nowhere to park and the rest of London is all jumbled up. Several tube and train stations will bring you out right on the processional route: St Pauls is on the outward leg, Blackfriars or Mansion House are on the return leg and Bank is right in the middle of everything.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is naturally accessible and enjoyable by everyone, and you will see many disabled people both taking part and joining the crowds to watch. Special parking arrangements are available for blue badge holders, and the grandstands include spaces set aside for wheelchair users. See our access page for maps, advice and useful contacts.
The Lord Mayor's Show shuts down the City of London for most of the day. There is no road access at all, either in or out, many bus services are diverted and every parking bay is closed. We regret the inconvenience this causes but the security of the Show is taken very seriously and no exceptions can be made.
The Lord Mayor’s Show enthusiastically embraces the Shakespearean view of life, a particularly English phenomenon founded in literature by the London Poet Chaucer, and described by another London author Dickens as “streaky bacon”. By this he meant that the way we do things here is to put the comic and the tragic against each other, we do coarse and we do grandeur. We do bawdy and we do elegance. In the first two or three hundred years after his death Shakespeare was heavily criticised by Classicists especially in France for this mixture. Well, the Lord Mayor’s Show perpetuates it. There is splendour and there is a knees-up.Melvyn Bragg, in his introduction to the 800th anniversary book. Click for more information.