How to do the Show
A collection of guides, tips, suggestions and ideas for making the most of the 2019 Lord Mayor's Show. You can also find useful answers in our FAQ ranging from the essential to the really quite unnecessary.
Have a family day out
The Lord Mayor's Show is a great day for kids with all sorts of activities and events alongside the main procession. If you would like to establish a base, we suggest the area around St Paul's and the Paternoster Square show zone. The zone has giant games, handicrafts, face-painting and other joyful diversions as well as fairground rides and food, and you can easily go in and out to watch the procession go by.
The most direct way to get there is St Paul's tube station, but it is likely to be busy. Aim for 10:30-11 and expect crowds. There is some seating in the square and a few cafes around in addition to the half a dozen food stalls, but anyone not used to City of London sandwich prices might like to bring a picnic.
The main stage in the Square has a big performance from the Haberdashers' Showband at 12:25 then several more acts before the final concert from London City Voices at 4.30. St Pauls Cathedral is free to enter on the day of the Show and did we mention there is quite a big public toilet underground in Paternoster Square? It's not accessible, but there is another in New Change that is.
- Story and art-based family activities and a historical perspective on the Lord Mayor's Show at Guildhall Art Gallery
- Lord Mayor's Art Club at the Barbican Children's Library from 2-3.30pm
- Celebrate the City with history-based family activities at the Museum of London all afternoon, and don't miss the new Beasts of London. And the rest of the Museum, of course.
Head for the party
Catch the start and end of the procession at Bank junction. This part of the Lord Mayor's journey squeezes down relatively narrow City streets past BBC cameras and very lively crowds. The head sets off from Mansion House at 11am. There is a bit of ceremony when the Lord Mayor climbs into the State Coach and joins the back of the procession at 12:05, and a lot more when they return at 14:38. In between you can head over to Paternoster Square for food and music.
- Lovers of banknotes and gold bars should head straight to the Bank of England Museum which is opening specially on the afternoon of the Show.
- Visit the old Royal Exchange for a pricy coffee in a very nice setting. Look out for the cats tea party at Fortnums...
Have a car-free London walking day
You can make a nice morning of it by walking in along the South Bank either from the Waterloo / Festival Hall side or from London Bridge. There are all sorts of things to do and places to find breakfast on the way, then walk over the Millennium Bridge to end up right next to St Paul's. The procession will pass by between 11:12 and 12:17, when the Lord Mayor briefly disembarks to receive a blessing on the steps of the South Transept.
Afterwards you have the Haberdashers' Showband at 12:25 in Paternoster Square, or you can find some lunch then watch the return procession coming up Queen Victoria Street between 1:30 and 2:40. At 3pm the City of London Guides are offering free walking tours from No 1 Poultry. They last about 40 minutes and take you to all sorts of strange and hidden corners of the City.
- The Museum of London is offering another even more historical walking tour, setting off from Paternoster Square at 12, 1, 2:20 and 3:20. You need to book a place, which you can do either in the square or in the museum.
- The City bridges are all lit up from 5pm in a special display to welcome the new Lord Mayor.
Avoid the crush
If your party is a bit less mobile or you don't feel like squeezing through crowds, we recommend the first part of the return leg of the procession. It sets off from Temple Avenue at 1:15pm and travels along the Embankment before turning up Queen Victoria Street to get back the Mansion House. There are fewer people here and the roads and pavements are a bit wider here. On the City side of Blackfriars it all gets quite busy again.