Household Cavalry Museum
The Household Cavalry Museum located at Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, offers visitors a chance to look at the duties and operations of the Household Cavalry, the senior regiment of the British Army. The museum presents a wide array of exhibits which includes striking guard uniforms among other items. Visitors are allowed to try on genuine guard helmets and also have the opportunity to see troopers as they prep up their horses.
The museum is one of the most popular attractions in London as it gives tourists an insight into the Royal British cavalry tradition and history.
The Household Cavalry Museum was opened in 2007. It sits in one of the most historic buildings in all of London. Horse Guards in Whitehall has served as the headquarters of the Household Division since 1750.
Formed by King Charles II in 1661, the Household Cavalry has been serving as the Queen’s Life Guard for more than 350 years. The Household Cavalry is tasked to perform two important functions - to guard the Queen during official ceremonies in Great Britain and fighting troops that can be deployed to different parts of the world. The Household Cavalry regularly sends personnel on war torn places like Afghanistan and Iraq, to help maintain peace and order.
Part of the museum’s floor is made out of cobbled stone. Dismounted sentries that guard the official entry into the royal residences can be found outside the museum. Guests normally have their photographs taken with guards and soldiers on the entrance prior to entering the museum.
Upon being ushered into the museum, visitors can get a behind-the-scenes access to the Household Cavalry’s working stable block. A visit to the museum will enable vistors to witness the horses being fed, groomed, or their saddles being prepared. The museum display teaches visitors about horse riding and training, and how members of the Household Cavalry gain complete mastery of their horses. It is also possible to try on the various uniforms of the troops.
As the Household Cavalry has been protecting the Queen and the Commonwealth for the past 350 years, it has also amassed an impressive collection of unique items ranging from ceremonial uniforms, horse furniture, royal emblems, awards and even musical instruments.
One of the more interesting items on display is a couple of silver kettledrums that were awarded to the Household Cavalry by William IV. There is also the exact pistol ball that injured Sir Robert Hill in the battle of Waterloo. The museum also still has in display the cork leg of Marquess of Anglesy, who unfortunately lost his leg in a battle.
There are more contemporary items in the museum’s collection like the football cap of footballer Jacky Charlton who once served the regiment, and the bridle of the horse injured during the bombing of Hyde Park in 1982.