On the 11th of November at 11am, the UK and London will come together to honor all those in World War One, World War Two and all the battles since. Ceremonies and marches throughout London will take place. Want to know what Remembrance Day is all about, how you can watch the ceremonies and maybe even spot the Queen? Check it out below.
What is it?
On the 11th of November 1918 at 11am, World War One ended. Armistice Day, more commonly known as Remembrance Day is held each year on the second Sunday of November to commemorate not only the end of World War One but World War Two. It also serves as a day for the nation to remember and honour all those who fought for the UK in various wars and battles throughout the years, and served to protect the people and their freedom.
Each year, ceremonies take place at war memorials, cenotaphs and churches throughout the country. In London, the Royal Family and major political leaders gather at The Cenotaph in Whitehall for a memorial service, which is open to the public. Across the nation, you will also note that at 11am there is 2 minute silence observed. This is to remember all those who are no longer with us.
Throughout the year and leading up to Remembrance Day, you may also notice many people wearing red poppy pins. The poppies have become an iconic symbol of Remembrance Day as they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after World War One ended.
Paper and Plastic Red Poppy
In 1921, small paper and plastic poppies were made and sold to help raise money to help people who had fought in the wars. This tradition has carried on through the years and sales of poppies happen all year long. This powerful symbol even became an art installation at the Tower of London during 2014. Over 880 thousand ceramic poppies were created and put into place around the Tower of London to mark one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.
You can ready more on the installation here!
How can you take part in Remembrance Day?
To take part in small ways, you can buy and wear a red poppy! These are sold all around the UK and are often on a donation basis.
You can also take part in ceremonies happening in London. Remembrance Day happens to fall on Sunday 11th November this year. And there will be a parade, Cenotaph service and Thank You procession through Whitehall. There is even a chance to see the Queen!
To attend the ceremony, spectators can watch from the pavements along Whitehall and Parliament Street. It is on a first come, first serve basis, so we recommend getting there early!
The timeline below comes direct from the UK government site about the day.
- 08:00: Whitehall opens to the public. The public are advised to arrive early to secure a good view, as space is limited. Please allow time to clear the police security procedures and you are advised not to bring suitcases or large bags.
- 09:00: Royal British Legion (RBL) detachments form up on Horse Guards Parade and in Whitehall.
- 10:00: All detachments march out from Wellington Barracks.
- 11:00: Two minutes silence marked by the firing of guns from King’s Troop on Horse Guards Parade. Cenotaph Service commences.
- 11:25: Cenotaph Service concludes and Royal British Legion detachments disperse past the Cenotaph.
- 12:30: The Nation’s Thank You procession commences
- 13:30: The Nation’s Thank You procession ends
If you want more info, click here!
Things to Note
- If you’re planning on attending the ceremony, take note that public transport will be busy that day. Map your route and get there early!
- They do allow photography but ask that none are taking during the 2 minute silence at 11am. And no drones!
- There will be temporary public toilets for use but plan ahead
- Due to the high number of people who attend the march and ceremonies, it may be difficult for you to leave Whitehall before the end of the march. If you do need to leave, they recommend to position yourself close to an exit point.
If you attend the ceremony or march, be on the lookout for the Royal Family. Enjoy the day, and give thanks for all those who fought. Don’t forget your poppies!