List of Gun Salutes at the Tower of London this year

Something for your diaries – the list of Gun Salutes that will take place at the Tower of London has been released.

Due to the tight space they operate in, if you want to get close to them, you really need to arrive very early. I turned up once about 40 minutes before they went Boom, and ended up watching from Tower Bridge as I just couldn’t see them from anywhere closer.

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Sadly, the pier next to the guns is also cleared, as that would be an awesome spot to photograph from (with ear plugs).

The guns are coincidentally aimed at the home of the London Mayor, but sadly — or fortunately, depending on your political persuasion —  fire blanks for the ceremonial firings.

The firings are usually carried out by the Honourable Artillery Company.

The basic Royal salute is 21 rounds. In Hyde Park an extra 20 rounds are added because it is a Royal Park.

At the Tower of London 62 rounds are fired on Royal anniversaries (the basic 21, plus a further 20 because the Tower is a Royal Palace and Fortress, plus another 21 ‘for the City of London’) and 41 on other occasions.

Mon 6th Feb1pmHM Queen’s Accession to the throne62 rounds
Sat 21st April1pmBirthday of HM Queen62 rounds
Wed 9th MayNoonState Opening of Parliament41 rounds
Sat 2nd June1pmHM Queen’s Coronation62 rounds
Sun 3rd June3:45pmDiamond Jubilee River Pageant62 rounds
Mon 11th JuneNoonBirthday of HRH Duke of Edinburgh62 rounds
Sat 16th June1pmOfficial Birthday of HM Queen62 rounds
Wed 14th Nov1pmBirthday of HRH Prince of Wales62 rounds


There are also salutes in Hyde Park and Green Park for several of those dates, although the full list is still to be confirmed. Those do tend to be easier to watch though.

Occasionally, HMS Belfast also fires some of its guns for testing. Famously, its forward six-inch guns of A and B Turrets are aimed at the London Gateway motorway service centre on the M1 motorway, some 12 miles away on the outskirts of London.

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3 comments on “List of Gun Salutes at the Tower of London this year
  1. Andy says:

    Hi. The above is very useful information. Can I ask how you know that the State Opening of Parliament in on 9 May 2012? I asked the House of Commons and they told me that the date had not yet been fixed.


  2. Gordon says:

    The gun fired on HMS Belfast is one of the anti-aircraft guns: I was present when one of the IWM staff held her leaving ‘do’ on Belfast, and was allowed to fire the gun to mark the event. She aimed it at City Hall too!

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