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.
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 Feb||1pm||HM Queen’s Accession to the throne||62 rounds|
|Sat 21st April||1pm||Birthday of HM Queen||62 rounds|
|Wed 9th May||Noon||State Opening of Parliament||41 rounds|
|Sat 2nd June||1pm||HM Queen’s Coronation||62 rounds|
|Sun 3rd June||3:45pm||Diamond Jubilee River Pageant||62 rounds|
|Mon 11th June||Noon||Birthday of HRH Duke of Edinburgh||62 rounds|
|Sat 16th June||1pm||Official Birthday of HM Queen||62 rounds|
|Wed 14th Nov||1pm||Birthday of HRH Prince of Wales||62 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.