The weather forecast is good, so what could be a better way to spend a Tuesday evening than sipping a cup of Pimms while watching a demonstration of military prowess on a cricket ground?

Just around the corner from Old Street tube station lies the main parade ground of the Honourable Artillery Company – and Tuesday will be their annual military display.

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The loud explosions and gunfire also has an amusing tendency to scare the heck out of local residents who don’t know about these things. It is an annual event, but I presume housing turnover in the Hoxton and Shoreditch media land is fairly rapid as people always seem surprised by it each year.

The event is however open to the public — completely free of charge, and always worth a visit, especially to see inside the historic Armoury House and its new museum. Map link

A series of historic enactments are typically followed by some rather more aggressive displays of modern military firepower that delight children and adults alike.

Set piece displays will include:

  • Guns and horses display by the Kings Troop, RHA
  • A display by 17th Century Pikemen & Musketeers of the HAC
  • A display by the HAC Band and Corps of Drums
  • A display by the Light Cavalry HAC

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There will also be a parachute drop into the main grounds – weather permitting. This was the event that went slightly wrong a couple of years ago as it was too windy, and the test parachutist landed on the main road outside, in front of a double-decker bus.

A parachute drop probably also means a huge Chinook helicopter will be in the grounds, and usually that you can have a look inside. There should also a selection of other weapons, and some tanks/armoured vehicles to have a look at climb inside if you ask nicely.

The grounds open at 5:30pm with the main events starting (if I recall correctly) from 6:30pm.

There is a pay bar (for the Pimms and beers) and free army BBQ.

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Officially, this is an event to show off the Territorial Army, but the sales pitch is quite relaxed and it is a very good evening out.

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