Experience the Ceremony of the Keys

Be part of this 700-year-old ancient ceremony

Be part of this 700-year-old ancient ceremony

When

  • Daily
21:30-22:05

Ticketing information

Tickets are free but must be pre-booked. Bookings are available online only. 

Please note: this event is very popular. Tickets are released every six months.

We are unable to offer a waiting list for this event.

Free (advanced booking required)

What is the Ceremony of the Keys?

Footsteps echo in the darkness. The sentry cries out, 'Halt, who comes there?' The Yeoman Warder replies, 'The keys.' 'Whose keys?' 'Queen Elizabeth's keys.' 'Pass then, all's well.'

Aside from the monarch's name, this is the exact exchange that has been spoken for centuries and forms part of the traditional 'locking up' of the Tower of London.

Set amidst the mighty battlements of this ancient historic fortress, the Ceremony of the Keys is one of the oldest and most colourful surviving enactments of its kind. Although the monarch may no longer reside at the Tower, the Crown Jewels and many other invaluable objects still do, therefore its importance is still paramount today.

Important information for ticket holders

Tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys must be booked in advance.  It becomes fully booked very quickly.

Tickets for dates from May 2020 to October 2020 will become available on 1 November 2019.  We are fully booked up to April 2020.

Please bring the e-ticket accessed via the link on your booking confirmation. Visitors will be admitted to the Tower under escort at 21:30 precisely. Late arrivals will not be admitted. 

The ceremony concludes at 22:05 after which all visitors are escorted to the exit. There are no toilet or refreshment facilities available.

Booking conditions

  • Tickets are non-transferable and we are not able to change names on bookings under any circumstances.
  • There is a maximum number of tickets that are available to any one applicant: 6 tickets from 1 April - 31 October and 12 tickets from 1 November - 31 March.
  • Multiple bookings under the same name or address will be cancelled and will be refused entry on the night.
  • We do not accept bookings by groups, schools or third parties, tour operators etc. Any bookings will be cancelled.
  • We are not able to offer a waiting list.
  • Photography is not permitted during any part of the ceremony.

Has your preferred date sold out? 

  • Tickets for any cancelled bookings will be released onto the booking system again. 
  • There is no waiting list for this event - please check the website regularly for up-to-date availability. 
Woman and child interacting with exhibition objects
Families Things to see

Shoot arrows, assemble firearms and brandish a sword in this exciting, hands-on experience in the White Tower.

Open daily

Tower of London

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Chief Yeoman Warder carrying the Tower keys
Events Member only

Member-only access to the traditional locking up of the Tower of London, the Ceremony of the Keys.

21 April, 26 May and 16 June 2019

Tower of London

21:30

Free (advanced booking required)

Detail of windows on the White Tower viewed from the North
Events Member only

Join Dr Eleanor OKeeffe talking about the changing practices of remembrance.

13 May 2019

Hampton Court Palace

12:00

Separate ticket (advanced booking required)

Large rustic metal key ornament inspired by the ancient Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.

Large rustic metal key ornament

Inspired by the ancient Ceremony of the Keys, our Large rustic key ornament will add a medieval look to a small corner in your castle.

£6.99

Featuring a sculpted designed of the Tower of London and an axe-shaped handle, this novelty mug makes a great gift.

Tower of London mug

Featuring a sculpted designed of the Tower of London and an axe-shaped handle, this novelty mug makes a great gift.

£10.99

Yeoman Warder Tree Decoration - Yeoman warder tree decoration beautifully handmade with metal and silk threads on satin.

Yeoman warder luxury embroidered tree decoration

Yeoman warder tree decoration beautifully handmade with metal and silk threads on satin.

£10.99