Lord Mayor’s Show 2023: Route, road closures, and how to get into St Paul’s Cathedral for free

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The Lord Mayor's Show, an event full of pomp and pageantry, is to be held on November 11 this year.

Fancy getting access to Sir Christopher Wren’s central London masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral, to sightsee without paying the customary entry fee? Well, for one day in November, you can.

The reason? The annual Lord Mayor’s Show. An extravagant tradition going back hundreds of years, the event, in which thousands of people partake in a three-mile procession alongside a range of floats, marching bands and the famous gold State Coach, welcomes the new Lord Mayor of the City of London.

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Visitors can also enjoy a host of creative costumes as part of the day, as key moments in London’s history, from the Black Death to the Blitz, are referenced with aplomb.

Some half a million people are expected to line the streets this year, as the procession journeys from Mansion House to the Royal Courts via St Paul’s Cheapside and Fleet Street.

But when is it, and how do you get into St Paul’s for free?

The Lord Mayor's State Coach passes through the City during the annual Lord Mayor's Show. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.The Lord Mayor's State Coach passes through the City during the annual Lord Mayor's Show. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.
The Lord Mayor's State Coach passes through the City during the annual Lord Mayor's Show. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.

Getting into St Paul’s Cathedral

During the day of this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show, penned in for Saturday, November 11, the Cathedral floor will be open for free to anyone wishing to visit the London landmark and view the procession. While attending worship is always free, visitors are normally charged for sightseeing.

The day will be incredibly busy, with closing times to potentially change, but the plan is for first entry to be from 8.30am, with the last admissions at 3.30pm.

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For those willing to cough up some money to secure entry, the cathedral is charging £10 to climb the Dome Galleries, which can be booked either in advance or on the day, depending on availability.

These will open at 9.30am, with last admission at 2.15pm.

The Lord Mayor's Show includes a range of costumes, floats and other entertainment. Credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images.The Lord Mayor's Show includes a range of costumes, floats and other entertainment. Credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images.
The Lord Mayor's Show includes a range of costumes, floats and other entertainment. Credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images.

What is the route?

Starting at Mansion House, near Bank Station, at 11am, the procession begins by making its way towards St Paul’s, where the new Lord Mayor, who for the next year will be Alderman Michael Mainelli, receives blessing.

It then continues along Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street towards the Royal Courts of Justice. While the Lord Mayor swears an oath of allegiance to the Queens Bench, the procession prepares for its return leg, setting off from Temple Place and up Embankment and Victoria Street back towards Mansion House.

The head of the procession is expected to get to Mansion House at around 1.33pm, with the Lord Mayor returning an hour later to begin their year in office.

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This year's Lord Mayor's Show is to take place on Saturday, November 11. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.This year's Lord Mayor's Show is to take place on Saturday, November 11. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.
This year's Lord Mayor's Show is to take place on Saturday, November 11. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.

Will there be road closures?

In short, yes. Most of the City of London will be closed from around 7am, or 8am in the Bank area, with no traffic whatsoever.

Most roads will then reopen between 4pm and 5pm, though drivers are warned of heavier than usual traffic in surrounding areas as cars are rerouted.

Buses will be diverted on the day. London Bridge will be open as normal, as will Southwark Bridge, though on the north side you can only get to Upper Thames St and Bishopsgate. Blackfriars Bridge will be closed all day.

For a full breakdown of road closures, the Lord Mayor’s Show website has further details.

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What does the Lord Mayor do?

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, the first of whom was elected in 1189, is "an international ambassador for the UK's financial and professional services sector", states the City of London webpage on the topic.

The Lord Mayor heads the City of London Corporation, working closely with the mayor of London and hosting heads of government and other officials to promote the Square Mile and UK financial services.

The Lord Mayor is elected annually, with the current occupier of the role Nicholas Lyons. The new Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Mainelli, is the 695th person elected to the position.

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