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Highlights of the Royal Mews

Explore the Royal Mews and discover coaches, horses and carriages at one of the finest working stables in existence. These are some of the things to see and do during your visit you shouldn't miss. 

Gold State Coach

Gold State Coach

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The huge (7m long and 3m tall) gilded Gold State Coach is the grandest coach at the Royal Mews. Commissioned by George III in 1762, it has been used at every coronation since that of George IV in 1821. Weighing almost 4 tonnes, the coach needs 8 horses to draw it and never moves faster than walking speed. The three cherubs on the roof represent the genii, or guardian spirits, of England, Scotland and Ireland.  They support models of the Royal Crown and hold the Sceptre, the Sword of State, and the Ensign of Knighthood in their hands.  See if you can spot how this huge carriage is moved in and out of the room during your visit. 

Carriage horses

Cleveland Bay horses

Cleveland Bay horses ©

Look out for a horse or two during your visit to the Mews. There are 2 types of horses used to pull the carriages at the Mews: Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays. 

Windsor Greys
Windsor Greys draw the carriages in which The Queen, other members of the Royal Family and guests travel. They're so called because they used to be kept at Windsor in Victorian times, where they drew the private carriages of the Royal Family. Windsor Greys are at least 16.1 hands (1.65m) high at the withers (the point on a horse's neck where the mane begins to grow) and are chosen for their steady temperament and stamina. 

Cleveland Bays
These horses are used to pick up high commissioners and ambassadors presenting their credentials to The Queen, for other day-to-day activities, and as workhorses. 

Diamond Jubilee State Coach

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach at the State Opening of Parliament

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach at the State Opening of Parliament ©

Built to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, this is the newest coach at the Mews and was first used at the State Opening of Parliament on 4 June 2014. The coach is over 5m long, weighs over 3 tonnes and needs 6 horses to pull it. 

Built in Australia, the Diamond Jubilee State Coach combines traditional craftsmanship and modern technology: it has an aluminium body and is prevented from swaying by six hydraulic stabilisers. The interior wooden panels of the coach are made from objects donated by over 100 historic sites and organisations from across Britain. The seat handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the window frames and interior panels include material from Caernarfon Castle; Canterbury Cathedral; The Mary Rose (Henry VIII's flagship); 10 Downing Street; and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. The gilded crown on the top of the coach, carved from oak from HMS Victory, can hold a camera to film journeys.  

Try out a royal carriage

Replica Landau

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Semi-State Landau

Photograph showing the departure of Queen Victoria in the Semi-State Landau from the courtyard of Buckingham Palace. ©

Imagine stepping into a royal carriage, sitting down and practicing your regal waving just as Queen Victoria did in 1897. In the Royal Mews State Stable you can experience this with our replica Semi-State Landau.

The Semi State Landau was popular with Queen Victoria, who frequently used them on ceremonial occasions, including for the Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Service at St Paul's Cathedral on 22 June 1897. The reproduction landau is decorated in a royal carriage livery and is a perfect photo opportunity. Share your pictures with us on Twitter or Instagram using #SitInStyle.

Livery

Livery

The oldest livery dates from the 1919 procession to commemorate the end of the First World War ©

During your visit you can see the livery worn by The Queen's coachmen. Different liveries are used for different occasions.  Apart from a few small details, the livery remains much the same as it was in Victorian times, and some of the tailors who produce today's livery are the same companies used during the reign of George III. 

In the State Stables, you can dress up as a footman in specially-created livery for children and adults.  

Tack up a wooden pony

Wooden pony in the Royal Mews

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Leather harnesses are used to connect the horses to the carriage which they are pulling. In the State Stables children can have a go at tacking up a wooden pony to get it ready to pull a carriage. 

Guided tour

Warden Tour of the Royal Mews

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Between April and October, you can take a 45-minute guided tour of the Royal Mews with our Wardens. Learn details about the historic carriages and modern cars, and hear about the work needed to prepare for major State and ceremonial occasions. Tours take place daily from the security area at 10:15, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00.