Household Cavalry Museum Location: Horse Guards, Whitehall SW1A [map] Open: 10am - 5pm Admission: £9 (free for Art Pass holders) Five word summary: the army doesn't always fight Website:householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk Time to set aside: maybe half an hour
This one's where you'd expect it to be, beside the arch through the centre of Horse Guards. This is tourist central, indeed the guardsmen in the sentry boxes out front are harangued by cameras of all kinds for most of the day. The museum's target audience is thus the overseas visitor seeking a paid-for bolt-on to The Changing Of The Guard, as well as anyone who likes men on horseback. That's probably not you.
What's in the museum is very well arranged and displayed. All sorts of regalia past and present related to the Household Cavalry division. Sefton's hoof. The reason why there are so many pubs called The Marquis of Granby. Videos of current soldiers explaining how tough the training is and how many hours a day they spend cleaning their kit. The creeping realisation that the Household Cavalry was originally the ideal hideaway for rich gentlemen who wanted an army career without going overseas and fighting very often, if at all.
Inbetween the two galleries is a one-way window into the actual stables at Horse Guards, where you can watch whatever happens to be going on at the time. I arrived during The Changing Of The Guard, but all I saw was one large horse and a stablelad with a broom taking a selfie beside it. The smell of Brasso was coming from a museum volunteer buffing some harnesses in a recreation of the stalls. I walked round twice to get my moneysworth, then headed back outside to watch the free practical demonstration.