On a rather damp day in late January I made my way to The Mall in London. I was here to watch the English Civil War re-enactment in London of Charles I. This London re-enactment marks the moment as Charles I was led to the scaffold at Banqueting House.

I watched this for the first time last year, and it really is extraordinary. What is even more extraordinary is that the whole Civil War re-enactment is made up entirely of volunteers. All come from The King’s Army and the Royalist part of the English Civil War Society.

They dress the part whether they are in the army or a citizen. Other than the traffic lights and bollards, the moment truly takes you back in time from our modern world. You are most definitely the spectator in this very English moment.

A little background for you… English Civil War

On the 30th January 1649, King Charles I was led onto a scaffold erected outside the Banqueting House on Whitehall to be executed.

For over 50 years, on the last Sunday in January, this moment has been commemorated. The event exists to re-enanct the wars between King Charles I and Parliament during 1642-1649. Eventually, Charles was defeated, and after a spell in prison and a show trial he was put to death. 

Apparently if you look carefully you can find a black mark on the clock above Horse Guards. It is marked at 2.00 pm, the time of the King’s death. You need better eyesight than me!

What to expect on The Mall | Civil War Re-enactment

Get down to The Mall by 10am and you have more than enough time to do a recce. You can see the horses getting ready, people arriving in costume. It really is a rather special thing to engage in, especially children or history buffs like me.

The Army forms up on the Mall at 11.15. The march will commence at 11.30 and make its way in funeral order down the Mall. It then moves onto Horse Guards, following Charles’ last route.  

On Horse Guards, a religious drumhead service is held. There is a remembrance wreath that is then trooped around the whole army. The wreath is then taken through Horse Guards Arch to Banqueting House where it is laid.

The procession then gathers to return back down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, stopping short by St James’s Palace.

Location: Banqueting House, Horseguards, The Mall.
Date: Last Sunday of January. Date for 2024 is Sunday 28 January.
Time: From 10am to watch the early arrival action. In reality you don’t need to get there until 10.30am. It’s a lot of standing around if it is cold.

Looking for more ideas in London?
Check out the Super Seven on Little London Whispers.