Famed for its pivotal role in British Royal events, past and present, London enjoys an enormous pull among visitors thanks to its attractions associated with pageantry and prestige and pomp and circumstance…
Trooping the Colour
(11 June; Whitehall SW1A 2AX)
Taking place on the Horse Guards parade ground,this ceremonysees Her Majesty The Queen carry out an inspection of her Household Cavalry troops, marking her official birthday.It’s existed in various forms from c.1700 onwards, having been been held every year except during the two World Wars and in 1955 (owing to a rail strike) and culminates in the Royal Family watching an RAF flypast on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
In truth, it’s unlikely you’ll get hold of a ticket to the event itself (they tend to sell out super-fast in the winter), but if you’re not lucky, why not join the crowds down the Mall and watch all the action – especially when the Royal party appears on the balcony?
Buckingham Palace(SW1A 1AA)
If the idea of watching the goings-on at the palace for Trooping the Colour whets your appetite, then why not take it one step further by actually setting foot inside the revered building? Home to The Queen when she’s in the capital, it contains priceless artworks, fabulous frocks, beautiful outfits and exquisite furniture, all of which is part of the official Royal Collection and can be viewed – along with its State Rooms – when it throws open its doors to the public in the summer months. It’s an especially ideal attraction should you be considering making a Shaftesbury Hyde Park International booking, as the hotel’s just a hop, skip and jump away.
Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral
(20 Deans Yard SW1P 3PA/ St. Paul’s Churchyard EC4M 8AD)
The UK’s two most famous places of worship and outstanding London pageantry attractions; the former’s the traditional site of British monarchical coronations and the latter London’s leading cathedral and the city’s heartbeat for so much of its history. Westminster Abbeydates back at least a millennium, its interior’s elegance enhanced by the likes of Poets’ Corner, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and, of course, the ancient Coronation Chair itself. Meanwhile, St. Paul’s is famous as the venue of many a Royal wedding and offers magnificent views for those willing to scale its domed roof and a fascinating crypt, including the tombs of both the Duke of Wellington and Lord Admiral Nelson.
The Lord Mayor’s Show
With thousands of participants and numerous marching bands, floats and vehicles (including buses, tanks, classic cars, tractors, steamrollers and even motorised beds and bathtubs), this parade from The City to the heart of Westminster started out as the journey the annually-elected medieval Lord Mayor would take to pledge allegiance to the monarch, but has since grown to become a tourist attraction held each yearon a Saturday morning in early November. So why not beat the cold away by drinking in the pomp and circumstance – including the Lord Mayor’s glorious golden coach?