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Across Land & Sea Travel Blog

Trooping the Colour 2017: How to get the best view

The Trooping of the Colour is truly British day out. It’s the annual, formal celebration of the monarch’s birthday and is steeped in history, tradition, pomp and circumstance.

This guide helps you know where to stand and at what time to get the best view of the procession from Horse Guards Parade to Buckingham Palace, the balcony appearance and RAF fly-by.

QUICK TIPS

  • Approach from Victoria station to avoid crowds at Green Park and St James’ Park stations
  • Stand on The Mall
  • Walk to Admiralty Arch at the end of the parade to walk back up The Mall behind the line of policemen
  • Always stand on the outside of a crowd, it moves quicker!

This map provides a good idea of where to stand at each separate stage of the day. 

Timings

These very rarely change each year. Its important to know the order of the ceremony and at what time certain things happen so that you can be in the right spot to make the most of each element of the day. Typically, these are the timings:

9.45 - Troops begin to form

10:45 - Her Majesty and Household Cavalry depart Buckingham Palace for Horse Guards Parade

11:00 - The Queen arrives at Horse Guards Parade

12:10 - The Queen returns up The Mall to Buckingham Palace

12:52 - Gun Salutes are fired from Green park

12:57 - Balcony appearance

13:00 - RAF Flypast over Buckingham Palace

Crowds begin to gather from 8:00, but you can have a great experience without waking up quite so early. For a more leisurely day out, you can miss the Queen travelling to Horse Guard’s and catch her return trip which is shortly followed by the balcony and flypast.

The day is split into two main sections. Firstly, Her Majesty and the entourage process down The Mall, where you’ll want to stand on the side of The Mall. Secondly, the balcony appearance and RAF flypast where you’ll probably want to stand as close to palace gates as possible. Read on for top tips on how to get the best possible spots...

Where to Stand:

PART ONE - THE MALL

Approaching from St James Park Station

Arrive at St James’ Park tube station for 11:15. Walk straight out of the station and down Queen Anne’s Gate, crossing Birdcage Walk to enter St. James’s Park. Cross the footbridge over the lake and find a spot about halfway down The Mall. Make friends and get excited about seeing the Queen!

Approaching from Green Park/Piccadilly Circus

Arrive at Green Park tube station for 11.00 or Piccadilly for 11:05. Resist the temptation to walk straight towards the palace and walk past The Ritz, down Regent Street, Waterloo Place and Pall Mall to Duke of York’s Column. The steps here are great vantage point to watch the procession down The Mall.

Approaching from Victoria

Arrive at Victoria station for around 11:00. Follow signs to Buckingham Palace. It is likely that the area immediately around the palace will be very busy and Birdcage Walk will be closed to the public. I advise walking down Buckingham Gate and Petty France to St James’s Station, then follow instructions from above.

PART TWO - THE PALACE GATES

Once Her Majesty has passed you, be sure to stay put and do not follow the crowds who will likely head on the pavement of The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. You’ll be squashed against safety barriers about 100m from the palace with 1000s of sweaty tourists.

Stay put and watch the guards as they dismiss, followed by the less glamorous cleaning trucks that will sweep The Mall of the horse “debris”. Then head down the pavement of The Mall towards Horse Guards Parade and Admiralty Arch (Trafalgar Square).

From here, the police form a line of horses and officers that spans the width of The Mall and controls the pace at which the crowd head down the road to the palace. Walk behind the police and keep to the side of the road if you want to speed ahead of the dawdling crowd!

You should then get a front row spot for the balcony appearance and RAF flyby. 


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