Things to see and do this Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend…..

So…. it’s here! The much anticipated Diamond Jubilee weekend…. with two days off to boot! A couple of my cunning plans have been thwarted though….. I thought The Monument would be the best place to get a good view of the river pageant and some awesome photos, but I found out yesterday that it’s closed to the public on Sunday….. and all the tickets have gone for the Jubilee Festival at Battersea….. but there is still lots and lots to do, and I am very much looking forward to getting involved!

Epsom Derby

The Queen will begin her official Diamond Jubilee celebrations by attending the Epsom Derby Day on Saturday. The famous race meeting is one of the oldest and most famous horse races in the world and is one of the most glamorous events in the international racing calendar. The Queen will arrive by carriage, followed by thousands of well dressed spectators.

The Newburgh Quarter Street Party

Back in London, head to the Newburgh Quarter in Carnaby on Saturday for their street party. There will be live music from rockabilly band Carmen Ghia and her Hotrods performing on the bandstand on Ganton Street, with jive dancing from noon. There will also be complimentary strawberries and cream from outdoor tricycles, and a stunning Diamond Jubilee cake by world famous cake specialists Choccywoccydoodah will be cut for everyone to share at 3pm outside their new emporium! The Lomography shop will be hosting a Jubilee themed Lomowalk taking in St James Park and Buckingham Palace, there will be zumba dancing with Marshall Street Leisure Centre, and Peekaboo Vintage will be offering a 20% discount and goodie bags for customers.

Jubilee Jam

To celebrate the Jubilee weekend, Proud Camden are hosting a 4 day festival starting on Saturday, featuring the best of British live music, vintage swap shops, and a retro tea room! The very British knees up offers a jam-packed schedule of live bands and DJs, and is free to get in until 11pm via their guest list.

Big Jubilee Lunch

The Big Lunch is a very simple, but ever so clever idea from the people behind the Eden Project. Their aim is to encourage as many people as possible all over the UK to have lunch with their neighbours in ‘a simple act of community, friendship and fun’. Last year almost two million people took part in The Big Lunch and this year it rather aptly falls on the same weekend as The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations! So on Sunday, as announced by Buckingham Palace, The Big Jubilee Lunch will be a part of the main programme of events to celebrate the Jubilee and it’s not too late to join in! Your Big Lunch can be anything from gathering a few neighbours together in the garden, to a full blown street party with food, music and decorations. I just hope the weather holds!

And speaking of lunch…..

Kettners are celebrating the Jubilee by launching a British Afternoon Tea ‘Fit For a Queen’ in their Pudding Bar. The Afternoon Tea will run for a special launch weekend from the 2nd to the 5th June in honour of the Jubilee, and will continue on Friday, Saturday and Sundays from 8th June, 1.30-4.30pm. There is a cream tea at £8, Afternoon Tea at £18.67 and a Champagne Afternoon Tea at £27….. here’s a taster of the menu….. Traditional Finger Sandwiches with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, Cucumber, Ham and English Mustard , Egg and Cress…. Homemade Scones with Clotted Cream and Preserves….. Treacle Tart, Chelsea Buns, Trifle and Chocolate Digestive Cake. Yummy!

The Jubilee Floatilla 

This is the big whammy as far as I’m concerned….. I’ve never seen anything like this and I have high hopes (although I am rather gutted to see it’s due to rain on Sunday!). As part of the Jubilee Pageant, The Queen will travel in a flotilla of a thousand boats from all over the UK, the Commonwealth and across the World, measuring an anticipated seven and a half miles from end to end. The event will see the largest fleet of ships to be assembled on the River Thames in 350 years, as part of a royal tradition which dates back to 1533 when Anne Boleyn travelled by boat for her coronation.

Millions of people are expected to gather around the river to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty, as well as the wonderful assortment of sailing ships, steamers, rowing boats, canoes and kayaks….. At the head of the floatilla will be the Port of London Authority boat, Ravensbourne II, followed by my favourite, the Belfry Barge which holds the eight Royal Jubilee Bells forged at the local Whitechapel Bell Foundry (which reminds me, I must get onto a tour there soon…. it’s only around the corner from me!). The last boat will be the Symphony, which will carry the London Philharmonic Orchestra, although there will be several other musical barges along the length of the floatilla, including once which will play James Bond themes as it passes the MI6 building!

Lots of the Thames bridges will be closed to traffic, and some to pedestrians too. In fact, the only bridges one is allow to view from are ticketed, so whilst you can use the rest to cross the river it will be best to view from the river banks where there will be about 40 big screens. Here is the schedule so you can best plan where you want to be…..

  • From Noon – Vessel mustering at Hammersmith, Putney and Wandsworth Bridges
  • 1.30pm – Kayaks launch from Lots Road, Fulham
  • 2.40pm – The official start at Battersea Bridge…. Royal Jubilee Bells start ringing and the floating belfry departs
  • 2.50pm – The Royal boat The Spirit of Chartwell departs Cadogan Pier….. The Queen will board near Albert Bridge
  • 3.00pm – Bells in churches along the riverside ring
  • 3.00pm – The floatilla passes Chelsea Bridge
  • 3.10pm – Vauxhall Bridge
  • 3.25pm – Westminster Bridge
  • 3.30pm – Waterloo Bridge
  • 3.40pm – Blackfriars Bridge
  • 3.45pm – Southwark Bridge
  • 3.50pm – London Bridge
  • 3.55pm – The Honourable Artillery Company fire a 41-gun salute from Tower Hill as the royal barge crosses into the City of London
  • 4.00pm – Tower Bridge
  • 4.30pm – The Queen arrives at President Quay near the entrance of St Katherine’s Dock, to watch the passing pageant
  • 5.30pm – The last vessel in the flotilla passes under Tower Bridge
  • 5.30pm onwards – Boats begin to disperse along the river, with some continuing as far as Greenwich

There’s a great map here to help you plan your day and there is also an iPhone App which will follow the route.

Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace

On Monday, there will be a concert held at Buckingham Palace, featuring a star-studded line-up of performers including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Jessie J, JLS, Kylie Minogue, and Robbie Williams, who will all perform on a spectacular stage built around the Queen Victoria Memorial, right in front of the Palace. The ticket ballot is now closed but you can see it broadcast live on the BBC from 7:30pm  ….. the event concludes with The Queen lighting the National Beacon…..

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons

Also on Monday, over 4000 Beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, along with the Commonwealth and UK Overseas Territories. You can see lighting times and a map of where they’ll be taking place here.


On Tuesday morning Her Majesty, His Royal Highness, and many Members of The Royal Family, will attend the National Service of Thanksgiving to Celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral at 10:30am. Afterwards, at 11:30am The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will drive from St Paul’s Cathedral to the Mansion House via St Paul’s Churchyard and Queen Victoria Street, for a reception hosted by The Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Court of Alderman and the Court of Common Council. Other Members of the Royal Family will attend a reception at the Guildhall, given by the City of London along with the full congregation of the St Paul’s Cathedral Service.

After that, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will drive from Mansion House at 12.30pm to Westminster Hall, via Queen Victoria Street, St Paul’s Churchyard, Ludgate Hill, Fleet Street, the Strand, Whitehall and Parliament Square. There, a Fanfare will be sounded by the State Trumpeters and a Jubilee Lunch is to be hosted for The Queen by the Livery. And at 2:20pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Henry of Wales will depart the Palace of Westminster for Buckingham Palace, in a Carriage Procession. The Queen and Prince Philip will be using the 1902 State Landau, whilst The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Henry, will be travelling in another State Landau.

The procession will depart from New Palace Yard, up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch, along the Mall, and into Buckingham Palace through the Centre Gates at around 2:40pm. There will be personnel from the military services lining the streets, along with military bands and the Sovereign’s Escort, and The King’s Troop will fire a 60 gun salute before the procession arrives to a Guard of Honour in the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Then at about 3:30pm, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by other Members of The Royal Family will appear on the Balcony for the RAF Flypast and a Feu de Joie from the Forecourt…… a celebratory cascade of rifle fire given as a salute by The Queen’s Guard, interspersed with the National Anthem played by the Band of the Irish Guards.

A rather fitting end I think to a wonderful weekend of pomp, bunting and very British fun!

I hope everyone gets to enjoy some of the celebrations wherever they are!

Ems x


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