This year’s Jubilee marks 60 years of the Queen’s reign. Even more to be “joyful” about is the extra Spring Bank Holiday on Tuesday. With four days off work (sadly not for us) and with a large quantity of festive events taking place around London, residents and visitors will be spoiled for choice should if they chose to stay in the capital for the once in a lifetime weekend.
The Jubilee Pageant
The Thames flotilla on the 3rd June, promises to be the most spectacular event, with 1,000 boats making their way down the river Thames led by the Queen herself in the Royal Barge.
• 12.00m – Hammersmith, Putney and Wandsworth Bridges – vessel mustering
• 1.30pm – Kayaks launch from Lots Road, Fulham
• 2.40pm – Battersea Bridge | Official start. Royal Jubilee Bells start ringing and the floating belfry departs from Battersea Park area
• 2.50pm – The Royal boat The Spirit of Chartwell departs Cadogan Pier. The Queen will board soon afterwards, near Albert Bridge
• 3.00pm – Bells in churches along the riverside ring
• 3.00pm – 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 will 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, and reviews the passing pageant
• 5.30pm – Last vessel in the flotilla, The Symphony, passes under Tower Bridge
• 5.30pm onwards – Many boats will disperse along the river and continue as far as Greenwich
Best spotting locations
Battersea Park is only open to those who have tickets to the Diamond Jubilee Festival, which runs from midday until 7pm.
The east parapet of Blackfriars Bridge will offer an interesting view of the flotilla as it passes in front of Tate Modern.
Chelsea Embankment will offer fantastic views of the flotilla as it passes by the leafy Battersea Park on the opposite side of the Thames. There will also be four big screens.
There will be no large viewing screens outside City Hall, but it’s a very open area and it will offer some of the most iconic view of the pageant as the boats pass under Tower Bridge.
The Embankment will be as busy as it is on New Year’s Eve – but there will be nine big screens between Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge dotted around on the north side of the Thames.
Lambeth Bridge and Westminster Bridge will have a limited public viewing area so for those who don’t mind setting camp from the early hours; this could be the perfect spot. There will be superb views of the boats approaching Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from the south end of both bridges.
The Southbank will no doubt be heaving but if you arrive early and manage to get a place on one of the many terraces around the National Theatre then you’ll be laughing.
Tate Modern will be a popular spot as the boats pass. If you get up early you may just be able to bag a seat at the 7th-floor members’ bar or 4th-floor coffee bar (doors open at 10am and queues are expected).
While the official route starts at Battersea and ends at Tower Bridge, there will be a lot of opportunity to view the boats both before and after. The assembling of the vessels take place from midday around Putney Bridge, Hammersmith Bridge and Wandsworth Bridge – so Bishop’s Park and Wandsworth Park could be a good option.
Many of the ships will continue on towards Greenwich after Tower Hill so the Thames Footpath running east will also be popular. At Greenwich, the public is invited to a Big Jubilee Lunch at the Old Royal Naval College.
Now, if you are willing to spend a little bit of money for the experience, you could purchase a ticket to Altitude 360 on the top of Milbank Tower (between Pimlico and Westminster). From the 29th floor 118 metres above the Thames you’d get an uninterrupted and outstanding view of the flotilla – which is probably why the BBC, Sky and ITV are all filming from the top of the tower on the day.
Or if an aerial view would be your preference, then the London Eye is a great paid-for option. You would want to be at the Eye at 3pm so purchase a Flexi Fast-Track ticket (£31.50pp, £111.78 for a family of four, at www.londoneye.com) so you can skip the queue. Another alternative could be to book a table at the Oxo Tower.
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