London Top Destinations

Top 10 Annual Events in London

Time your trip to one of these spectacular goings on—from Trooping the Colour to the Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show (Photo by Flickr user Swamibu.)
smithsonianmag.com

Trooping the Colour

Trooping the Colour
(Flickr user Niquinho)

June 14, 2014

Although the Queen’s birthday is April 21, the British choose to celebrate on a Saturday in June—when the weather is better, according to national officials. In a ceremony that dates back to the early 18th century, active British troops parade past the Royal guests and the public, carrying (“trooping”) the flags (“colours”) of the battalion and passing them hand-to-hand down the ranks of soldiers. The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute, and then she inspects the troops, to ensure soldiers are standing at attention. Queen Elizabeth II has attended the ceremony every year of her reign except 1955, due to a national rail strike. The procession moves from Buckingham Palace down the Mall and back starting at 10 a.m., and a flyover by the Royal Air Force takes place at 1 p.m. Get a good view of the centuries-old tradition from nearby St. James’s Park and along the Mall between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

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