Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 90th birthday (again) this weekend. Here's how to get a slice of the regal action.
10 June: service at St Paul's
There's a service of thanksgiving taking place at London's premier cathedral, and — unless you're a prime minister or other such top brass — you're not invited. You can, however, tune into the BBC and let the soothing sounds of Huw Edwards and Kirsty Young wash over you while you sip a cup of Earl Grey. If you really want to do some posh celeb spotting, line one of the streets close to the cathedral and whip out your binoculars.
11 June: Trooping the Colour
Dating back to the 17th century, Trooping the Colour is perhaps the most famous part of the Queen's birthday bash. If pageantry and horses are up your street (1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and over 400 hundred musicians), make sure that street is The Mall (or on the edge of St James's Park overlooking Horse Guards). If you're tall/have a step ladder/don't mind nudging fellow Royalists out of the way, you might catch a glimpse of Her Maj riding back to Buck Palace. Events start around 10am (get there at 9am for any kind of a view), and there's an RAF fly-past at 1pm, while an assortment of Windsors exercise their wrists on a balcony. This is quality royal birthday.
Alternatively, there's a Queen-less, but nonetheless grandiloquent, flotilla heading down the Thames from 12.15pm, which we've covered here.
12 June: street party on The Mall
The icing on the birthday cake comes in the form of a 10,000 strong street party down The Mall on the Sunday, featuring a posh picnic and a parade of performers. How do you get an invite? Er, you can't now. But you can watch the festivities unravel on a big screen in nearby Green Park and St James's Park, while knocking back a tube of Pringles.
Otherwise, make your way to Trafalgar Square, where they're screening the Mall lunch, but also laying on a stage full of entertainment, dance workshops, a football challenge, cookery demonstrations and food tasting sessions, royalty-themed games and activities and face painting. 'Commonwealth-style' food for sale includes fish and chips, an Oz-style burger, Caribbean jerk chicken and Indian curry.
Want to know where to avoid the Queen's birthday in London? We've got that covered too.