2022 marks 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, following the death of her father on 6 February 1952. This is the longest period for which a British monarch has ever reigned, so naturally there's going to be a shindig or two to celebrate. Here's out pick of Platinum Jubilee events and celebrations in London.
Platinum Jubilee bank holiday
First and foremost, the question on everyone's lips: do we get an extra bank holiday for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee? Yes, yes we do. Thursday 2- Sunday 5 June 2022 is an extra-special, four-day bank holiday weekend (also known as 'Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend', a name we very much enjoy because it involves the names of two different tube lines).
Why June? The official accession anniversary took place in February, but it's widely thought the Queen doesn't like to celebrate her accession date, as this was also the date of her father's death. The Queen's coronation was on 2 June, so this date has been chosen (though confusingly, the coronation didn't take place until 1953, so June 2022 is the 69th anniversary of the coronation, but 2022 is 70 years since the accession. Still with us?).
Jubilee street parties: The Big Jubilee Lunch
Nationwide, there's a push for local communities to hold their own street parties, under the umbrella of The Big Jubilee Lunch. The website has plenty of help if you want to try to hold something in your own street or area, and we'll bring you details of any larger events happening in London closer to the time.
The Big Jubilee Lunch, 2-5 June 2022.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant, London
One of the central celebrations is a Platinum Jubilee Pageant, taking place here in London (and streamed online) on Sunday 5 June, and telling the story of the Queen's reign. As of February 2022, details of the Pageant, including the route and participants, haven't yet been announced (though we're promised 'a bigger spectacle' than the 670 boat flotilla which floated down the Thames for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012). Watch this space. You can, however, already enter a competition to win tickets to whatever shenanigans do unfold.
Platinum Jubilee Pageant, Sunday 5 June 2022.
Platinum Jubilee special events
PLATINUM JUBILEE FAYRE: They're starting the party early up in Totteridge, where there's a Platinum Jubilee Fayre. Expect live music, a helter skelter, Morris dancing, face painting, food stalls, dog competitions and more, all raising for conserving the local Darlands Nature Reserve. 21 May
LONDON EYE: A pod on the London Eye is transformed into a 1950s pub on the day of the Queen's coronation. The Queen's Head will contains authentic memorabilia from the occasion, a photo gallery of the Queen's years in service, vintage bunting and furniture. 27 May-4 September
ZOOBILEE: ZSL London Zoo celebrates with Zoobilee, a week of family-friendly, regal-themed events including a teddy bear's picnic (bring your own cuddly toy), environmentally-friendly crafts, face painting, quizzes and more. 28 May-5 June
CORGI CAFE:Yes, the rumours are true, a Corgi Cafe is opening in London for one day only, to celebrate Her Majesty's favourite dog breed. Anyone who has a corgi can bring it along — and anyone who doesn't but loves them can attend too. The event includes dog-safe food and drink, photo opportunities and more. 29 May
HYDE PARK: Royal Parks celebrates 70 years of the Queen's reign with special activities designed to inspire youngsters to protect the green spaces for the next 70 years. Create a nature crown, plant seeds and take part in regal-themed storytelling sessions. 31 May-1 June
MEET QUEEN ELIZABETH I: No, that's not a typo — The Charterhouse is doing things differently by celebrating the first Queen Elizabeth. Aimed at kids aged 5-11, the storytelling lessons feature someone in character as the former monarch, on the way to her own coronation. It's an apt setting — Elizabeth I met with her Privy Council in the Charterhouse's Great Chamber on the way to her coronation. 31 May-1 June
CORGI CAM: For one day only, Leadenhall Market hosts a corgi photo studio, where members of the public can have photos taken with corgis — a breed of dog famously loved by the Queen. Backdrops, a sofa set-up and costumes are provided. There's also a special walking tour every Wednesday in June, exploring Leadenhall Market's link with the monarchy. 1 June
JUBILEE JOUST: Knights can be seen battling it out in a jousting tournament over the bank holiday weekend. The Jubilee Joust is a family-friendly event, taking place in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace. 1-5 June 2022
JUBILEE AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE: Performing arts venue Southbank Centre hosts a programme of events, titled simply 'Jubilee'. They range from classical concerts to to dance performances to Danny Boyle discussing punk's legacy, to a family-friendly party. 1-5 June
GUNNERSBURY PARK: There's a whole series of special Jubilee events at Gunnersbury Park Museum, including craft sessions (2-5 June), 1950s jiving (2-3 June), a Jubilee special open mic night (3 June) and live music from 70 years ago (4-5 June).
MAYFAIR STREET PARTY: Mayfair hosts a two-day street party, on North Audley Street. Food stalls with special Jubilee menus will line the street, along with live entertainment, bands, roaming acts, plus face painting and activities for children. 2-3 June 2022
RAF MUSEUM HENDON PAGEANT: Make a crown, sit inside royal helicopters, learn some royal history and visit a traditional tea room at the RAF Museum Hendon Pageant. There are plenty of other summer fair staples too, including a fairground, face painting, live music and storytelling. 2-4 June
PLATINUM PICNIC: Head to Charlton Park for Platinum Picnic in the Park, a Royal Borough of Greenwich event open to all, with live performances to watch as you tuck into your picnic. 3 June
ROOFTOP JUBILEE JAUNT: Stratford's Roof East hosts a Royal Rooftop Jubilee Jaunt. Enjoy three drinks and food from the Naughty Burger menu included in your ticket, and tuck into it on street party-style picnic benches as drag queens Kyran Thrax and Polka Dot provide the entertainment. 3 June
JUBILANT JUBILEE: Regular children's concert event Albert's Band has a Jubilee twist. Head to the Royal Albert Hall for a musical celebration of the Queen's reign, with plenty of opportunities to join in. 3 June
DRAG QUEEN BINGO: The Horniman Museum hosts family-friendly, royal Drag Queen Bingo, with bearded drag lady Timberlina — a regular at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern — overseeing proceedings. Expect dance routines and sing alongs in the conservatory, which will be regally decorated for the occasion. 5 June
PLATINUM JUBILEE DINNER: Totteridge continues its nature reserve fundraising efforts with a gala dinner at the Saracens Stadium. Enjoy a three-course dinner with wine, live music and an auction. 18 June
Platinum Jubilee exhibitions
JUBILATION: For a heady dose of nostalgia, Notting Hill's Museum of Brands is always a safe bet. For the Platinum Jubilee, new exhibition Jubilation looks at 200 years of Royal souvenirs, including special products and packaging produced to mark coronations, jubilees and the like. From 21 May
FLOWER FESTIVALS: Free flower festivals Belgravia in Bloom (23-29 May) and Chelsea in Bloom (23-28 May) both have a regal twist. There's a 'British icons' theme in Chelsea, while it's 'Beautifully British' over in Belgravia — expect to see plenty of red, white and blue large-scale flower arches and installations all over the area.
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM: Lambeth's Imperial War Museum hosts a special photographic exhibition to mark 70 years of the Queen's reign, focusing on her relationship with the armed forces, from meeting troops before D-Day, to serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945. 27 May-January 2023
SUPERBLOOM AND SLIDE: The Tower of London marks Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee with Superbloom, a wildflower meadow taking over the Tower's moat. It's since been announced that a massive slide will be installed to offer a way down into the moat. Given the scale, popularity and all-round excellence of the Tower of London poppies in 2014, and the flames in 2018, we expect this one will be well worth seeing. The organisers have clearly learnt from those previous experiences, as access to Superbloom is ticketed — and likely to sell out. 1 June-18 September
THE QUEEN'S ACCESSION: When the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace open to visitors this summer, as they do every year, there will be a special exhibition, Platinum Jubilee: The Queen's Accession. Portraits of the Queen from 1952, taken by Dorothy Wilding, and used as the basis of the Queen's image on stamps until 1971, are on show. Other objects include The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was a wedding gift to the future Queen Mary, on her marriage to the future King George V in 1893, and passed on by Queen Mary to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding present in 1947. 22 July-2 October 2022. Other special exhibitions will take place at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Though not specifically for the Jubilee, Kensington Palace has the Life Through A Royal Lens exhibition until October 2022 as well.
Platinum Jubilee afternoon tea in London
Knowing how much London loves a themed afternoon tea, it's no surprise that many hotels and restaurants are putting on special Platinum Jubilee afternoon tea menus. We've put together a list of the most tempting ones we know about so far.
Other Jubilee events include:
- A Platinum Party at the Palace on Saturday 4 June: to be broadcast on the BBC (think Brian May performing on the roof of Buckingham Palace in 2002). We wouldn't be surprised to see big screens erected across the capital where people can watch this — if you're not lucky enough to get tickets in the ballot, that is.
- Platinum Jubilee Beacons: 1,500 of them to be lit across the UK and the Commonwealth.
- The Queen's Green Canopy: An ongoing environmental project encouraging people to 'plant a tree for the Jubilee'.
We'll update this article as more Platinum Jubilee events are announced, so keep checking back.