London Drum

Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards & RAF flypast

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Where? Horse Guards, Whitehall, Westminster When? 15th June 2024 Parade starts at 10.20 AM and ends at 12.25 PM The balcony appearance takes place at 1 PM The flypast will be visible over central London between 12.40 PM and 1.15 PM, and will pass over Buckingham Palace at exactly 1 PM Tickets? Free to watch from The Mall Horse Guards: £30 (seated); £10 (standing) Seated tickets are allocated in an online ballot. Ballot is only open during March. Standing tickets will be available to buy after ballot closes See kbp.army.mod.uk for details Parking: Nearby car parks Buses: 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 159 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is Westminster Circle District Jubilee Other nearby stations: Charing Cross and Embankment Train fares

Trooping the Colour dates all the way back to the 17th century and was originally intended to show off the regiment's flag to the soldiers so they'd recognise it on the battlefield. These days it's held to mark the monarch's official birthday (King Charles' actual birthday is on the 14th November).

Soldiers parading down The Mall to the palace
Soldiers parading down The Mall to the palace

Parade on the Mall and ceremony on Horse Guards

Soldiers will start marching down the Mall from 10.20 AM, followed by members of the Royal Family riding on horseback or travelling in State coaches. Bear in mind that you need to get there a couple of hours early if you want to grab yourself a spot at the front, because the crowds along the Mall can easily grow up to 10-people deep.

Household Cavalry during Trooping the ColourPhoto: householddivision.org.uk
Household Cavalry during Trooping the Colour

His Majesty King Charles III would usually ride down the Mall on horseback, but given his current medical condition it's possible he might choose to ride in a carriage instead.

Shortly before 11 AM the King will reach Horse Guards and be played the National Anthem. For the next hour he’ll sit there watching a ceremonial parade involving over 1,350 soldiers from the Household Division and King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, accompanied by 300 musicians from the Massed Bands.

Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards parade groundPhoto: kbp.army.mod.uk
Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards parade ground

Applying for a grandstand ticket

Tickets are hard to come by and if you want to try for a grandstand seat then you'll have to enter an online ballot during March. If you're successful then they'll send you your ticket (and a bill) in the post -- check their website for details.

If you miss out then you can try and snap up some of the standing tickets which go on sale immediately after the ballot closes.

Soldiers parading on Horse Guards
Soldiers parading on Horse Guards

Where's the best place to stand?

We recommend depositing yourself on the bend before Admiralty Arch as it curves round towards the parade ground... that way you'll get a great view of the soldiers marching down the Mall while still being able to hear all the military music playing on Horse Guards.

If you arrive early enough then you might be able to grab a spot on the eastern edge of St. James's Park instead.

Trooping the Colour route map

Lots of people will try and stand as close as possible to Buckingham Palace so they can get a good view of the Royal Family when they come out on the balcony. But if you do that then make sure you stand at the top end of the Mall, and not on the actual roundabout by the Queen Victoria Memorial. That's because the police usually release the crowds standing in the Mall before they release the ones on the roundabout, meaning they will be able to rush up and fill the space in front of the palace before you.

One advantage of standing as close as possible to the palace is that you'll get to see the King inspecting the troops at around 12.25 PM as they pass in front of the main gate -- you won't be able to see that from the Mall.

41-gun salute fired in Green Park
41-gun salute fired in Green Park

Gun salute and balcony appearance

King Charles will then disappear inside the palace and at 12.52 PM there will be a gun salute in Green Park.

Shortly before 1 PM the King will re-appear on the balcony with Queen Camilla and other members of the Royal Family to watch the RAF flypast.

The flypast will end with the Red Arrows trailing red, white and blue smoke over Buckingham Palace.

Is there a dress code?

If you're sitting in Horse Guards then you should dress for a wedding -- morning dress, lounge suit or jacket and tie for the men, and equivalent for the ladies. Denim, shorts and sandals are definitely not allowed, and anybody wearing them will be refused entry.

Military personnel are permitted to wear their medals with a Ceremonial Day uniform.

Major General's and Colonel's Review

If you don't fancy the huge crowds then you might prefer to attend one of the two rehearsals instead. The first one is called the Major General's Review and takes place two weeks before. The Colonel's Review is held one week before.

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Your comments and questions

lew How do you get tickets for trooping the colour

Staff Hi Lew. It's all done by ballot. You usually have to apply in March and if you're successful you'll then have to pay some money to get the ticket. See kbp.army.mod.uk/ for more details

Naz Hi Craig - I am going tomorrow....whats your opinion the best place to see and have a picnic? St James Park?

Staff Hi Naz. If you're attending the parade then normally I'd say somewhere around the top end of the Mall, on the bend before the Queen Victoria Memorial, but this year is going to be extra busy because of the Platinum Jubilee and maybe all the best places will be taken by people camping overnight. If you're just going for a picnic then St James's Park is definitely better, but given that there are going to be tens of thousands of people lining the Mall and down around Horse Guards the park will probably be packed like sardines. You won't be able to see the parade over the crowd but you'll hear all the music and watch the flypast roar over your head at 1 PM.