Going to London to See the Queen?

Travel Tips — By Erin Gallagher Maury on May 25, 2011 at 11:18 am

When you return home from a holiday to London, surprise the smarty pants who quips, “Did you see the Queen?” With these suggested Queen-spotting venues and events, you will even have photographic proof.

Best Places to Catch Sight of Her Majesty In & Around London

  • Buckingham Palace – The Queen’s official London residence is Buckingham Palace, she’s often caught coming and going by car through the main gates – though you do have to be in the right place at the right time to catch her! In summer months (July-October) when the palace opens to the public, she heads to Balmoral Estate and Holyroodhouse Palace in Scotland. Look for the Royal Standard flying (see pic below) –  not the Union Flag/Union Jack – which indicates Her Majesty’s presence.
  • Windsor Castle – Just 23 miles west of London, and an easy day trip by train, is another of the Queen’s official residences, Windsor Castle.  Her Majesty tends to spend many weekends and the Easter holidays here, though, as at Buckingham Palace, you’ll only usually catch her coming and going.
  • Trooping the Colour –  The Queen processes down The Mall to the annual military ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, commemorating her birthday. However you do need to apply for tickets to attend this event. (they are free and allocated by ballot, but by the time you read this you’ll need to apply for next year!). The Queen returns to Buckingham Palace by horse-drawn carriage in great pageantry, where she gathers with additional members of her family on the balcony for the RAF fly-past.Thue ballot for tickets to attend the Queen’s Birthday Parade has now closed

    Trooping of the Colour Celebrating Her Majesty's Birthday

  • Royal Ascot – The Queen and Prince Philip never miss a day at the horse track, for the five days of Royal Ascot held each June anyway. They have had their share of winners too. This is a great opportunity to see her as the royals make their grand entrance to the races by carriage procession.
  • State Opening of Parliament – In November or December each year the Queen formally opens the parliamentary session. People line Whitehall in the hope of a receiving a royal wave when the Queen is escorted by the Household Calvary (in a horse-drawn carriage of course) from Buckingham Palace to Westminster.
  • Madame Tussauds –  if all else fails, fake it! Snap a shot of you and a waxwork likeness of The Queen. Perhaps a pose in an embrace, Michelle Obama style, will be convincing.

    The Royal Standard indicates The Queen is present

For more royal recommendations, check out our list of favorite London haunts for Wills & Kate and our guide to Royal London.



flickr image: JonTasmin Slater

Tags: royal London, royal spotting, royal watching, where to see the queen, Where to see the queen in London

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