Don't Reign on Her Parade

Take the tourist trail to London for the Queen's birthday

On 14 June big crowds will flock to Buckingham Palace for the annual Trooping the Colour – to mark Queen Elizabeth's official birthday. The Sovereign's birthday is celebrated publicly every summer with a military parade, music, and a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.

Trooping the Colour

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace at 10.40am and the parade begins at 11am, where spectators line The Mall.

The ceremony's carried out by operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, watched by members of the Royal Family, invited guests and members of the public. The parade is also broadcast live on BBC television.

The Queen then witnesses the RAF fly-past from the Palace balcony at 1pm.

Changing the Guard

If you can't make it to the actual birthday bash it's worth catching this formal but colourful and musical display, which happens more frequently – at the Palace, Horse Guards Arch, the Tower of London, and Windsor Castle. Full details of the schedules are available on the official Monarchy website.

Get on your bike

Colourful kites For something equally colourful head South of the river to Blackheath, for the annual London Kite & Bike Festival on 14 and 15 June.

Part of National Bike Week, the event features a children's fair, interactive bike skill sessions, a funfair, and kite teams from the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Official website »

Musical youth

And until 20 June, catch the Spitalfields Festival - a celebration of extraordinary music to 'uplift and entertain'. Have a go at classical Karaoke, take part in choral workshops, or enjoy the music of string quartets and bellringers. Official website »

Bird's eye view

The Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway at Kew View Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens from on high on the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway – part of the 'Year of the Tree Festival'. The walkway takes you under ground then 18 metres into the air.

Find your way

Close-up of the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway at Kew For breathtaking aerial photography of the capital, take a look at 'Hawke's Eye View: London'. Or find out about the essential things to see and do with our Key Guide to the big smoke.

AA Key Guide to London (cover)Hawke's Eye View: London (cover)

Wherever you're heading...

...plan your trip with the AA Route Planner, stock your car with essential accessories from the AA Travel Shop, and check for traffic blackspots before you leave with AA Roadwatch. Find the best places to eat, drink and sleep, and check out our brilliant travel guides.

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Kites image courtesy britainonview/ Thanet District Council/ Jasmine Teer
Kew images courtesy James Morley