Jubilee weekend highlight: the ultimate Royal pageant
Without doubt, the focus of the weekend is the Jubilee Pageant flotilla on Sunday 3 June, running from Putney past Tower Bridge. The procession will be led by the Gloriana, a £1m barge built for the occasion, with 18 oarsman including Olympic athletes Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. The flotilla is so grand it will take 75 minutes to pass any given point. Over 1m people are expected on the banks of the Thames to watch the pageant, so having a plan of action will be helpful.
WHEN AND WHERE IS IT?
The flotilla will leave Battersea Bridge at 2:30pm on Sunday 3 June and will pass under 14 bridges along the Thames on the way to its dispersal at Tower Bridge at around 4pm. For complete timings, see the map, pictured. Boats with sails too high to pass under London Bridge will line the river from London Bridge to Wapping creating an “Avenue of Sail” with a variety of wonderful, huge vessels.
WHERE TO WATCH:
If you want to watch the flotilla mustering, Fulham Palace Gardens and Hurlingham Park by Putney Bridge station on the north bank and Wandsworth Park on the south bank provide good views. You can then follow the flotilla by walking Chelsea Embankment from Battersea Bridge Gardens along Cheyne Walk to Chelsea Bridge. Next up is Albert Embankment (Vauxhall, Waterloo and Lambeth North) where there are a good deal of public benches – though they’re not likely to be vacant on the day (it’s probably best to keep walking). You could also climb aboard the London Eye, for £17.01 for a single or £480 for a whole capsule. (www.londoneye.com). Then you can follow the procession on or pick it up at London Bridge, where the Thames Path will be a very good place to see the final portion of the pageant.
The South Bank will provide great views but is going to be mobbed – on the north bank the area around Temple and Blackfriars will be good viewpoints.
If the riverside itself is too crowded or daunting, there will be 47 viewing screens nearby (see map). They’ll be at Chelsea Embankment; Grosvenor Road; Milbank; Lambeth Bridge; Westminster Bridge; Victoria Embankment; Blackfriars Bridge. Bring a picnic and find a bit of grass nearby.
The Skylounge at the Double Tree Hilton (pictured; Tower Hill tube) will be open to non-guests all day and offers great views from the roof terraces.
WHERE TO EAT:
There are a number of restaurants and pubs with great river views – some of them offer Jubilee menus – but they’re either booking up fast or already booked up. It’s worth enquiring about cancellations, though, or seeing if you can slip in anyway if you’re in the area.
Butler’s Wharf Chop House on Shad Thames offers a great view of the pageant and a menu to go with it. (www.chophouse-restaurant.co.uk)
The Ship pub in Wandsworth is a lovely old riverside tavern with good ales and nice food. It started life as a Thameside Waterman’s Inn in 1786. (www.theship.co.uk)
The Royal Festival Hall’s Skylon has fantastic views, great cocktails and a gourmet menu. It’s a swanky way to watch proceedings indoors, but you’ll need to book a special Jubilee package. (www.skylon-restaurant.co.uk)
You could also try the Riverside Terrace Cafe in the Southbank Centre but it’s likely to be seriously crowded.
The OXO Tower brasserie and restaurant is a London icon – the food is fine, the views even finer. (www.harveynichols.com)
The Swan at the Globe is a perfect vantage but doesn’t have availability until 8pm on Sunday – it might be a nice place to celebrate after the event, especially if you’ve been walking along the river all day. (www.swanattheglobe.co.uk)
The Blueprint Café in the Design Museum nearby is lovely spot to eat, drink and be merry (www.blueprintcafe.co.uk) .
The Pageant route is approximately seven miles (11 kilometres) long. The full route, including the mustering and dispersal areas, runs from Hammersmith to the Old Royal Naval College and is approximately 13 miles (22 km).
The flotilla will be travelling at a speed of four to six knots.
Royal celebrations to have graced the Thames in the past include Anne Boleyn’s Coronation in 1533, an extravagant pageant for King Charles II and Queen Catherine of Braganza in 1662 and an exuberant musical event held in 1717 by King George I.
The Queen has launched 25 ships in her lifetime.
The Royal Barge conveying the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family has been adapted from an existing vessel with royal decorations.
The lead vessel will be a floating belfry with a new set of eight church bells, cast at the Whitechapel Bell foundry. The church of St James at Garlickhythe has commissioned the bells, and they will be installed there after the event.
The Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant will be the biggest collection of historic vessels ever assembled on the Thames.
There will be over 14 miles of bunting and over three miles of mooring chains.
The oldest boat taking part in the flotilla was built in 1740.
The largest boat taking part is 65m long and 42m high.
350 years ago, the Thames was twice as wide with half the tidal flow it has today.
Pedestrian and traffic bridges will be closed for 60 minutes while the Royal barge passes. Bridges allowing pedestrian access will not be available at viewing areas
Battersea Bridge Pedestrian access only
Albert Bridge Closed
Chelsea Bridge Pedestrian access only
Vauxhall Bridge Open to traffic and pedestrians
Lambeth Bridge Closed/Designated view area
Westminster Bridge Closed/Designated view area
Jubilee Footbridge Closed
Waterloo Bridge Open to traffic and pedestrians
Blackfriars Bridge Closed/Designated view area
Millennium Bridge Closed
Southwark Bridge Traffic access only
London Bridge Open to traffic and pedestrians
Tower Bridge Closed
The first vessels are scheduled to pass under the bridges at the following times
Battersea Bridge 2.25pm
Albert Bridge 2.45pm
Chelsea Bridge 3.00pm
Vauxhall Bridge 3.10pm
Westminster Bridge 3.25pm
Waterloo Bridge 3.30pm
Blackfriars Bridge 3.40pm
Southwark Bridge 3.45pm
London Bridge 3.50pm
Tower Bridge 4.00pm
Order of pageant
The Royal Squadron
Dunkirk little ships
Recreational motor boats
Passenger boats and barges