Visit London Blog » diamond jubilee Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2012: In Pictures Mon, 31 Dec 2012 10:00:54 +0000 The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations by Tower Bridge London 2012 Olympic Games Closing ceremony Greenwich bids farewell to the London 2012 Olympic Games with fireworks display Jessica Ennis wins Olympic heptathlon gold for Great Britain Gold medallist Mo Farah does the "Mobot" on London 2012 victory parade Mayor of London Boris Johnson with his Team London Ambassadors London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic images projected onto Parliament Piccadilly Circus Circus Piccadilly Circus Circus Nelson's Column is spruced up as part of Hatwalk London 2012 Paralympic Games Closing ceremony fireworks The Shard

2012 has been a landmark year for London thanks to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, which celebrated 60 years of the Queen’s reign. And to top it all off, London’s newest skyscraper the Shard was inaugurated, transforming London’s skyline. Here are a few of our favourite images from an amazing and unforgettable year.

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Big Ben’s Clock Tower To Be Renamed Tue, 26 Jun 2012 13:53:18 +0000

The tower that houses the famous Big Ben bell, whose distinctive chime can be heard throughout Westminster, is to be renamed in honour of The Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year.

Presently known as the Clock Tower, it will be renamed Elizabeth Tower at a special ceremony, following recent approval of the proposal by the House of Commons authorities.

It is worth noting, however, that the name change will only apply to the tower and not the bell. Big Ben, incidentally, is said by some to have been named after a giant and very successful 19th century boxer called Ben Caunt, proving that all sorts of achievements are capable of making history.

What do you think of the name change? Will you start calling it Elizabeth Tower; or continue to refer to the attraction as Big Ben as many people currently do? Let us know in the comments below.

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A View From The Barge: The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant Tue, 05 Jun 2012 15:00:24 +0000 From the Royal Over-Seas League’s boat, which was moored next to Westminster Bridge in preparation for joining its section of the pageant, we were afforded an unbeatable view of the rest of the flotilla.

Against the spectacular backdrop of the Houses of Parliament we watched the magnificent procession sail down the Thames: first the cleverly rigged belfry, its joyous peals heralding the awe-inspiring sight to come, then a sudden cascade of small boats, their rowers all smiling and calling to each other as they made their way towards the bridge. The sheer number of participants was overwhelming, and the water was almost completely obscured by oars and colourful boats.

What quickly became apparent was that, despite the solemnity and import of the occasion, the British sense of humour could not be suppressed. Rowers exchanged jokes with the stationary boats and we waved, cheered and joked in return. Particular sympathy was given to the lone man in a kayak, with whom we wished we could share our champagne!

As the last of the small boats departed, a frisson of excitement went through our party as we heard the fanfare that announced the Royal boats. The sight of The Spirit of Chartwell gliding majestically – and it is only now that I truly appreciate what that word means – downriver is something that I will never forget. Although Her Majesty’s attention was more fixed on the MPs opposite, we were awarded sunny smiles from the radiant Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The rest of the pageant passed by in an exuberant stream of large and small boats. Particularly memorable were the Dunkirk ships, which looked almost too small and vulnerable to have achieved such an incredible feat, and the Academy of Ancient music, which played hauntingly beautiful music that echoed down the river and reminded us of the millenia of history that had led up to this glorious moment.

Finally, it was our turn to join in the procession and, despite the now pouring rain, we braved the prow of the ship to wave to those watching from the river bank. It was heartening to see that so many had stayed despite the weather, and a friend and I could not resist renacting the prow scene from the Titanic film to keep them entertained!

Passing through Tower Bridge, joking that The Queen must have retired for a well-earned cup of tea, we were shocked and delighted to see the Royal Barge on our left and The Queen, looking entirely unruffled despite the British weather, waving at us from the top. To witness first hand such incredible grace and attention to duty, qualities which undoubtedly inspired so many people to turn out to celebrate with The Queen yesterday, was a truly humbling experience.  Having reigned over us for 60 years with such dedication and panache, Her Majesty deserved every second of the adulation that was offered to her yesterday, and I can only hope that she enjoyed the pageant as much as I did.

Jubilee Pageant 4 Floating Belfry Jubilee Pageant 3 Jubilee Pageant 2 Another of the Royal boats Crowds on Westminster Bridge Royal Barge Jubilee Pageant 1 Jubilee Pageant 4 ]]> 1
Videos: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897) Tue, 05 Jun 2012 09:00:19 +0000 Today, London marks Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee with a carriage procession from Westminster Hall to Buckingham Palace.

Here’s a fab video of the last Diamond Jubilee celebrated in London, for Queen Victoria’s 60th year on the throne.

It gives you a little taste of what to expect today. The celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee sound fantastic. Here’s another great video, by the Historic Royal Palaces, explaning some of the weird and wonderful events that took place back in 1897. We wonder if there’ll be any Elizabeth-shaped balloons let off in London this weekend?!

Let us know what you have planned for today to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in the comments below.

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Video: War Horse and The National Theatre Salute The Queen Mon, 04 Jun 2012 09:33:32 +0000 Among all the ships, and flags, and (unfortunately) rain, during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant yesterday, did you spot the National Theatre’s salute to The Queen?

Joey, the puppet star of London theatre hit War Horse, galloped along the roof of the National Theatre and reared in salute to The Queen as she passed on the Royal Barge.

The Queen is well-known for her love of horses, and she seemed very pleased by Joey’s salute. Well done team National Theatre!

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Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant World Record Sun, 03 Jun 2012 16:56:21 +0000

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant just broke a world record for London!

The fleet of over 419 boats (expected to be over 1000 by the end of the attempt) took the record for the world’s largest parade of boats, beating the previous record of 327 boats in Germany in April 2011. To break the record, the boats had to maintain a minimum distance of 2 boat lengths and cover a minimum of 2 miles – the route actually covered 7 miles.

This is the 16th record London has broken this year, only 4 more to go to hit the goal of 20.

The flotilla sailed past cheering crowds, miles of bunting, historic London buildings, a gun salute from the Tower of London and one of the horses from War Horse.

A boat on the Thames is one of the best ways to see London, so start practicing your royal wave and hop on a London river boat, canal boat or speedboat!

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London’s Best Diamond Jubilee Decorations Thu, 31 May 2012 09:00:53 +0000 You may have noticed that London is becoming slightly more red, white and blue than normal. With only two days to go until the first London-based event of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend, London is putting on its finery in preparation for the spectacular celebrations.

You’ll see bunting, flags and special displays everywhere, and by the weekend London will be festooned with colour and buzzing with a festive atmosphere that will be remembered for generations. The capital has a long tradition of making a magnificent effort for Jubilee celebrations – check out this photograph of Selfridges preparing for George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935.

We’ve put together a gallery of some of our favourite Diamond Jubilee decorations so far, but if you’ve spotted other great displays around town please let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to stock up on Jubilee merchandise if you’re planning your own celebration!

Covent Garden's Apple Market Carnaby Street decorations The giant plug in Carnaby Street gets a Jubilee makeover Harrods Harrods celebrates the Diamond Jubilee A Jubilee Carriage on the London Underground Jubilee line A large portrait of the Royal family on Sea Containers House Oxford Street - Jasmine Guiness and corgis at the launch of the decorations A Jubilee window at Fortnum and Mason - one of the 10 heraldic beasts ]]> 0
Diamond Jubilee Parties You Don’t Need a Ticket For in London Wed, 30 May 2012 09:00:53 +0000

By Louise Ridley

If you haven’t yet made plans for the Diamond Jubilee weekend, we’ve rounded up the best parties you can head to without a ticket. Just pitch up and start celebrating.

Jubilee Jam Festival at Proud Camden

Proud Camden will be decked out in bunting for a four-day festival, with afternoon tea and vintage swap shops in the daytime and performances from burlesque to folk in the evenings – including a New Bands On The Block event on Tuesday. 2-5 Jun

Don’t miss: Cocktails in teapots in the South Gallery’s vintage tea room

Duke of York Square’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Party

Royal footmen will serve high tea in Duke of York Square accompanied by a military band. The dress code is whatever you’d wear for tea with the Queen. There’s a prize for the best outfit – and you can also catch the pageant on big screens. 3 Jun

Don’t miss: The look-a-like Queen greeting her subjects

God Save the Clam, London Fields

A British punk twist on a US clam bake will take over the rooftop of  The Emigre Studios, overlooking London Fields for the weekend. Expect seafood in buckets, beach huts and deckchairs, rounded off with a cocktail bar and DJs. You’ll need to book for the bake but the Snack Shack selling lobster corn dogs and crackling popcorn is open to all. 31 May-3 Jun

Don’t miss: Finding out what a Fat Elvis sundae is at the ice cream bar

Piccadilly Big Jubilee Lunch

Piccadilly will be closed to traffic for the first time on Sunday for a huge street party with food stalls, fairground rides and entertainment laid on by the area’s legendary establishments like The Ritz and Fortnum & Mason. The lunch table is fully booked but the rest of the party is open to all. 3 Jun

Don’t miss: The chance to pose with an iconic BAFTA award

Street party at Westfield Stratford City

Head to Westfield Stratford City’s Four Dials and Chestnut Plaza areas, which will be carpeted with grass for a barbecue and festival-inspired performances from musicians, jugglers, street artists and more. Food stores will offer tastings and a large screen will show the pageant and procession. 2-5 Jun

Don’t miss: Giant versions of games like Jenga and Connect 4

What are your plans for the Jubilee weekend in London?

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Top 10 Diamond Jubilee Afternoon Teas in London Tue, 29 May 2012 08:50:08 +0000

London is getting ready for a huge Diamond Jubilee celebration this weekend, and what better way to get into the Jubilee spirit than with traditional British afternoon tea? Here’s a round-up of some of London’s best Jubilee teas.

The Berkeley

The Berkeley’s popular Pret-a-Portea has been given a royal twist with biscuits, fancies and choux buns in the shape of the Royal Family’s most memorable hats and handbags. Look out for praline profiteroles in the shape of the famous Philip Treacy fascinator worn by Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding.

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason, supplier of tea to the Royal Family, has opened a brand-new tea room in honour of the occasion. The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon offers more than 150 teas, all served with a timer that rings when your pot reaches its optimum brewing time. Choose the set afternoon tea menu, or combine a savoury dish with a sweet treat from the Diamond Jubilee Cake Carriage.


Kettner’s is serving Tea Fit For A Queen over the Jubilee bank holiday, including traditional finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, treacle tart, Chelsea buns, rhubarb jelly, old English trifle and chocolate digestive cake. The menu is priced at £18.67 – a reference to the year the Soho institution opened.

Brown’s Hotel

The English Tea Room at Brown’s Hotel is serving Jubilee afternoon tea with Crown Jewels macaroon, Battenberg cake, lemon pusset teacup, Lady Grey macaroon, pistachio cake, boozy trifle, scones and sandwiches. For a royal treat, add a glass of Ruinart Brut Champagne.

John Lewis Oxford Street

If you’re shopping in London’s West End over the Jubilee bank holiday, pop into John Lewis Oxford Street for The 5 O’Clock Tea Club. The tea is inspired by the gin with Dubonnet and lemon that Her Majesty is said to enjoy in the afternoon, represented on the menu by gin-infused jellies and chocolate muffins drenched in Dubonnet.

Royal Garden Hotel

Located just a stone’s throw from Kensington Palace, with views over Kensington Gardens, the Royal Garden Hotel is a perfect location for royal afternoon tea. Here the Jubilee tea includes Victoria sandwich sponge, English rose teacake, Earl Grey opera, champagne and strawberry tart, Elizabeth trifle and Windsor nut mousse.

EDF Energy London Eye

For something a bit different, try afternoon tea in a London Eye capsule with amazing views over London. The menu includes egg and cress rolls, mini éclairs, scones and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Alternatively, take to the river Thames with a 1952 Jubilee Tea on-board the London Eye Barracuda.

The Royal Horseguards

The five-star Royal Horseguards hotel is serving very British afternoon tea for just £20.12. Served on the hotel’s terrace with views of the river Thames and London Eye, the tea includes roast beef sandwiches, biscuits shaped as red London buses and Union flags, Crown Jewel cupcake and more.


At design hotel Andaz, the Diamond Queen Afternoon Tea includes a commemorative cocktail made from Earl Grey tea stirred with Dubonnet, Bombay Sapphire gin and bitters. The menu also includes coronation chicken sandwiches, scones and jam, millionaire shortbread, trifle, a selection of pastries and a pot of Earl Grey tea.

The Langham

The Langham has teamed up with luxury brand Asprey to launch the Asprey Diamond Jubilee Tea, served in the hotel’s glamorous Palm Court. The menu is inspired by Asprey’s jewellery designs and iconic purple colour, and includes blueberry and bilberry Battenberg, purple jasmine with apricot, and blackcurrant and white chocolate mousse.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 2-5 June 2012. More afternoon teas in London

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Best Places To Watch The Thames Jubilee Pageant Fri, 25 May 2012 15:23:15 +0000 The Thames Jubilee Pageant will see 1,000 boats, carrying 20,000 people, process down the Thames in celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The monarch will be on the Royal Barge – named the Spirit of Chartwell – and the pageant will be full of sights as well as sounds, thanks to a floating belfry and 10 musical barges.

Don’t miss the opportunity to view this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle, use our guide to find the best places to stand.


If you’re prepared to get there well before the pageant’s 2.25pm start, some of the bridges will offer unbeatable views. Some of them are closed off for private events, but the ends of Lambeth, Westminster and Blackfriars will be open. These areas are expected to be very crowded and spectators will be subject to bag searches. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant website recommends viewing the pageant from the river bank.

River Bank:

More London: south side of the river by Tower Bridge. This large open area will afford good views of the pageant and the Avenue of Sail.

Embankment: north side of the river by Temple tube station. The Queen’s barge will stop by HMS President at 4.15pm to watch the rest of the pageant go by – stand on the wide pavement here to get a good view. There are also three large TV screens in this area.

Victoria Tower Gardens: north side of the river by the Houses of Parliament. This leafy area has a great view of the river, contains a viewing screen and provides ample space for a picnic.

Chelsea Embankment: nearest tube Sloane Square. The area next to the Royal Hospital should afford a great view and will feature viewing screens across its length. If that gets too busy, however, we reckon that the area on the south side of the river between Battersea and Albert bridges might be quieter as it’s harder to access. 

Things to note:

  • Battersea Park’s Jubilee Festival is now sold out
  • Most of the riverside dining venues, like the OXO Tower restaurant, are either sold out or serving set menus.
  • The pageant disperses at Greenwich – if you can’t find space elsewhere then head east of Tower Bridge to watch the ships dock along the river.
  • The Avenue of Sail – a display of more than 60 boats too large to join the pageant – will be open for viewing from 30 May.

The Thames Jubilee Pageant takes place on 3 June from 2.25pm. Visit our event page for a map of the route. Check the official Thames Jubilee Pageant website and Twitter feed for more information.

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