Those of you who live in cities know that gardening space is usually very limited. We recently moved from a country cottage with virtually unlimited space to a row house in the heart of the city. The move forced me to give up a lot of the plants I worked so hard on last year, but I was able to move my containers. On a recent trip to London, I found the cutest street of row houses where each had an extensive container garden despite having limited space.
There were giant containers filled with an olive trees surrounded by lavender and ivy, pots of begonias and hydrangeas, fuschia, and sage. The containers ranged from modern black rectangles to aged terra cotta. Proving that you can garden anywhere, within any limitation, as long as you have a bit of space and an imagination!
Imagine the quiet excitement filling my chest when I looked up an events calendar and saw that Trooping the Colour would occur during a June business trip to London. I recruited a few friends to come along, and for the cost of our Tube ticket to Green Park, we had one of the best experiences of our lives.
Trooping the Colour is a British event dating back hundreds of years. It’s a celebration of the Monarch, as well as an annual review of royal guards and troops, and a great event to experience British pomp and circumstance.
The event is unique in that you get a lot of the Royal Family together at once. The Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Catherine, Prince Harry, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edwards all participate. If you’re visiting London in June, it’s a much better experience than the typical changing of the guard!
Here’s my guide to Trooping the Colour:
Usually starts around 10:30am.
For the full procession, check out the Wikipedia article. Simply, the foot guards, military bands, and mounted troops begin the parade. The Royal Family follows in carriages and on horse. The troops are reviewed at the Horse Guards (tickets are very limited and given out by lottery). The Royal Family retreats back to Buckingham Palace, and after a short while the guards will remove the barriers at the end of The Mall, form a human chain, and the parade watchers can follow on foot behind them up The Mall to Buckingham Palace. The family appears on the balcony while a 41-gun salute is given and a flyover by the Air Force is performed.
The entire experience ends around 1pm.
Tips and hints
Check online for the date. It’s always a Saturday in June.
There is no cover for the weather, so bring an umbrella and rainjacket if needed. Get there about 90 minutes early for the best seats, but an hour is enough if you have a smaller group. If you have a large group, split up and spend some time in St. James’s Park while the other half saves seats.
Try to get as close to The Royal Society as possible. This is where the guards will first let the public in to walk up The Mall to Buckingham Palace. If you are further down at the end of the Parade, no worries, just walk as fast as you can down the footpath until the crowd stops.
Enjoy the wait and make friends with people around you! Some attendees come every year, which is how we were able to get so many good tips.
There are bathrooms at Marlborough Gate exit of St. James’s Park, and the streets aren’t barricaded until about 20 minutes before the parade starts.
Don’t blink. The family goes by so fast coming and going that you’ll miss them if you look away. We missed Prince William on the first pass.
When the guards remove the barricades, walk down the right side of the street as closely behind the guards as possible. Avoid the center as the crowd will back up. The guards will circle around the memorial and then allow the crowd to move forward. If you are directly behind them, and walk very quickly, you’ll be able to get at the gate of Buckingham without much fuss. Be nice. This is a very polite British crowd, which means little to no shoving, and absolutely no loud talking. They barely even cheered when the Queen rode by!
If you aren’t interested in standing and watching, you can sit on the grass surrounding the outer circle of the Victoria Memorial and watch the experience from a distance.
Two Americans, an Irish man, and a French woman walk into a diner in Dublin and order Cuban sandwiches. It sounds like a start to a joke! But on one rainy Sunday in Dublin, it was real life. After spending a night or two with friends, we ended our weekend with one last lunch at Damson, an American style diner on William Street in Dublin. Yes, we all ordered identically. No, we didn’t care.
Get the Cuban, it’s the closest to the real thing I’ve found outside of Florida (although it could be a bit more pressed). Skip the mac n’ cheese. I’ve yet to find a good version here in Ireland!
Paris is a city made for walking. The metro makes it convenient to hop around, but staying underground means you miss out on most of the beautiful architecture and side streets of Paris. Nowhere else can you get as much visual bang in such little time. This is especially true for the walk between Tuilleries and Luxembourg, two of the most famous gardens in Paris.
The walk in between the gardens is about 35 minutes without stops, but if you take the long way, you’ll be able to see the Pont des Arts and Notre Dame. You can also take the metro; both gardens are on the M12 line.
Does it count as tradition if you’ve only done it twice? If so, we have a tradition that involves the steps of the Musée d’Orsay and a sweet treat and latte from a nearby shop or bakery. Stuffed full of sugar, we head into the museum to view Monet after Delacroix after Manet. Not too shabby for an afternoon’s work.
The Musée d’Orsay is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30am to 6:00pm (9:45pm on Thursdays). Admission is €11. Photos are not permitted but this rule is not strictly enforced, unlike most other museums (ahem, I’m talking about you Guggenheim!). To create your own little world, put in headphones with a favorite playlist and cruise through the crowds. I recommend stopping to enjoy the views from the museum windows. They include some of Paris’ most famous sites, including the Louvre and Sacré Coeur.
Hello! I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in Kilkenny, Ireland. Honeysuckle Life® is my creative outlet for my adventures in my home, kitchen, and travels. I'm available for hire, so if you would like to see a portfolio, please contact me!
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