This May bank holiday weekend, will see a number of joyous Coronation events in London to celebrate the crowing of King Charles III. As millions around the world tune in to watch the Coronation of the King at Westminster Abbey, the capital will be coming alive with jubilant street parties and garden soirées to mark the momentous occasion. Whether you’re in the mood for a bit of pomp and ceremony or simply want to have a right royal knees-up, these are the key coronation events in London you need to know about.
Coronation Events in London
The Coronation Procession
Saturday 6 May
The Coronation of King Charles III is taking place on the morning of Saturday 6 May 2023 at Westminster Abbey, and millions of people are expected to line the neighbouring streets hoping to catch a glimpse of our new Monarch. The 1.3-mile route will take the King and Queen Consort from Westminster Abbey along Whitehall, travelling down The Mall and entering Buckingham Palace through the Centre Gate.
Two wonderfully ornate carriages will carry Their Majesties along the procession, with the Diamond Jubilee State Coach taking them from the Palace to the Abbey, and the Gold State Coach taking them back to Buckingham Palace. There will be viewing areas lining The Mall and Whitehall, but you’ll have to get there at the crack of dawn if you want any chance of nabbing a spot. There’ll also be huge screens placed in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park where you can watch the procession unfold.
The Coronation Concert
Sunday 7 May
While the Coronation Concert isn’t happening in London, Windsor is close enough that you could make a quick day trip if you wanted to soak up to the atmosphere in the regal market town. The concert is taking place in the grounds of Windsor Castle and will feature big-name acts including Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Take That. Also appearing on the night will be Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli, Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, English singer/songwriter Freya Ridings and British composer/producer Alexis Ffrench, while the concert will be hosted by Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville.
The event will also feature appearances from The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal College of Music and The Royal College of Art, who “will come together for the first time ever to create a spectacular one-off performance”. They will be joined by the new Doctor Who Ncuti Gatwa and Olivier-nominated theatre star, Mei Mac for the performance, which is set to “combine music, dance, art and theatre in what will be the ultimate royal collaboration”, exploring “themes of love and togetherness”.
Ten thousand members of the public who obtained tickets via ballot will join volunteers from the King and Queen Consort’s various charities in the audience. If you can’t make it to the concert itself, it will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and there will also be a screen erected in St James’s Park for those looking to gather and watch the show together.
The Coronation Big Lunch
The entire weekend
Over the bank holiday weekend there are expected to be thousands of street parties taking place up and down the country, and Londoners are encouraged to take part in The Coronation Big Lunch. Organised by the Big Lunch team at the Eden Project, the event aims to brings neighbours and communities together to celebrate the Coronation over a festive meal. There are Big Lunch packs available to download online for ideas, inspiration and practical tips to organise your event. Whatever you do, don’t forget to make the Coronation Quiche – the recipe was shared by the King and Queen Consort themselves and is flavoured with spinach, broad beans and fresh tarragon.
The Big Help Out
Monday 8 May
There may be an extra bank holiday scheduled for Monday 8 May 2023, but the idea is to use it for a national day of volunteering rather than simply taking a jolly day off. The initiative was developed by the Scouts and the Royal Voluntary Service and organised by the Together Coalition in honour of King Charles III’s life of service. Numerous organisations are taking part in the Big Help Out, including the National Trust, RSPCA and British Red Cross. Head to their website to find out how you can get involved.
Coronation Street Party at Battersea Power Station
6 – 7 May
Where better than an iconic London landmark like the Battersea Power Station to celebrate this momentous British occasion? Over the weekend the newly re-opened historic building will be hosting a street party under its famous chimneys, with Union Jack-themed decorations and bunting galore. Bring a picnic as you come to watch the Coronation Service and Procession unfold on the big screens in Power Station Park, while you’re serenaded by live acts including Elton John and Spice Girls tribute bands. There’s plenty to keep the kids occupied too, from face painting in the Turbine Hall to balloon artists who can whip up an inflatable corgi in no time.
The Crown Jewels Garden at Covent Garden
21 April – 14 May
Never ones to miss out on a party, the clever folk at Covent Garden are creating a traditional British pub garden in the heart of the Piazza to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. Entitled ‘The Crown Jewels Garden’, the beautifully landscaped spot will play host to a schedule of live entertainment, including piano sing-alongs, as well as screening the Coronation ceremony live on Saturday 6 May. Created by Mrs Riot owner Nick Zuppar and acclaimed set designer Sonja Klaus, the garden will also be offering up a menu of pub classics including sausage rolls, ploughman’s boards and a Royal Trifle dessert.
Mayfair’s Coronation Garden Party
6 – 7 May
Over the bank holiday weekend, Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square will be transformed into an enchanting garden wonderland. Inspired by the iconic gardens of King Charles’s Highgrove estate, the event’s being curated by Jemima and Alice Herbert, the sisters behind Lay London, so you know it’s going to be one of the most stylish Coronation events in London. In the garden revellers will find a charming countryside picnic scene, accessed via a trellised archway topped with a crown-like display, with 30 communal picnic benches covered in a kaleidoscope of colours and fabrics. There’ll be giant screens for watching the Coronation events unfold, as well as Coronation chicken burgers on offer from the Barley Mow and an ice cream cart from the Connaught Pâtisserie.
Crown to Couture at Kensington Palace
Until 29 October
To coincide with all the pomp and pageantry surrounding the King’s Coronation, Kensington Palace has launched a special exhibition celebrating regal fashion in all its forms. The display features over 200 items, ranging from 18th-century court suits and gowns of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection to the golden Peter Dundas creation worn by Beyoncé to the 2017 Grammy Awards and the ‘Sun God’ outfit Billy Porter chose for the 2019 Met Gala. Billed as ‘the fashion show of the centuries’, it offers a fascinating insight into how the royals remain at the forefront of culture in modern society.
Coronation Exhibition at Westminster Abbey
Until 30 September
While you may not be able to make it to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation itself, paying a visit to its Coronation exhibition is the next best thing. Displayed in the Chapter House, the exhibition features historic illustrations and archive photography that aim to demystify many of the event’s key ceremonial aspects, regalia and objects. Considering the site’s unparalleled royal history – Coronations have taken place here for nearly a thousand years – it’s a must-visit for 2023.
A Coronation Celebration at the Royal Mews
Sunday 7 May
There has never been a better time to take a stroll along the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, which is responsible for all road travel arrangements for the King and members of the Royal Family, from horse-and-carriage to livery and harness. To mark the Coronation, they’re hosting a special event where you can come and marvel at the ornate carriages used in the procession, including the opulent Gold State Coach. Afterwards, families can head to the Livery Room for a sparkling arts and crafts session inspired by the regal event.
King’s Road Street Party
Saturday 6 May
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will be hosting a grand street party on the day of the Coronation itself, pedestrianising the stretch between Sloane Square and Cheltenham Terrace and festooning the entire area with joyful bunting. There’ll be live music and entertainment inspired by the King’s passions, as well as a sustainable food champions market, an enormous floral installation of the Royal Crest and Coronation emblem and a coordinated march by the Royal Hospital’s Chelsea Pensioners. But the undeniable highlight of the day is set to be the parade of 100 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels down the King’s Road, coordinated by local pet boutique Love My Human.