There’s plenty to do in London if you, like thousands of Indians, are travelling to the UK this summer. This year, celebrations for the coronation weekend have been scheduled from 6 to 8 May, but the merriment will continue before and after. Iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and Battersea Power Station will be illuminated with lasers and drones over the weekend. Millions of people are expected to participate in the three-day celebration, from 6 May, when Charles III will be crowned king, till 8 May. Apart from the royal processions, there will be a number of community initiatives like street parties and potluck picnics organised by royal fans. Here are five things to do in London this May.
Kensington Palace is staging its largest exhibition, Crown to Couture. Curated by Alexander McQueen’s production designer Joseph Bennett, the exhibition, which is on till 29 October, showcases how the Georgians influenced fashion through the ages. There are 200 stunning outfits on display, including Lady Gaga's luminous green MTV Awards dress, the Monique Lhuillier gown worn by Phoebe Waller-Bridge at the 2019 Emmys in 2019, Billy Porter's spectacular 'Sun God' outfit for the Met Gala 2019, and Lizzo's Thom Browne dress with a gold cape jacket for the 2022 Met Gala. There are plenty of royal outfits, including garments worn by monarchs at court. Taking pride of place is the Rockingham mantua, a court dress that dates to the 1760s and includes “a fitted bodice, stomacher, narrow waist-draped train, and a wide matching petticoat”. It is said that it would take more than £10,000 today to create this outfit.
Get your sneakers on and walk through the streets of London. Launched to mark King Charles III's coronation, this guided 90-minute walk explores the history behind Britain's coronations. It starts near Westminster Abbey, the site of every coronation since William the Conqueror, and ends at Buckingham Palace. The walk is scheduled for 2 pm on 14 May 14 and 11 June, and can be booked online.
Who doesn’t know the English tradition of afternoon tea, or of the iconic red London buses? You can hop on to a classic Routemaster bus and enjoy a spectacular tea curated by the Royal Butler, Grant Harrold, while you tour the iconic sights of London till 31 May. If you’d rather not eat on the move, partake of the leisurely Coronation Afternoon Tea at The Goring, a favourite with the royals. Sip on Fortnum & Mason Coronation Darjeeling Tea or a glass of Bollinger Brut Champagne as you savour amuse bouche, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, along with cakes, bakes and tarts. The Rubens at the Palace has two special menus inspired by the royal family for coronation weekend featuring multiple courses and British classics. The Cellarium Cafe at Westminster Abbey will serve a special Coronation Afternoon Tea influenced by Charles’ passion for sustainability till the end of July, while Grosvenor House’s has a limited-edition afternoon tea in the Park Room.
The free Coronation Garden Party at Grosvenor Square, a five-minute walk from Bond Street station, is for those who want an easy-breezy celebration. Scheduled to be held on May 6-7, the family-friendly party will see the square being transformed with live music, beer, wine, cocktails, coronation chicken burgers and deckchairs from which you can watch the coronation ceremony on a giant screen.
A day of volunteering has been scheduled for 8 May. The Big Help Out aims to raise awareness about volunteering across the UK. There are numerous sectors in which you can lend a hand—community, animal welfare, health and social care, crisis, young people and children, elderly, sports, arts, sustainability and environment. Whether it’s volunteering for a charity or keeping an elder company, there’s plenty that needs to be done.