A true moment in history is upon us. The UK, and the world, is preparing to celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and his wife, Her Majesty The Queen Consort Camilla on Saturday 6th May 2023. Alongside the official celebrations, there are events aplenty taking place across the country over the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond, from major exhibitions to castle sleepovers and bespoke afternoon teas.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Coronation, London and on big screens nationwide (6th May 2023)
The Coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey in London following a procession from Buckingham Palace known as ‘The King’s Procession’. After the Service, their Majesties and other members of the Royal Family will return to the palace in a larger ceremonial procession known as ‘The Coronation Procession’, before appearing on the balcony as a finale to the day’s events. For those not in the capital, big screens around the country will be showing the event. More information can be found at www.royal.uk/coronation-weekend-plans-announced and www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/inspire-me/coronation2023
Celebrations in Windsor
Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world and one of the official residences of His Majesty The King, will play a pivotal role in the Coronation celebration period. Visitors can explore the famous backdrop of the Coronation Concert (7th May) which will bring together stars from around the globe in a performance to remember, including the Coronation Choir, made up of a diverse group created from the nation’s keenest community choirs and amateur singers, and including an attraction titled ‘Lighting up the Nation’, showcasing iconic locations lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations. Later in the Summer (7th July), explore the splendour of the castle grounds and Windsor Great Park in a new way at the Parallel Windsor event, the UK’s national celebration of disability inclusion and wellbeing. Run, walk or push, from 100m, 1k, to 5k and 10k plus a SuperSensory1K – all finishing against the backdrop of Windsor Castle.
English Heritage Coronation Weekend, Isle of Wight, Warwickshire & South Yorkshire (6th May 2023)
Gather your family, pack a picnic blanket and celebrate the Coronation live on the big screen in the spectacular grounds of one of three English Heritage sites. Where better to see royal history made than from Osborne, the former home of Queen Victoria, the Elizabethan favourite, historic Kenilworth Castle, or the grandeur of Brodsworth Hall? As the coronation of King Charles III airs, the livestream will be projected for all to see, followed by family-friendly movies throughout the rest of the weekend. Tickets are free, but booking is recommended.
Coronation screening, Nottingham Castle and nationwide (6th–7th May 2023)
Just in time for the Coronation celebrations, the heritage site Nottingham Castle will throw open its doors to the public once again for a May preview opening before it is due to reopen fully in June. The grounds of Nottingham Castle will screen the live action as it unfolds with big screens broadcasting the Coronation (Saturday 6th May) and the Coronation Concert (Sunday 7th May). The Coronation will also be shown on over 30 big screen sites up and down the county, including Manchester, Sheffield and Brighton.
Coronation Cruise, Henley-on-Thames (6th–7th May 2023)
‘A right royal knees up’ afloat the River Thames is how the Coronation Cruise is described by operator Hobbs of Henley, with a DJ, Pimms and a British buffet on the menu. They are also operating a quintessentially English afternoon tea special onboard the New Orleans vessel. You can find more information at www.hobbsofhenley.com/King-Charles-Coronation
Big Coronation Celebration, Harrogate (6th–8th May 2023)
Harrogate, which King Charles III and various members of the Royal Family have visited regularly for the annual Great Yorkshire Show, is hosting The Big Coronation Celebration from 6-8 May. The event is being held in Harrogate’s beautiful Valley Gardens, of which the Sun Pavilion and Colonnades were granted listed status in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year. Free activities will include a big screen showing the events from London, family friendly fun, a fairground and an artisan market.
Celebrate the King’s Coronation at Hever Castle, Kent (6th–8th May 2023)
Be a king for a day at Hever Castle, the home of two former queens, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. The historic site is running a free craft activity session to decorate a crown or shield along with regal face painting. Visitors are encouraged to bring along a picnic and take in the gardens during the celebrations. Head inside the castle to learn more about its heritage and previous owners in the exhibition titled ‘Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers’ and view two former prayer books belonging to the queens, currently on loan from The Morgan Library, New York until June. More information is available at www.hevercastle.co.uk/whats-on/kings-coronation
The Coronation Big Lunch and The Big Help Out, nationwide (6th–8th May 2023)
The Coronation Big Lunch is an official part of The King and The Queen Consort’s Coronation Weekend, inviting communities and neighbours to come together in celebration of ‘friendship, food and fun’. Tens of thousands of events are expected across the United Kingdom, with the joint mission to raise community spirits as part of this historic moment. Her Majesty The Queen Consort has been Patron of the Big Lunch since 2013. Monday 8 May will be a bank holiday in honour of the occasion where the nation will be invited to take part in The Big Help Out, which will encourage people to try volunteering and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas.
Royal Coronation Joust at Chiltern Open Air Museum, Kent (7th-8th May 2023)
Families are encouraged to step back in time during the Coronation weekend and get ready to hear the clash of steel and the thunder of hooves as armoured knights enact spectacular medieval jousting displays and hand-to-hand combat at Chiltern Open Air Museum. More information at www.knightsroyal.co.uk
Picnic in the Park, Temple Newsam, Leeds (8th May 2023)
Pitch up a blanket on the West Lawn and pull out a picnic at the historic country estate that is Temple Newsam for Coronation celebratory activities, both in the house and on the farm, including games and music.
Exhibitions with Majesty
Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court Palace, London (until 18th May 2023)
The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) based at Hampton Court Palace is an international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery, and were responsible for assisting Alexander McQueen’s team in designing the Princess of Wales‘ wedding dress, shoes and veil for the 2011 Royal Wedding. This year the RSN is celebrating its 150th anniversary and the palace is opening its doors for their special events, which are otherwise not accessible to visitors. The exhibitions will display a selection of hand embroidery, showcasing pieces from its historical collection through to contemporary work created by current students and graduates.
Crown to Couture, Kensington Palace, London (5th April to 29th October 2023)
Kensington Palace’s new exhibition, Crown to Couture is sure to be one the most spectacular displays ever seen at the palace. It will transport visitors back to the 1720s and 30s to explore the similarities between the Georgian Court and the contemporary red carpet – both stages for displaying fashion, setting spectacular surviving examples of 18th-century court dress against some of the world’s most recognisable red carpet looks.
Royal Connections at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (until 30th July 2023)
Blenheim Palace, never one to shy away from big events, will celebrate its centuries-old relationship with the Royal Family in a major new exhibition which will showcase previously unseen artefacts, photo albums, robes, crowns and coronets belonging to the family.
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Crown Jewels, Tower of London, London (year round)
London’s iconic castle and World Heritage site, the Tower of London, lets visitors get up close to the Crown Jewels in the heart of this historic fortress. The Crown Jewels have been stored and displayed at the Tower of London since 1661, continuing a long tradition of storing precious objects here, including armour and royal regalia. The world-famous collection includes 23,578 gemstones that are set in crowns, tiaras, orbs and sceptres used over the centuries, some of which will be worn at the Coronation and at royal ceremonies in the present day. Following the Coronation itself, the Crown Jewels will be returned and displayed in the Jewel House under the watchful protection of the King’s Guard.
Historic Coronation Robes at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire (until 31st May 2023)
The Dukes of Rutland have taken part in most coronations since James II in 1685 and the historic ceremonial robes made for the 9th Duke of Rutland for the Coronation of George VI in 1937 have now gone on public display in the Ballroom of Belvoir Castle. The robes made for the Manners family have not been on public view for more than 22 years and are now displayed at the Leicestershire castle along with Coronation chairs and archive family photographs, documenting the regal occasions.
Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians, Buckingham Palace (21st April to 8th October 2023)
Housed in the Queen’s Gallery of Buckingham Palace, the ‘Style & Society’ exhibition explores what the Georgians wore, from ‘the practical dress of laundry maids to the glittering gowns worn at court’. A revolutionary period in society, the fashion worn tells a tale of life in the Georgian period with the exhibition offering a closer look at markers of the time including paintings, prints and drawings by artists from Gainsborough to Zoffany and Hogarth, as well as luxurious textiles, sparkling jewellery, and a range of accessories.
Feasts fit for a King
Highgrove Gardens Tour and cream tea, Gloucestershire (select dates from April to September 2023)
This Spring/Summer lovers of horticulture can enjoy a tour of His Majesty’s Gloucestershire residence Highgrove’s Gardens to discover the history and inspiration behind its design, followed by a savoury and sweet cream tea served in the Orchard Room. The Ante Room Shop will also host a selection of artwork by His Majesty The King.
Royal Afternoon Tea at Cliveden House, Buckinghamshire
Playing host to every British monarch since King George I, Cliveden House has got serious royal credentials. Dip into decadent sandwiches and sip on golden teas whilst gazing across the Parterre Gardens which are part of the National Trust Gardens surrounding the house. The afternoon menu was inspired by flowers that grow in the Kings’ Royal Gardens and include products from Sandringham’s farm which is part of the much-loved country retreat of the British Royal Family.
Enjoy a new Coronation beer from Windsor & Eton Brewery
In a first for the area, the Windsor & Eton Brewery have launched a new beer to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III. It is their first 100% organic beer brewed in the heart of Windsor using organic barley from the local Royal Farm and organic English hops for a real taste of royal flavours. For those interested in delving deeper into the beer making process, one of Britain’s oldest traditions, tours of the brewery are available where visitors can learn how beer is made and also enjoy a sample along the way.
Coronation Icing Workshop and Afternoon Tea at Biscuiteers, London
Create a sweet treat with a royal edge with the iconic Biscuiteers of Notting Hill and Belgravia who have curated a Coronation Icing Workshop and Afternoon Tea experience inviting budding bakers to get creative and master the skill of ‘feathering and flooding’, all hosted at the Grand Icing Hall at the Ministry of Biscuits.
Coronation Tasting Menu at The Goring, London
The Goring, the only hotel to have been granted a Royal Warrant for hospitality services by Her Majesty The Queen and a firm favourite amongst the family, will be serving a limited-edition Coronation Tasting Menu curated with King Charles III in mind. Championing a plant-based menu, with sweet delights inspired by Welsh specialties and savoury treats that use foraged ingredients, Head Chef Graham Squire has thoughtfully crafted an offering that focuses on the environmental philosophy that is celebrated by King Charles III.
A Royal slumber
The Mayfair Townhouse, London
Occupying a prized location just moments from the Royal Green Park, The Mayfair Townhouse ‘combines luxury with individuality on a grand scale’, making for a perfect base to explore the capital and all of the Coronation festivities from. Especially for the Coronation weekend, a special breakfast, welcome cocktail in The Dandy Bar and Coronation-themed surprise are on the menu for guests, plus a special souvenir to take away.
Royal Chamber, Hedingham Castle, Essex
Slumber like Royalty at Hedingham Castle this year with the new The Royal Chamber opening its doors for the Coronation year. Described as a ‘noble bedroom retreat’, the Chamber hideaway offers a four-poster bed and views across the Essex Countryside. There is also an Escape room experience, dining on the lake and private catering available.
Countryside pursuits Coronation weekend at Lucknam Park, Wiltshire (5th–6th May 2023)
Lucknam Park, Relais and Châteaux country house hotel, will host an array of traditional, countryside pursuits around the 500-acre estate on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th May to celebrate the King’s Coronation. Activities such as archery, and horse riding will be readily available. Creative crown-making will set the tone for the festivities, whilst further royal-themed arts and crafts sessions will be hosted throughout the long weekend for little ones as well as horse and carriage rides. Coronation hampers will be prepared to order.
The Duchy Estate, Isles of Scilly
Holiday like a royal on The Isles of Scilly, 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. Partly owned by royalty, otherwise known as the Duchy of Cornwall, King Charles III owns nearly a third of the residential buildings on the islands, including four that are available to rent, as well as holidaying there himself regularly. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have also visited the islands several times, notably visiting the Tregarthen’s Hotel on St Mary’s for lunch. Cottages such as The Guardhouse and Steval offer panoramic views of the bay. More information at www.duchyofcornwallholidaycottages.co.uk/isles-of-scilly
Historic sites of the capital
Royal London and Royal Palaces Walking Tour, London
Explore the iconic landmarks of the capital and follow in the footsteps of Kings and Queens past with a unique walking tour dedicated to the Royal Family, taking in sights such as Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Clarence House, Horse Guards Parade, Lancaster House and Westminster Abbey.
Crown Jewels of London tour with River Cruise
From St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London, to a scenic float along the River Thames, the Crown Jewels of London Tour takes in the Crown Jewels collection and its bloody history, and closes with an historical journey through London by boat.
Changing of the Guard Tour, London
Play witness to arguably one of the most icon and traditional ceremonies, as part of The Changing of the Guard Tour. Stand in the best spots and get the best pictures whilst learning about the different stages involving the King’s Foot Guards, the Household Cavalry and the Regimental Musical Bands marching towards Buckingham Palace. Following the ceremony visitors will learn about St James’s Palace and Clarence House and the link between monarchy and power in Westminster’s Big Ben, its Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.