Do you smell that? It’s the sweet, sweet smell of an extra bank holiday. It’s also the whiff of King Charles III’s coronation, which has crept up on us a lot quicker than we expected. And whether you’re a flag-waving monarchist type or a proud republican, there’s absolutely no getting away from it.
The celebrations will take place from May 6 to May 8 – and on top of the grand coronation ceremony and massive official concert, there will also be a heap of other big events happening across the country as the old boy takes to the throne.
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From properly posh coronation balls to family-friendly days out at Legoland, there are all sorts of options for people looking to get festive. So without further ado, here are 12 of the very best coronation events happening in the UK.
Coronation weekend events in the UK
1. Bop along to a bad-ass brass band in Norwich
Nothing says ‘coronation’ like a brass band, right? The good guys at the East Anglian Brass Band Association are bringing the Foden’s Band – who also happen to be the second best in the entire world – to Norwich for a special coronation Sunday concert. The programme includes music played at the 1937 and 1953 coronations, such as ‘Crown Imperial’ and ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’, as well as a selection of music from ‘The Last Night of the Proms’. Oh, and don’t forget: it’s BYOF (bring your own flag).
The Halls, St Andrew’s Plain, Norwich. May 7 from 3pm.
2. Get crafty at Edinburgh’s Holyroodhouse Palace
His Majesty’s official Scottish residence will be opening its grand doors over the big weekend, inviting kids in to get crafty and create some mementoes to remember the occasion for years to come. Guests will be able to decorate their own crown to wear as they explore the Edinburgh palace, and can also design their own flag and make their own ‘commemorative badge’ in honour of the Corrie Naish. Nice.
Holyroodhouse Palace, Edinburgh. Included in palace ticket: £18 adults, £10 children.
3. Go all-out at the official King Charles III coronation procession
If you want to glimpse at a slice of the real action you can line the IRL parade route to the coronation service for free. ‘The King’s Procession’ is due to start at Buckingham Palace and will head down The Mall before turning right around the corner of St James’s Park, through the Horse Guards Parade, down Parliament Street before ending at Westminster Abbey. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line the route, so best get there early if you want a front-row spot. There will also be screens in key areas if you sleep through your alarm.
May 6. From Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, London.
4. Hop on a cruise fit for a King
Okay, at £7,495 per person, this one doesn’t come cheap. But if you’re one of the lucky few who do have that sort of cash to splash, you’ll be able to sail into the coronation weekend in style on board a super-bougie cruise exploring Scotland’s west coast. The Hebridean Princess will visit the likes of Oban, Skye, Gairloch and Shieldaig, and there will also be the opportunity to watch the coronation ceremony on board, complete with lashings of fizz. Cheers to that.
May 2-9. Departs from Oban.
5. See a bit of everything at a variety show
The Severn Valley heritage railway in Worcestershire is pulling out all of the stops to throw a bumper Corrie Naish shindig you won’t forget anytime soon. There’ll be entertainment from magician Damon Conlan, as well as live music, comedy and much more. There’ll also be a huge screen on Kidderminster concourse broadcasting the official celebrations so you can keep up to date with all of the royal fun happening in the capital.
Severn Valley Railway, Shropshire. May 6, 6.30-10pm. Adult tickets £15.
6. See where the King spent summer holidays as a child
Ahoy! Grab a ticket for Edinburgh’s Royal Yacht Britannia over the coronation weekend to see the very ship where King Charles enjoyed childhood summer holidays and toured the Western Isles with the fam. You’ll be able to explore all five decks of the Royal Yacht, from the State Apartments, the accommodation and living space of the Royal Family to the Naval quarters. Oh, and if you’re feeling peckish? You can fill up on a coronation-chicken sandwich in the Royal Deck Tea Room.
Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh. Adults from £18.50.
7. Treat the kids to a Lego fest
One for all the mini royalists among us. To mark the start of the new monarch’s reign, Legoland is providing two days of kid-friendly festivities. Balloon modelling, face painting, magic shows: this fiesta is going to have it all. Visitors to Lego’s Discovery Centre in Manchester will of course get the royal treatment and be greeted with mocktails, crowns and blowers on arrival. There will also be a DJ set to bring the multicoloured plastic house down.
Legoland Discovery Centre, Trafford Centre, Greater Manchester. May 6 and 7. £25.
8. Party among plants in Cornwall
King Charles is known for his fondness for the environment. So why not spend the big day in the world’s largest indoor rainforest? The Eden Project has promised a line-up of fascinating talks and fabulous music to mark the occasion. There will also be a whole load of things to see and take part in dotted around the project. The best part? Everyone under 25 gets to explore the world-famous biomes completely free for one day and one day only.
Eden Project, Cornwall. May 6-8, 9.30am-6pm. Adult tickets from £32.50, under 25s go free.
9. Walk in royal footsteps at Hever Castle
Once the childhood home of Henry VIII’s ill-fated wife, Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle in Kent is hosting a bunch of royal-themed family activities. Visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds before checking out the face painting or the free crown-and-shield-making workshops. You can also expand your historical knowledge by heading inside the castle and mooching around the exhibition focusing on the lives of Tudor queens Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.
Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent. May 6-8, all day. Adult tickets from £19.05.
10. Glam up and go to a legit coronation ball
If you’re looking for something a bit more upmarket than paper plates and sausage rolls, the York Coronation Ball could be for you. You’ll be digging out your fanciest glad rags and soaking in the neoclassical splendour of the city’s Grand Assembly Rooms. Built in 1730, the setting will make you feel at one with high society, like you’re at a real-life royal do. After indulging in some sea bass and tiramisu during a three-course meal, guests will head to the dance floor accompanied by a 20-piece big band.
The Grand Assembly Rooms, York. May 7, 6.30-11pm. £55.
11. Sing for the King at Bristol Cathedral
Apparently, Bristol is home to more choirs than anywhere else in the UK. On the first Monday of May, 650 sopranos, altos and basses are expected to descend on Bristol Cathedral to pay tribute to the King. It also happens to be the city’s 650th anniversary, so if you’re a firm republican you can simply celebrate Bristol’s brilliance instead of pledging loyalty to the monarch. The event is completely free with no need to book in advance. It will be recorded and sent to Buckingham Palace ahead of the big occasion.
Bristol Cathedral, Bristol. May 1, 3pm.
12. See the coronation on a silver screen
Official ‘watch zones’ will be popping up in cities all around the UK on the coronation weekend. So if you can’t get down to London, this is your next best bet to feel part of history. Around 30 big screens will appear up and down the country, including one in Cardiff Castle and another in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester.
Multiple venues. Saturday May 6.
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