With the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee rapidly approaching, and no shortage of events to go to, sights to see, foods to eat, and drinks to… well… drink, we thought we’d throw together a list of some of the things we’re most excited to do for the four-day-weekend. Four days. Imagine that. That’s, like, twice as long as a normal weekend. So, in no particular order (no, really, the numbers are just there to help us count), here’s what we’ll be doing, and think you should be doing, over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.
1. Check out the Carnaby celebrations (June 2 – 5)
Recent visitors to Carnaby will have already spotted the new decorations commemorating the upcoming Platinum Jubilee. With a revamped shimmer arch and a crown installation now perched above Carnaby Street’s iconic Union Jack, there’s also red, white, and blue dotted everywhere and anywhere (even in the lights). But they’re pulling out all the stops across the bank holiday weekend, with performances, giveaways (free cupcakes! Yes, free cupcakes!), one-off promotions and sales, and unique food and drink offerings across Carnaby’s innumerable venues.
2. Indulge in Aqua Shard’s brunch offering
No celebration is complete without a brunch, right?
At Aqua Shard, a three course brunch offering with optional wine pairings, will be accompanied by a live string quartet. Setting off the festivities, there is also a one-off themed cocktail – the Royal Garden, which mixes Whitley Neill Rhubarb Gin, Ketal One Vodka, Rose and Lychee. And making a limited blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance on the a la carte dinner menu is an exclusive desert inspired by the Shard’s Jubilee light show. With the desert only available from June 2 – 5, it may be zn excuse to stay all the way from brunch until dinner.
3-5. Attend an event from the Southbank Centre’s packed weekend schedule (June 1 – 5)
With a line-up of performances and events encompassing the Queen’s influence and presence in music and culture across the ages, there’s a range that goes from punk exploration to orchestral jazz performance and folk dance.
On June 3, the genre-hopping Nu Civilisation Orchestra, presented by Tomorrow’s Warriors, will perform a selection of Duke Ellington’s works – among them his ‘The Queen’s Suite,’ which was inspired by meeting the monarch in 1958.
On June 5, meanwhile, a screening, of Danny Boyle’s latest project ‘Pistol’ – a six-episode limited series about, who else, the Sex Pistols – will be followed by a discussion on the series, and the cultural impact of the punk movement which first exploded onto the scene back in 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In between, in the Queen Elizabeth Centre foyer you can take in a punk performance from The Franklys’ dark, heavy riffs rasping, riot grrrl-influenced vocals.
‘Punk Alley’, which runs a number of performances between Wednesday, June 1 and Friday, June 3, keeps the punk theme going with a family-friend (6+) where you’re invited to an exclusive rehearsal of the Lazurr Tuts. It promises to be a loud, energetic joyride that finds the audience singing, dancing, shouting, and stomping, as everyone is invited to join in, creating the songs, and playing the music.
6. Party with a punk icon at The Sun Tavern (June 2 – 4)
Speaking of the Sex Pistols, want to party with one of them? Then you’ll want to head to Bethnal Green hotspot, The Sun Tavern, where three nights of late openings will see punk icons such as Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, and punk and reggae legend Don Letts taking over the decks. Expect a loud and raucous affair as you take care not to spill the special one-week-only £7 cocktail, England’s Dreaming, that combines HRH’s favourite, dubonnet, with gin, ginger beer, and bergamot bitters.
7-9. Spend the day with (drag) royalty
If queens are the name of the game, how else to spend your time than with some of London’s best drag queens?
W London Hotel is marking the affair with the launch of their Yas Queen cocktail menu and a one-night-only Drag Party in their neon-lit Perception Bar on Wednesday 1st June. It’s the perfect occasion to dress to the nines in your most creative outfit, and dance away the evening as Drag Divas roam the floor ready to lip-sync to the club classics at a moment’s notice.
Mama Shelter London Shoreditch, meanwhile, is running ‘Tea with the Queen’ on June 3. East London drag royalty, Miss Demeanour, will hold court over the festivities as you dine on a three-course sharing menu with music from true pop Queens – Beyonce, Britney, Kylie, and more – soundtracking an evening of entertainment. Lip-sync for the chance to win a bottle of bubbles, and be sure to wear your finest outfits as the most fabulously dressed will win a night’s stay with dinner and breakfast included.
Keeping the drag party going all weekend long is SUSHISAMBA, who are hosting a full line-up of celebrations. Kicking off the (bank-holiday) weekend with a bang, on Wednesday June 1 they have the Royal Drag Parade, and Thursday sees the Regal Burlesque take the stage before Buckingham-inspired drag and dancing take over the floor. Saturday sees it all reach a peak with Queens of Burlesque, Miss Fallon Dee, Didi Derriere, and Miss Kitty Bang Bang taking charge of the celebration, with DJ Kirollus taking the party late into the night.
10. Cuddle up with a corgi (May 29)
Appropriately hitting the city mere days before the Jubilee celebrations is the UK’s first ever corgi café. I mean, need we say more? It’s the perfect way to kick off the celebrations, or at the very least the celebrations are the perfect excuse for it! Be sure to grab your free 80-minute slot here before you miss out.
11-14. Nab some free stuff
Because who doesn’t love free stuff?
Notting Hill’s The Act will not only have a selection of themed cocktails and special performances running over the weekend, they’ll also have free glasses of bubbles up for grabs. If your name is Elizabeth, drop in to The Act on Saturday, June 4, for a glass on the house. Do you think Queen Lizzie will be able to resist?
You can also make a full meal of it by grabbing some free udon from Marugame Udon’s locations. Those called Elizabeth or Eli should be sure to sign up to the Marugame Club before June 31 to receive a free udon bowl redeemable across any of their locations on Saturday June 4.
But those without qualifying names are still in with a chance, as Baker Street’s Tamarind Tiger will be giving away free chicken tikka bowls, their newest dish, in the days leading up to the Jubilee. So, what’s the catch? All customers have to do is turn up between Monday May 30 and Wednesday June 1 with a corgi in tow to receive their free food. Take your dog, or a friend’s dog, or your aunt’s cousin’s father’s best friend’s dog for a walk, and get free food! Just don’t steal one from the corgi café.
Still hungry for more free food? There’s no catch in Fitzrovia, where Al Dente is giving away 100 dishes of Tricolore Gnocchi in a joint celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and Italian Republic Day, which falls on June 2. You’ve just got to be quick, and get down there from 12pm to be in with a chance to get a free plate of commemorative pasta.
15. Have a picnic on a boat (with a butler)
GoBoat have partnered up with The Luxury Picnic Company to offer a high tea boating experience for those taking off from their Kingston upon Thames location. The boats can seat up to 8, with 4- or 8-people picnic baskets available, full of such goodies as baby scones, truffle and rosemary focaccia, tartelettes, and more. For the true VIP royal experience, if you make a booking for Friday June 3, take advantage of the free upgrade for an on-board butler to join the group. While they take the reins (er, rudder? tiller? boat motor handle thing-y?), you can kick back and enjoy the food and the sights. No more arguing over who has to steer while everyone else scoffs all the scones!
16-17. Try some unique red-white-and-blue dishes
Leicester Square’s Japan Centre is leading the pack when it comes to commemorative dishes, with the cutest Union Jack Mochi Donuts on offer for a limited time. The perfect combination of buttery soft donut batter with chewy mochi rice cake, you’re sure to see these all over your Instagram feed this weekend. That is, unless you get in there first. The treats are on sale until Sunday June 5 from Japan Centre’s Mochi Bar.
And of course there are gonna be themed cocktails galore over the weekend. But there’s one international collaboration in particular on our radar. The juice masters from The Berry Company are teaming up with Indian restaurant Copper Chimney and famed mixologist Mix.Mann for an incredibly colourful selection of red, white, and blue cocktails. Available at Westfield’s Copper Chimney from June 2 – June 30, the drinks are the perfect complement to the fantastic array of starters and snacks available.
18. Take shelter under the fastest-growing tree in the UK
Okay, so it’s a bit of a stretch to say this is a tree, as it’s actually a sculpture made up in the shape of a 70ft tall tree, covered in 350 saplings from native British tree species. But it is mighty impressive, and it’s all the more impressive when you find out it signifies the one million trees planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. The Tree of Trees was designed by renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick and is made from recyclable and sustainably-sourced materials. And when the installation comes down, the tree saplings (which I have decided to nickname baby trees) will be donated to community groups and charities for use in the next tree-planting season in October.
19. Be one of the first to dine in style by the river (June 1 – September 18)
For one summer only, from June to September, dining by the river in London will no longer mean eating a Pret on a bench. Instead, The Glass Rooms is a new experience providing intimate glass pods for up to 8 to dine in with panoramic views of the River Thames, Tower Bridge, The Shard and The Tower of London. Food will take inspiration from British growers and farmers, and the whole affair is launching in collaboration with Tower of London’s Superbloom. With only 12 pods, you’ll definitely want to book to avoid missing out.
20. Slide into the Superbloom attraction (June 1 – September 18)
Apparently it wasn’t enough for the Tower of London to plant 20 million seeds to create what’s sure to be one of the most unique flower gardens in the UK. They also stuck a slide in. So you’ll be able to grab a mat and slide your way down right into the middle of the multi-sensory experience – surrounded by flowers, sound installations, and sculpture. This is one attraction you’ll keep coming back to well after the Jubilee celebrations, however, as the flowers have been strategically planted for the experience to change and evolve over the coming months.
21. Have a matching afternoon tea (May 11 – August 31)
Oh, yeah, and there’s an afternoon tea experience inspired by the whole affair as well! The Superbloom Afternoon Tea in Pan Pacific London’s The Orchid Lounge is a vibrant, colour-infused affair. Only a short walk from Superbloom itself, it’s surely the perfect way to ring in Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee – a touch of tradition, a touch of class, more than just a touch of British-ness, with plenty of contemporary flair.
Bookings available here.
22. Nosh on Korean Dinner Party’s unique Jubilee offering (May 30 – June 5)
Soho’s iconic Korean Dinner Party is, of course, getting in on the Jubilee bottomless brunch offerings with a 4-day bottomless brunch party (don’t worry, you’re not expected to stay the whole time!). Running from June 2 – June 5, the event will be highlighting the one-week-only special: The KDP Golden Corgi Dog, and the Golden Rush Shot. A riff on Korean Dinner Party’s infamous KDP Corn Dog, the Golden Corgi douses the sausage- and mozzarella-filled beast in gold three ways (as well as a jaunty little crown). To accompany it perfectly they’ve also got the complementary Gold Rush Shot – a riff on the gold rush cocktail, combining whiskey, supasawa, agave and edible gold for a truly royal shot.
23. Win prizes at the ultimate rooftop garden party (June 2 – June 5)
For classic British fun, Skylight Tobacco Dock are ringing in the Jubilee with a long-weekend of bottomless gin brunches, scavengers hunts, and activities. 70 tiny queens and crowns have been hidden around the venue for guests to discover, each leading to a prize that could be free cocktails, shots, game vouchers, tacos, or more. If that’s not enough, croquet and pétanque are among the games on offer for the ultimate summer vibes and fun.
Book here so you don’t miss out, and don’t miss the tiny queens!
24. Party until the early morning (June 3)
For those looking to make the most of the four-day-holiday by finding the biggest and best parties of the weekend, you won’t want to miss out on Village Underground’s The Queer’s Platinum Jubilee. Taking the opportunity to champion “a safe and inclusive place for everyone on the gender spectrum, so that they can feel equal and accepted,” the event will see queer Drum & Bass movement Unorthodox teaming up with legendary transgender DJ Mandidextrous for their biggest show to date. Massive beats, a line-up of electrifying fully LGBTQ+ representing talent, and an immersive performance concept to accompany, it’s sure to be a night to remember.
Tickets to the The Queer’s Platinum Jubilee available here.
25. Take in the Platinum Jubilee Concert (June 4)
Those lucky enough to have nabbed a ticket for the Platinum Party at the Palace concert will be in for a night of incredible performances. With the likes of Diana Ross, Nile Rodgers, George Ezra, Hans Zimmer, and, of course, Queen, performing live, it’s sure to be an impressive affair. However, anyone can tune in through the live broadcast on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 2. Taking odds now for whether or not we’ll see Her Royal Highness stomping and clapping along to “We Will Rock You” – or do you think she’s more of a Diana Ross fan?
26. Or just stay at the pub until late (June 2 – 4)
But arguably one of the best things to come out of all of these celebrations, in addition to the four-day weekend? Pubs can stay open later. Special permission has been given for pubs to stay open until 1am between Thursday, June 2 and Saturday, June 4. No one’s going to turn up their nose at an extra couple of hours in the pub, are they? Thanks Lizzie!