The Boons of London in June: What's Doing Across
May 28, 2003 -- Really old folks in London used to live by dates of The Season, basically corresponding to when the royal family was in town. That tradition is long since gone, but the month of June is still associated with activities of Queen Elizabeth II and her kinfolk, so there is a lot going on in terms of ceremony and class, with a little culture thrown in. You can observe all three without breaking your own piggy bank, transatlantic bargains being what they are these days.
Here are just a few ceremonies around this time of year: There will be a 62-gun salute on June 2 (Coronation Day), June 10 (birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh) and June 15 (the Queen's official birthday, not her biological one). On those days, the 62-gun salute is fired at the Tower of London, a mere 41-gun salute in Hyde Park.
Trooping the Colour, aka The Queen's Birthday Parade, takes place on June 14, but there are two rehearsals, on May 31 and June 7. Massed bands and troops of the Household Division participate. You (and thousands of other people) can watch the parade as it passes along the Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horseguards Parade, then the reverse after the colour trooping itself takes place.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place daily (except August, when it's on odd dates only). You can find details of these events at http://www.royal.gov.uk/ and http://www.travelbritain.org/.
One relic of the class system is Royal Ascot, which takes place from June 17 to 21. It's impossible to get tickets this late in the game, but you could get up close to the entrance and gape at the crazy hats some ladies wear for the occasion. Details at http://www.ascot-authority.co.uk/.
In June, several fine cultural events take place. The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park opens on the second, with performances during the month of two Shakespeare plays, Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Midsummer Nights' Dream. Details at http://openairtheatre.org/.
Opera Holland Park performances start on June 10, under a big tent. Tickets range from L30 (about $48), and you can bring a picnic to eat in the park during dinner intermission. This year, they're presenting Fidelio, Tosca and Lucia di Lammermoor. Details at http://www.operahollandpark.com/.
During the day, try the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, the largest contemporary art exhibit in the world, they say, starting on June 3. Details at http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/.
How to Get There, Where to Stay?
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