One of the things which attracts visitors in their millions from all over the world to London every year is the history which waits around virtually every corner. It’s almost impossible to walk around the centre of London without stumbling across buildings which have helped to play a vital role in the history of the country, if not the world, and the fact that the vast majority are open to the public to some degree means that they are a fascinating and irresistible draw. Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the Queen of England, is one such building, and as such draws crowds of people virtually every day of the year.
The Palace is used for official occasions such as banquets and visits from other heads of State, and every year thousands of ordinary people are invited to attend garden parties in the extensive grounds. For those not lucky enough to get their hands on such an invite, the building still appeals, not least for the chance to witness the military and ceremonial tourist attraction which is the Changing of the Guard, an event which takes place every day during the summer. It is also possible, during August and September, to take a look round the lavish state rooms and admire some of the art in the Royal Collection.
The district around Buckingham Palace itself is equally fascinating, and events which take place in the area over the next few months include the following:
• Chelsea Flower Show – the world’s most famous flower and garden show, which takes place over the weekend of May 20 – 24, features over 500 contributors who design bespoke gardens especially for the show.
• Trooping the Colour – this takes place on June 14th on Horse Guards Parade, and is an example of the kind of pomp and ceremony which the British do best. It involves the Queen inspecting her regiments in all their splendour as they parade past her horse drawn carriage.
• Summer Exhibition – every year, from mid-June to August, the Royal Academy hosts an open exhibition for which any painter, amateur or professional, can submit a work of art.
• Royal Tournament – taking place in late July, this event, which is held at the Earls Court Exhibition centre, involves athletic and impressive displays of skill from various branches of the British armed forces.
• The Proms – staged at the Royal Albert Hall, this is a series of concerts which feature an eclectic range of sources, from traditional classical to jazz, pop and film and TV theme music.
• Notting Hill Carnival – this is the largest street festival in Europe and is held in the Notting Hill area over the August bank Holiday every year. It features music, dancing, street food and a parade of floats made by local people, and attracts millions of people from all over the world.
• London Open House – during the month of September, building across London which are usually private, but which are of architectural or public interest, are opened to the general public. The buildings involved include the Royal Opera House, the Guards Museum and the Royal Court Theatre.