STOP PRESS: You can now download the Thames Jubilee Pageant illustrated map as a PDF
On Sunday 3rd June 2012 The Queen will travel in a flotilla of up to one thousand boats from the UK, the Commonwealth and around the World for The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, an event which promises to be one of the major focal points of the celebrations held on the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. The flotilla, expected to measure seven and a half miles from end to end, will be the largest fleet of ships to be assembled on the River Thames in 350 years, continuing a royal tradition which dates back to 1533 when Anne Boleyn travelled by boat for her coronation. Millions of people are expected to line the banks of the Thames to witness the pageant which will include a diverse mix of the historic and the modern with rowed boats, sailing ships, steamers, wooden launches, canoes and kayaks all decorated for the occasion. The Queen and senior members of the Royal Family will travel aboard the Spirit of Chartwell, accompanied by music from a floating bell tower (the first of its kind ever to be on mounted on the river) of eight bells named after the royals, with peals being answered by local churches. There will be 10 musical barges, with an orchestra playing James Bond themes as it passes the MI6 building. Thames piers, riverside roads and bridges will be closed to traffic and there will be around 40 big screens along the route - which runs from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge - so members of the public can enjoy the pageant from a variety of vantage points. The boating bonanza starts at 2.40pm but vessel mustering will take place from midday between Putney Bridge and Wandsworth Bridge. The Queen is scheduled to pass under Tower Bridge at 4.30pm before disembarking at Presidents Quay near to the entrance of St Katherine's Docks, from where she will review the passing pageant. The last vessel in the flotilla, Symphony (carrying the London Philharmonic Orchestra on board), will pass under Tower Bridge at around 5.30pm, where there will be an 'avenue of sail' of more that 47 tall ships too large to pass under London Bridge. Although the official route comes to an end at Tower Bridge, the majority of the boats will continue on towards Greenwich - offering the public in south-east London further chances to view the spectacle.
The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will pass under 14 bridges in total as it makes its meandering journey down the river from Battersea to the City of London, bookended by Battersea Bridge and the historic Tower Bridge. But be warned: there will be severe limitations for both traffic and pedestrians throughout the day. All of the bridges will be closed for traffic from 7am on Sunday 3rd June while many bridges will only be available for pedestrians crossing during the flotilla. While some bridges will have limited viewing access, it's recommended for visitors to seek out spots along the river banks where there will be big screens and supervised viewing areas. Here's a quick guide on the bridges so you know what you can and cannot do.
- Battersea Bridge and Chelsea Bridge will be open for pedestrians to cross but they will not be permitted to stop and watch. Both bridges will be closed to traffic and are expected to be very crowded.
- Albert Bridge will be closed to all traffic and pedestrians starting from 7am until early evening and is designated for invited guests from charities and the riparian boroughs.
- Millennium Bridge and Golden Jubilee Footbridges will be closed and will host guests from charities and riparian boroughs as well as members of the media.
- Vauxhall Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge will be open to traffic and pedestrians, apart from central section bridge closures as the flotilla passes underneath them at points between 3pm and 5.30pm. They are all expected to be very crowded and the public sections are only open for the purpose of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, not for viewing.
- Southwark Bridge will be closed to pedestrians, but not to traffic.
- Lambeth Bridge, Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge will be closed to traffic and pedestrians, but each will have north and south facing viewing screens, with both ends of the bridges open to the public. However, a capacity will be enforced and visitors will be subject to bag searches to maintain security.
- Hungerford Bridge (rail) will be closed to pedestrians. Invited spectators only.
Preceding the flotilla will be the Port of London Authority boat, Ravensbourne II, followed by the floating belfry which will herald the start of the Pageant. This "Belfry Barge" holds the eight Royal Jubilee Bells, the largest of which is named "Elizabeth" and weighs half a ton. The seven other bells were also cast at The Whitechapel Bell Foundry and are named after senior members of the Royal Family: Philip, Charles, Anne, Andrew, Edward, William and Henry. The last boat in the flotilla will carry the London Philharmonic Orchestra on board and is aptly called Symphony. In between, the flotilla will carry an array of manpowered vessels (such as skiffs, gondolas and dragonboats), kayaks, rowing boats, Royal Squadron vessels, Dunkirk Little Ships, historical service boats, fireboats, narrowboats, barges, recreational motorboats, passenger boats and sailing boats. There will be boats from as far away as New Zealand, China and Hawaii. Here are details of a few of the pageant's stand-out vessels, including who will be on board:
- Spirit of Chartwell - The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Queen will be met at Chelsea Pier by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
- Havengore - The Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Boris Johnson. Boarding at Imperial Pier
- Trinity House No 1 Boat - The Princess Royal and Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence
- RNLI Diamond Jubilee Lifeboat - The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra
- Gloriana - Sir Matthew Pinsent, Sir Steve Redgrave, Paralympic champions and disabled British Servicemen
- The Symphony - The London Philharmonic Orchestra travels aboard one of ten music herald barges in the flotilla
- Gillian - Beautiful Thames skiff from the Edwardian era still on the Thames 104 years after being built in 1908
- Invasion Boat I - Was in the 2010 film 'Robin Hood', crew will include polar explorer Will Gow (great nephew of Shackleton) and former Cambridge University Boat Club president John Carver
- Orca - Celtic longboat, carries "Henry VII" and rowed by beautiful maidens in 15th-century dress
- Marisa Cristiano - Gondola made in Venice in 1985 and previously owned by a restaurant whose waiters were taught to row by the gondolier in the famous Cornetto advert of 25 years ago
- Shackleton - heritage vessel coming from New Zealand
- St. Michael's Mount State Barge - Built in 1740, this is possibly the oldest vessel in the world still afloat
- Connaught - Finest example of Edwardian pleasure boat will produce six trumpet heralds
- Silver Darling - Very luxurious Sunseeker carrying a Damien Hurst artwork on board
- Silver Queen - Dunkirk Little Ship is reportedly the "most beautiful boat on the Thames"
- Cob - Service boat requisitioned by the Royal Navy during WWI and also used in WWII which was eventually sold for £1
- Pyronaut - Historic fireboat that can still provide a spectacular water jet
- Angelus - Rare Kipper Kraak barge built in 1884, this is one of the oldest vessels in the pageant and is the same age as Tower Bridge
- Endeavour - Used at Dunkirk in 1940, she then sank in 1987 but was later raised by enthusiasts
- Tenacious - Beautiful sailing ship (pictured above) launched in 2000 and run by the Jubilee Sailing Trust to encourage combining able-bodied and physically disabled in crewing the ship. Tenacious will be part of the 'Avenue of Sail' moored along the banks of those 47 tall ships too big to pass under Tower Bridge
While most of the bridges will be out of bounds for viewing, there are many spots to watch the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant along the river - whether you want to get up high or mingle with the crowds and watch the event on big screens dotted along the river. And remember, it's not just along the official route where you can see some action either side of the official start and finish there will be ample opportunity to see the boats either prepare or disperse. Here's a quick checklist to give you some inspiration...
- Chelsea Embankment will offer some stunning views of the flotilla as it passes by the leafy Battersea Park on the opposite side of the Thames. There will also be four big screens.
- Battersea Park is only open to those who have tickets to the Diamond Jubilee Festival, which runs from midday until 7pm. A tip for those at the festival: head to the north end of the park to watch Garrison Sergeant Major William Mott give the command for the rowing boats to raise oars as a salute at the start of the pageant.
- If you're prepared to pay a bit for the experience, then you can't do better than a ticket to Altitude 360 on the top of Milbank Tower (between Pimlico and Westminster). From the 29th floor 118 metres above the Thames you'd get an uninterrupted and outstanding view of the flotilla - which is probably why the BBC, Sky and ITV are all filming from the top of the tower on the day. See altitudelondon.com for more details.
- Lambeth Bridge and Westminster Bridge will have a limited public viewing area so for those hardy souls prepared to wait from the early hours, this could be just the ticket. There will, of course, be superb views of the boats approaching Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from the south end of both bridges.
- If you're prepared to delve into your wallet for an aerial view, then the London Eye is your best bet. To time it right you want to be at the Eye at 3pm. Tip: buy a Flexi Fast-Track ticket (£31.50pp, £111.78 for a family of four, at londoneye.com) so you can skip the queue.
- The Southbank will no doubt be heaving but if you arrive early and manage to get a place on one of the many terraces around the National Theatre then you'll be laughing.
- The Embankment will be as busy as it is on New Year's Eve - but there will be nine big screens between Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge dotted around on the north side of the Thames.
- The east parapet of Blackfriars Bridge will offer an interesting view of the flotilla as it passes in front of Tate Modern
- Tate Modern will be a popular spot as the boats pass. If you get up early you may just be able to bag a seat at the 7th-floor members' bar or 4th-floor coffee bar (doors open at 10am and queues are expected). Or perhaps book a table at the Oxo Tower?
- There will be no large viewing screens outside City Hall, but it's a very open area and it will offer perhaps the most iconic view of the pageant as the boats pass under historic Tower Bridge.
- While the official route starts at Battersea and ends at Tower Bridge, there will be ample opportunity to view the boats both before and after. Vessel mustering takes place from midday around Putney Bridge, Hammersmith Bridge and Wandsworth Bridge - so Bishop's Park and Wandsworth Park may be a good option. Many of the ships will continue on towards Greenwich after Tower Hill so the Thames Footpath running east will also be popular. At Greenwich, the pubic is invited to a Big Jubilee Lunch at the Old Royal Naval College, where the table will be two-thirds of a mile long.
If you're brave enough to put up with crowds and queues then why not make for one of the many riverside pubs that line the Thames? Head down as early as possible for first orders and then settle in as the boats pass by. We can't guarantee you a view or that the pubs will even be open to the public, however, so make sure you check beforehand in case there are private events.
- The Dukes Head, Putney A favourite for the Boat Race, this Putney pub is not on the official route but should see a bit of action as the boats prepare for the flotilla from around midday.
- The Ship Inn, Wandsworth Riverside favourite has loads of outdoor space and a notoriously popular barbecue; will be an ideal spot to watch some of the mustering and preparations.
- The Waterfront, Wandsworth Just the other side of Wandsworth Bridge from The Ship, The Waterfront is located in the stylish new Battersea Reach development.
- The Waterside, Sands End Part of the Boulevard Imperial Wharf complex in Fulham, this south-facing pub will see a lot of action with the mustering and preparations.
- The Riverside, Vauxhall Bar and Restaurant on St George's Wharf has great views of the Thames from the south bank of the river by Vauxhall Bridge great for photos of the flotilla framed by Battersea Power Station.
- The Rose, Lambeth Traditional Victorian pub with fabulous views overlooking the Houses of Parliament and the Thames, this will no doubt be a popular spot to watch the 1,000 boats go by.
- Tattershall Castle What better way to watch the flotilla than on this bar located aboard an old paddle steamer by Embankment tube and opposite the London Eye? (Ticket only SOLD OUT)
- Doggetts Coat & Badge, South Bank Functional but spacious riverside bar with ample outdoor terrace area, located next to Blackfriars Bridge on the south side.
- The Founders Arms, South Bank Riverside pub on the South Bank with large outdoor seating area and a stones throw from Tate Modern.
- Swan at the Globe, Bankside The pub Shakespeare would choose were he alive to watch the flotilla; prime location near Southwark Bridge.
- The Anchor, Bankside Taylor Walker pub famous for its fish & chips and located next to the Cannon Street Railway bridge; large outdoor area overlooking the Thames.
- The Banker, Cannon Street City favourite overlooking the river from the north bank near Southwark Bridge; usually closed on the weekends so check first.
- The Old Thameside Inn, London Bridge Functional Nicholson's Pub near London Bridge; river views during the pageant will not be available.
- The Horniman at Hays Nicholson's Pub in the Hays complex a short stroll from HMS Belfast.
- All Bar One, Butler's Wharf Bar chain on the south side of the Thames near Tower Bridge and opposite Katherine's Docks, where the Queen will disembark.
- The Angel, Bermondsey Popular Sam Smith's pub with balcony views of Tower Bridge.
- Captain Kidd, Wapping Another Sam Smith's pub with views overlooking the river.
- Prospect of Whitby, Wapping Taylor Walker favourite with an ancient interior and a modern terrace overlooking the Thames; ideal for watching the boats continue down towards Greenwich after the official finish.
- The Narrow Gordon Ramsey's gastropub by Limehouse Basin would be a wonderful place to have a late Sunday lunch or early dinner while the boats continue down towards Canary Wharf and Greenwich.
River Thames, , London, WC2H 7BP
Want to guarantee you wont miss out on any of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant action this Sunday, LondonTown.com's unique infographic and flotilla map is here to help. Giving you a sneak preview of the pageant route, accurate illustrations of all the boats taking part and the order in which they will set sail. The map features all of Londons famous landmarks, making it easy for you to pick the perfect position to watch all one thousand vessels take to the water. And whats more, by clicking here you can add the Thames Jubilee Pageant Map to your own website for free.