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King's Coronation travel guide: Everything you need to know from airport strikes to how to watch

A banner celebrating the coronation of Britain's King Charles III is displayed at Kings Cross Station in London.
A banner celebrating the coronation of Britain's King Charles III is displayed at Kings Cross Station in London. Copyright AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Copyright AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
By Euronews Travel
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Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on London for the three-day event.

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In just a few days, the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla is set to take place in London.

The UK is getting an extra bank holiday and people from across the world are set to travel to the city to see the historic event. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on London, hoping for a glimpse of the Royal Family.

But, as you might expect, the influx of people coming to see the Coronation has the potential to cause travel chaos. We’ve rounded up some essential advice for anyone making the trip to London in May.

What is happening in London on the day of the Coronation?

The Coronation will take place on Saturday 6 May with ceremonial processions in London before and after a service at Westminster Abbey.

The first procession - known as ‘the King’s Procession’ - will begin in the morning with a route starting at Buckingham Palace, travelling along The Mall, through Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, and ending up at Westminster Abbey at around 11 am. 

Isabel Infantes/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Britain's King Charles III will be crowned on 6 May.Isabel Infantes/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The service itself is strictly for VIPs but King Charles III and Queen Camilla will travel along the route in horse-drawn carriages where members of the public will be able to watch. Other members of the Royal Family will also take part along with 4,000 servicemen and women. 

The Coronation service will begin once they arrive and after this, a larger ceremonial procession will return via the same route back to Buckingham Palace.

If you don't manage to see the processions, members of the Royal Family will gather on the balcony at the Palace for a flypast of more than 60 aircraft later in the day.

Where can you watch the Coronation processions?

Along the route, there will be viewing areas set up for members of the public to catch a glimpse of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Organisers have already started preparing for big crowds by constructing stands at Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade near Westminster Abbey.

Viewing areas are not ticketed but it's likely to be incredibly busy and they will be closed once they are full. You’ll need to plan ahead and probably take part in the essential British activity of queueing in order to get a good spot. 

Before Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, some people camped out for 48 hours. And, with less than a week to go, some hardcore fans have already set up their tents on The Mall in hopes of getting a good view.

A map of the viewing areas can be found here. They will open at 6 am on 6 May.

If you don’t manage to find a space to see the Royal Family in person, you'll be directed to one of the nearby screening sites to watch the processions on large screens in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park. Screening sites are also being set up across the UK.

And if you can’t see it in any other way, both processions and the Coronation service will be broadcast live on national television, radio and online.

What are the closest tube stations?

If you don’t know the city, then locating the closest London Underground station to these sites can be hard.

Transport for London (TfL) has said that services are likely to be extremely busy - but with multiple road closures, the tube is probably your best bet for getting there.

The closest London Underground stations to the procession route are: Green Park on the Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee lines; St James’ Park on the District and Circle lines; Westminster on the Circle, District and Jubilee lines; and Charing Cross on the Bakerloo and Northern lines.

With trains likely to be busy, TfL has recommended that people travelling to viewing areas consider using a station slightly further away and completing their journey on foot. If you are hoping to watch the Coronation from Hyde Park, for example, Paddington Station is just a 15-minute walk away. 

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AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali
People at Westminster underground station in London.AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

Will flights be disrupted during the Coronation weekend?

If you are travelling from abroad to see the Coronation, then you'll need to stay up to date with any flight delays, disruptions and cancellations over that weekend. 

Strikes by security staff at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 are expected to resume on Thursday 4 May. Around 1,400 workers will walk out from 4-6, 9-10 and 25-27 May. 

The union representing the security staff Unite, says this will cause "inevitable disruption and delays at the airport". But previous strikes by security workers during Easter caused minimal disruption for passengers and Heathrow has said it won't let the walkout impact the flow of visitors during the event. 

Terminal 5 is used exclusively by British Airways (BA) and the industrial action should mostly affect outgoing flights. If you are flying out of London with the airline after the Coronation on one of the dates that strikes are scheduled, it might be worth leaving a little extra time and checking for any updates from BA. 

Will there be any disruption to trains during the Coronation?

TfL has already indicated no planned closures across its network on the day of the Coronation. It is asking people to plan ahead, however, as services will likely be incredibly busy.

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Short-term safety measures like temporary station closures and queues “may be necessary” on the day to cope with crowds. Passengers are being asked to factor delays into their travel plans.

Road closures from the procession itself and street parties across London mean that some bus routes will also be on diversion.

The transport body has warned passengers to check for changes using the TfL app or via its website which will have the most up-to-date information.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
A tourist poses for a picture alongside a large portrait of Britain's King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort at Kings Cross Station.AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

If you are travelling from outside London, Great Western Railway has said it is running some “very early” extra train services to London Paddington from major stations in the Thames Valley, southwest of England and south Wales on the 6 May.

Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink, will have more carriages than normal on its services on 6 May.

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If you are hoping to head home via Gatwick Airport after the festivities are over, bear in mind that engineering work is taking place at Victoria Station on Sunday 7 May. It will mean no Gatwick Express or Southern train services to or from the station.

What else is happening during the Coronation weekend?

On Sunday 7 May, around 10,000 people will head to Windsor Castle for the Coronation concert. It will begin at 8 pm UK time and take place on the East Lawn. Take That, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie are some of the musical stars that have already confirmed they will be performing.

The ballot for free tickets is already closed and you won't be able to watch the event in Windsor. It will, however, be screened in St James's Park back in London.

And if you were one of the lucky 5,000 people to get a ticket and are travelling to the castle for the event, you can benefit from an “enhanced service” being operated by Great Western Railways, with extra trains between Windsor and Slough on 7 May and in the early hours of 8 May.

Other events such as street parties and volunteering opportunities are also taking place across the UK. The government's Coronation website allows you to search for events by postcode with a map showing what is happening in London from 6 to 8 May.

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