Whether you’re celebrating in the Mall or planning a quick getaway to take advantage of the extra Bank Holiday, we look at some of the best places to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend (Saturday 2nd to Tuesday 5th June 2012).
Staycations are still all the rage this year, and with hotels slashing prices by up to 60% - as reported by Columbus Direct in our recent news item here - what better time to visit the nation’s capital? Avoid Olympic travel chaos and organise your break around the Jubilee celebrations – there are plenty of free celebrations to take in.
In our opinion, the best place to watch the Queen’s flotilla sail past along the Thames will be the Queens River Pageant at Battersea Park. Curated by designer Wayne Hemmingway and the team behind last year’s successful Vintage at Southbank festival, it is due to feature live music, a traditional funfair, independent craft stalls and a programme packed full of family-friendly jubilee themed entertainment.
To organise your Jubilee weekend - http://www.thediamondjubilee.org/central-weekend
For more about the Battersea Park event visit - hemingwaydesign.co.uk
In the mood to party but the Jubilee’s not your thing? The Norwegian capital, Oslo, hosts its own free celebrations as it transforms into a city of music and entertainment over the Jubilee weekend for their annual Musikkfest. Embracing an eclectic mix of music from traditional Norwegian music and jazz to indie, hip-hop and electronica, there’s something for every music lover.
Sardinia by Vespa
Scooters are a British institution, but Italy does it best. Zip around the Sardinian coast by scooter in June, as the Vespa Club organises its annual two-day “Cagliari in Vespa” tour. The journey begins in Cagliari and stretches to local areas which offer breathtaking views over the sea.
Want more than just a long weekend?
Savvy travellers who want to go further afield can take advantage of the three day week – by tagging on just three days extra holiday from work would give you a total 9 days break. Alternatively, roll the bank holiday into a longer trip to take in more exotic locations. In keeping with the spirit of the Jubilee, here’s just a sample of our favourite Commonwealth gems:
The queen hasn’t visited Sri Lanka since 1971, and we think she’s missing out. With Northern and Eastern regions now opened up to tourism, it’s now possible to seek out its unspoilt beaches and less commercially developed resorts. Tourism disappeared with the onset of the Tamil Tigers’ hostilities in these regions, but is now starting to return, with many resorts undergoing refurbishment. Whether you decide to head North or stay South, we’d recommend travelling around – with landscapes ranging from virgin beaches to mountainside tea plantations, and experiences taking in anything from visits to Buddhist monasteries to helping with bath time at an elephant orphanage, the rich diversity of this beautiful country will leave you with memories you’ll never forget. Visit http://www.srilankatourism.org/ for more info.
The Great Barrier Reef – Learn to dive
As head of the Commonwealth, the Queen has been back to Australia 16 times during her reign (although we suspect she’s not a scuba enthusiast). Named one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef is definitely one to tick off your bucket list. And with an unrivaled diversity of marine life, guaranteed water temperature of at least 22 degrees Celsius and underwater visibility up to 30 meters, it’s one of the best places to learn to dive in the world. Once you’re qualified you’ll be able to dive at destinations worldwide in the future. Not sure if scuba is for you? Book a day’s introductory dive as a taster session. Find out more - http://www.greatbarrierreef.org/.
The Canadian Rockies
With the Royals dropping by over 22 times since 1953 and Wills and Kate visiting the region last year, Western Canada is one of the most popular pit-stops for royal tours. But there’s something for everyone if you’re exploring the Rockies, whether it’s a romantic getaway in a cosy chalet, a group activity break or a family adventure. From spotting Grizzlies on a bear tour to Dinosaur hunting or simply relaxing in the natural hot springs at Radium, Fairmont or Nakusp, Canada’s Western regions of Alberta and British Columbia offer breath taking mountain scenery and an unrivalled opportunity to get up close with nature. Discover more on the official Canadian tourism website.