Trooping the Colour / Queen's Birthday Parade

In June each year the highlight of the ceremonial calendar, Trooping the Colour, also known as 'The Queen's Birthday Parade' takes place on Horse Guards Parade in London.

Trooping the Colour 2017

Dates for Trooping the Colour and the two reviews in 2017 are:

Major General’s Review - Saturday 3rd June.

The Colonel’s Review - Saturday 10th June

Queen’s Birthday Parade - Saturday 17th June

The Colour of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards will be Trooped at the Queen’s Birthday Paradein 2017.

Although The Queen was born on 21 April, it has long been the tradition to celebrate the Sovereign's Birthday in the summer.

More than 1,400 officers and men and approximately 400 musicians from the Massed Bands of the Household Division take part in Trooping the Colour and the Reviews which are full dress rehearsals for the Queen's Birthday Parade.

Queen's Birtday Parade, Horse Guards Parade

The Ceremony

The Queen travels down The Mall from Buckingham Palace, by carriage, with a Sovereign's escort from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

As the clock on Horse Guards chimes eleven Her Majesty The Queen arrives to take the Royal Salute from the officers and men of the Household Division on parade.

After the salute The Queen rides up and down the ranks, in her carriage, inspecting the troops on parade.

After the massed bands have performed a musical 'troop', the Regimental Colour being trooped is escorted down the ranks of Guards.

The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry then march past Her Majesty, and The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, rank past with their Guns.

The Queen, in a carriage, rides back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards, before taking the salute at the Palace from a dais in front of the palace railings as the troops march past on the way to their barracks.

Her Majesty The Queen joins other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past by the Royal Air Force at 1 'o' clock.

Watching Trooping The Colour

You can apply for tickets, to the seated stands, for the Queens Birthday Parade and the Reviews between January and February each year.

Those without tickets can watch the procession, from The Mall, or from the edge of St James's Park facing Horse Guards Parade.

Check out Timings for the Queen's Birthday Parade for more information and suggestions on where to watch the parade.

Trooping the Colour Rehearsals

In the two weeks leading up to the Queen's Birthday Parade, there are two full dress rehearsals which you can watch from the Mall and the corner of St James's Park: 

The Major General's Review - held on the Saturday two weeks before the parade.

The Colonel's Review - held on the Saturday the week before the parade.

Timings for the Reviews are the same as those for the Queen's Birthday Parade, with the exception of the Gun Salute and Fly Past.

Insider Tip

For those in London in May it is always worth checking the Dates for Changing the Guard to see if the New Guard is scheduled to mount from Horse Guards.

This indicates a rehearsal for Trooping the Colour is scheduled to take place and that the New Guard, led by a Regimental Band, will march from Horse Guards, up The Mall, to Buckingham Palace to the Changing of the Guard Ceremony.

There are normally four rehearsal each year and although Horse Guards is cordoned off you can watch from the corner of St James's Park.

About The Colour

Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle when a Regiment's Colour was carried, or "trooped", down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers who would use them as a rallying point in the confusion of battle.

Tickets for Trooping The Colour

Tickets for Trooping the Colour, The Major General's Review and The Colonel's Review are available to the public, in the seated stands.

To be included in the ballot for tickets you should state how many tickets are required, and include a stamped self addressed envelope. Overseas applicants should include an International Reply Coupon.

Three (3) tickets per application is the maximum for The Queen's Birthday Parade.
There is no maximum, within reason, for the Major General's or Colonel's Reviews.

Applications can be submitted from January to the 28th February in writing to:

Brigade Major
HQ Household Division
Horse Guards
Whitehall
London 
SW1A 2AX

Applicants from Canada, Australia and New Zealand may instead apply to their respective High Commission in London for tickets to The Queen's Birthday Parade. For the Major General's and Colonel's Reviews applications should be submitted to the Brigade Major, HQ Household Division..

You will be informed by mid-March if your application has been successful and any payment will then be requested. 

Ticket prices, for successful applicants are:

  • GBP 30.00 each for Trooping the Colour
  • GBP 10.00 each for The Colonel's Review
  • Tickets are free of charge for The Major General's Review.

Dress Code

The Queen's Birthday Parade - Morning Dress, Lounge Dress, Lounge Suit or Jacket and Trousers, equivalent for the ladies (no denim). Military personnel may wear Ceremonial Day or other Service equivalent.

Colonel's Review - Lounge Suit or Jacket and Trousers, equivalent for the ladies (no denim).

Major General's Review - Smart Casual (no denim).

Hats are optional but recommended in the case of hot weather.

Non compliance with the dress code may result in entry being refused.

Getting To Trooping The Colour

Location: Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX

By Underground

The nearest tube stations are:
Charing Cross?- About 6 minutes walk.?Bakerloo, & Northern line
Embankment?- 10 minutes walk?Bakerloo, Northern, District & Circle line

By Bus

Busses: 11, 12, 159, 24, 3, 453, 53, 87, 88, 
N109, N11, N136, N155, N2, N3, N381, N44, N87

By Train

Nearest, mainline, train station: 
Charing Cross- About 6 minutes walk

By Car

Not recommended, Horse Guards Parade is in the congestion charge zone.

Parking is difficult to find and expensive.

Getting Around London

Oyster Card

The Visitor Oyster Card?is the cheapest and most flexible way to travel around London.

Valid on London Underground, buses, trams and Dockland Light Railway (DLR).

  • Cheap?- a single tube journey will cost £4.30 with cash but a maximum of £2 with an Oyster card
  • Smart?- You will never be charged more than a price of a London Travel card
  • Easy?- your card is reusable and the credit never expires

Travel CardThe London Travel Card gives you access to unlimited travel on London Underground trains, buses, Dockland's Light Railway, trams and overland trains within London.

  • Cheap: with one ticket you get unlimited travel, [ within the zones your Travel card covers], working out much cheaper than buying single tickets
  • Easy: one ticket for one day or one week!

More Ceremonial Events

Check out the Ceremonial Events Calendar to discover what is going on when you are visiting London.