Trooping the Colour: The King's Birthday Parade Free

Buckingham Palace


Experience a traditional ceremony full of military pomp and pageantry with Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards Parade.

Marking the sovereign's official birthday, this annual event features hundreds of officers, horses and musicians from the Household Division in ceremonial uniform. 

The parade begins at Buckingham Palace and travels along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade. There, the monarch inspects the troops before leading the guards in a parade back to Buckingham Palace.

Once at the palace, the monarch takes the salute, and guns are fired in Green Park and at the Tower of London.

Finally, the monarch joins other members of the Royal Family on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the Royal Air Force flypast. 

What is Trooping the Colour?

After existing in various forms since the 17th century, the Trooping the Colour ceremony has taken place every year in London to mark the sovereign's official birthday since the accession of King George IV in 1820, except during the world wars and a national strike in 1955.

Monarchs are traditionally given a second birthday if they were not born in the summer in case the British weather is unsuitable for an outdoor event!

The Trooping the Colour parade route begins at Buckingham Palace. It then travels along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade before returning to Buckingham Palace.  

How to get tickets for Trooping the Colour

Horseguard sits on top of black horse in front of the Horseguards Parade

Tickets for the seated stands on Horse Guards Parade are available to the public via an online ballot. You can apply for a maximum of four tickets. The ballot closes in late March for the event in mid-June.

Where to watch Trooping the Colour

If you do not have tickets for the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, you can join the crowds of spectators on the edge of St James's Park overlooking Horse Guards Parade or along The Mall for the parade. 

Alternatively, tickets are available for the rehearsal events that take place on the two Saturdays before Trooping the Colour: the Major General's Review and the Colonel's Review

You can also get tickets to the Household Division's military evening pageant Beating Retreat, which takes place in the same location in mid-July.

The parade is broadcast live on the BBC on the day.

What time is Trooping the Colour?

The Trooping the Colour parade starts at Horse Guards Parade at 10.30am and finishes by 12.25pm. The Royal Air Force flypast takes place at 1pm.

Opening Times

Seated tickets for the Trooping the Colour ceremony are allocated by ballot with a maximum of four tickets per applicant.

You can also watch some of the event for free by standing along The Mall or on the edge of St James's Park overlooking Horse Guards Parade from 9am.

Opening Times

Events start at 10am.