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 carries out an inspection of 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, they join other members of the Royal Family on the 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 been held 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 where it will travel along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade before coming back again. 

Royal Air Force flypast takes place over Buckingham Palace

How to get Trooping the Colour tickets

Tickets for the seated stands on Horse Guards Parade are available to the public via an online ballot. The maximum number of tickets you can apply for is four.

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 held on the two Saturdays before Trooping the Colour: the Major General's Review and the His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales' Review. You can also get tickets to the Household Division's military evening pageant Beating Retreat, which takes place in the same location on the Wednesday and Thursday preceding Trooping the Colour.

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

What time is Trooping the Colour?

The start time of Trooping the Colour is 10am with the fly-past occuring at 1pm.