London arise! Millions descend on capital for King Charles’ extraordinary Coronation
Chalkmarks: King Charles and Queen Camilla post box topper, Crowborough, East Sussex, England

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 5th May 2023

The big day has finally arrived. Tomorrow Charles gets crowned king. If you don’t know what on earth’s going on, tune in anywhere on Saturday for a massive lesson in UK history. For one day only, in 2023, London will transform into Medieval England. Expect horses, carriages, regalia, gowns, crowns and thrones. We’ll see an historic fanfare and a parade with ceremonial troops around Westminster. On this special occasion, thousands of visitors have flown in to London to witness the spectacle and millions across the UK will travel to the capital – or watch in parks, crowded pubs, at home, in the gym or at the salon – as Charles and Camilla are crowned at Westminster Abbey. It’s action stations at 10.20am when the procession leaves Buckingham Palace, and by midday Charles will be king. Trumpets will sound and guns will be fired. It will all be over by 2.30pm after the royal couple wave from Buck house balcony and the 2.15pm flypast. Some will pledge their allegiance to the monarch and others will shout ‘BOO, not my king’. Welcome to the Carolean era or as we’d prefer to call it the Charleston. For today, here’s the week’s travel news.

Purple crown emoji!

This bonus bank hols weekend: The wait is over, King Charles III will be crowned tomorrow at Westminster Abbey. As well as the above, expect landmarks across the UK to be lit up, street parties and concerts. Here the BBC tells us what to look out for and PA Media on how to get around the crowds.

Saturday 6th May: Make way for the marching bands coming over the hill. At 10.20am Charles and Camilla will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach from Buckingham Palace and make their away along the Mall through Admiralty Arch, where they will turn right down Whitehall and arrive at Westminister Abbey at 11am. They will return along the same route but this time as King and Queen in the 260-year-old Gold State Coach. As well as the pomp and tradition, the new monarch will be spreading his joy on the socials with a cute purple crown emoji, designed especially for the big day! PA Media has more. 

Sunday 7th May: The free Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday 7th May with Take That, Lionel Richie, Katie Perry and the Pussycat Dolls.

Royal connections: Train operators have announced they are on track to operate more services for coronation events this weekend. They will run more trains into London on Saturday 6th May and also on Sunday 7th May to Windsor. ITV News tells us which to catch. 

Coronation chaos: King Charles’ crowning ceremony has seen hotels in the capital cash in on the May bank holiday celebration. While many cheaper lodgings and inns are booked up, the finer establishments are charging more. The i reported that a two-night stay at Hilton’s Westminster London Curio Collecttion, close to Westminster Abbey on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th May, will cost a regal £1,273 but only £577 the weekend before. “Some accommodation providers seem to use big events to charge whatever they can get away with,” said Rory Boland, from Which? Travel magazine. 

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

The city that stole the crown: London is really a city within a city….within a city. Within the old Roman City Walls you’ll find the Barbican, Leadenhall Market and St Paul’s. The Tower of London didn’t come along until a thousand years after the Romans arrived in 43. It was built outside the City Wall in 1078, which was around the same time that London became the nation’s capital. Modern additions to the City include a handful of skyscrapers all located around Bishopsgate, including the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, the Scalpel and the Cheesegrater. The latest, is known by its address, TwentyTwo, and was completed in 2020. Read all about what you should know about London here.  

The majesty of Britain: The Great West Way is one of England’s newest tourism projects designed to shift visitors out of the capital and into the rest of the country. It’s a 500-mile picturesque route from London to Bristol taking in three World Heritage Sites, royal palaces, and rolling English countryside. We wrote about it when it launched in March 2021.   

Famous highlight: Stonehenge of course…the Stone Circle Access Experience, which allows you to visit this great heritage site up close at sunrise. Two-day road trip: The Day One tour starts at Salisbury Museum and finishes with a visit to Salisbury Cathedral. Day two begins at Stonehenge for sunrise followed by Wiltshire Museum, a walk to West Kennet Long Barrow, which is one of the longest and most impressive Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain, and a final stop to Avebury to see the world’s largest stone circles.

In other news: Yesterday, rail workers voted to continue their walkouts this spring. The first train strike, already announced by the RMT union, will take place next Saturday, 13th May, on the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool. Also, expect queues at the Heathrow with security staff currently on strike until Saturday, with more dates in the diary for later this month. PA Media broke the story. But in some good news, the passport people who walked out on strike in April will be back at their desks today. 

Right on cue: If you were stuck in a long queue at Heathrow last year, fears are, it could happen again this summer. This time it’ll be because not enough security staff have been hired post-pandemic to deal with the thousands of passengers expected to travel in the next few months, according to aviation firm Menzies. They told the Sunday Telegraph that hiring was sped up last year but has slowed back down. They say they have 200 people waiting for security clearance and airport IDs – a process that takes up to 12 weeks, which means they won’t be ready until early July.

Corona is over: From next Thursday, 11th May, the US will drop all coronavirus restrictions and allow anyone who has not had a coronavirus jab into the country. The BBC has the details.

This time last year: From vacays to staycays your summer passport holiday travel read Thousands of passengers were turned away from departure gates because their passports were considered out of date… And right on cue travellers weren’t getting their passports delivered within the 10-week window and so missing their hols… Qantas announced it’ll soon be flying the world’s longest, non-stop flight – that’ll be 19hr19mins – between Sydney and London… Beach holidays in the Med were the number one holiday choice… P&O Ferries restarted sailings again between Dover and Calais after sacking 800 of its staff… New Zealand reopened after two years… The Moulin Rouge opened up a boudoir as a one-off offering on Airbnb… Bamburgh, Northumberland, took the number one UK beach spot… Birmingham was getting ready to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in July… The £18.9 billion Elizabeth Line opened.   

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Pass the pedalo!

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