Trooping the Colour is one of the must-do events in London. But did you know that they hold a rehearsal two weeks before, called the Major General's Review? (A second rehearsal, called the Colonel's Review, is held one week later).
This rehearsal still involves the foot soldiers, the marching bands and horses, but misses out the Royal Family and the RAF flypast. (Major General Smyth-Osborne will be standing in for the Queen this year.) The upside is that it's far less crowded than the real thing, and you will have much more space to see the soldiers. This means that you might prefer it if you've got little kids, because the real thing attracts a crowd of thousands and thousands, and can be incredibly tiring for young ones.
You can watch the soldiers marching up The Mall towards Horse Guards for free, but you will need a ticket to sit inside Horse Guards parade ground. Due to the huge demand you will have to enter a ballot to win one. Applications need to be made in January or February only, and the ballot will be drawn in March. There is no fee to pay if you're successful. See householddivision.org.uk for more details about how to apply.
Craig has never been to the Major General's Review itself, but he has written a big review of Trooping the Colour. You might like to read that first, to give you a taste for what the real parade is like.
If you enjoy military parades then you check out our page of parades and ceremonies in London as well, because there are plenty more parades to see throughout the year.
Got a question? – Talk about this event
Admin – “Hi, thanks for letting us know about that -- we've fixed it and promoted him back to Major General again… more”
More parades · More military events · More free events · More events at Horse Guards