Trooping the Colour is one of the best free events in London. But did you know that they hold a big rehearsal one week before, called the Colonel's Review? (Another rehearsal, called the Major General's Review, is held two weeks before).
The Colonel's Review still includes a parade of foot soldiers, mounted soldiers and marching bands, but you don't see the Queen or the RAF flypast (the Queen has been doing Trooping the Colour for sixty years now, so she already knows her bit!). The upside is that it's far less crowded than the real thing, so if you want to take your little kids to see some soldiers then this is perfect. The crowds at Trooping the Colour are ten or twenty deep, and you will be wedged inside for a few hours waiting for something to happen -- you don't get that with the Colonel Review.
You'll be able to watch the soldiers marching along The Mall and up to Horse Guards parade ground for free, but if you want to sit inside Horse Guards itself then you will need to apply for a ticket. Unfortunately it's a bit of a lottery (literally), because due to the huge demand they put all the interested names into a ballot. Your application needs to be made in January or February only, and the ballot will be drawn in March. You will then have to pay a £10 fee if successful. See householddivision.org.uk for more details about how to apply.
Craig has never been to the Colonel's Review itself, but he has been to the real thing a few times. You might like to read his review of Trooping the Colour before you go to get an idea what it's like. He filmed a video from The Mall as well, so you can see the kind of soldiers and military bands that march past.
You might like to check out our page of military parades in London as well, because there are plenty of gun salutes and daily parades throughout the year.
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