The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is fast approaching - to you and us that primarily means a bumper bank holiday weekend, but it also marks the 70th year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, making her the first British monarch ever to reach that milestone. Truth be told, QE2 became Britain’s longest reigning monarch some years ago - she passed Queen Victoria’s 63 year reign in 2015, but 70 years is a monumental feat that is absolutely worth celebrating.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating with as much food and drink as you can handle, as well as perhaps a spot of tea and biscuits. Lots of London restaurants are serving up special, one-off Jubilee menus to pay their respects to Queenie, so we’ve pulled together our pick of the best Jubilee restaurants and menus. Likewise, lots of London hotels and afternoon tea makers have devised unique jubilee afternoon teas, taking inspiration from some of the Queen’s favourite sandwiches and sweets.
Where to celebrate the jubilee in London
Keep an eye on your letterboxes because chances are, there’s a street party happening in your neighbourhood. There’s been a big push for communities to hold their own street parties to celebrate the Jubilee, and it’s a great opportunity to whip up a few sweets, snacks and sandwiches and share a cuppa with your neighbours.
If you’re planning on heading into the city to soak up the atmosphere, there will be events happening in lots of the Royal Parks. The celebrations kick off with a 41 gun salute in Green Park, before the pageantry heads to a grand finale outside Buckingham Palace. There are also street parties happening all over London, including a huge one at Piccadilly. Full disclosure - we expect London will be seriously busy, so no judgement if you decide to stay home and watch it all unfold on the TV. Or, take shelter in one of the capital’s many restaurants and hotels, and enjoy a themed Jubilee meal or afternoon tea in ultimate comfort. Read on for our pick of the best.
The best Jubilee parties at London restaurants
What: The Goring is the closest hotel in London to Buckingham Palace, and famously a longstanding favourite haunt of the Queen’s. The Dining Room at The Goring will be delving into the recipe books of old, reimagining the menu that was served at the hotel for the Queen’s coronation in 1953. Dishes include smoked salmon cornet with English wasabi and caviar, and a chicken consommé with glazed veal sweetbread, morel and broad bean. Afternoon tea at The Goring is also a real treat whatever the occasion.
Where: 15 Beeston Place, Victoria, SW1W 0JW
Book now: The Goring
What: Where better to watch the various Jubilee celebrations and street parties than 31 floors up in the Shard? Floor to ceiling windows offer absolutely jaw dropping views of the whole city, and the brunch is pretty good too - expect a classic English three-course brunch of Eggs Benedict, full English breakfast and a coconut and blood orange trifle to finish things off. The Aqua Brunch is available across the whole bank holiday weekend, from 2-5 June.
Where: Level 31 The Shard, Southwark, SE1 9RY
Book now: Aqua Shard
Galvin at Windows
What: Looking for the best view of London's festivities over the long Jubilee weekend? Galvin at Windows boasts a lofty 28th floor vista across the London skyline, and a Jubilee menu to match thanks to executive chef Marc Hardiman. Kick things off with a Coronation chicken vol-au-vent, then tuck into delights like a pork pie with walnut brown sherry, prunes and pickles, a classic British roast with all the trimmings, and what else but jelly, ice cream and Pimms - a combination of QE2's favourite things.
Where: London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, St. James's, W1K 1BE
Book now: Galvin at Windows
What: The beautiful nursery and gardens and Petersham Nurseries will be home to a huge summer fete over the bank holiday weekend. Expect street food, picnicking and plenty of performances, as well as stunning seasonal flower installations courtesy of the Petersham gardening team. The Petersham Nurseries Cafe is always a beautiful spot for a weekend, but it promises to be a real extravaganza over the Jubilee weekend.
Where: Church Lane, Twickenham, TW10 7AB
Book now: Petersham Nurseries Cafe
What: Less traditional but just as delicious, Aquavit is hosting its own little street party of sorts on the pavement outside the restaurant in the quiet St James’s quarter, a short walk from the Piccadilly street party, complete with big screens of the Jubilee celebrations. Tuck into delicious Scandi smorgasbord plates, including dishes like shrimp Skagen with dill mayonnaise, pickled herrings with potatoes and cheese tartlets, and sweetbreads with lingonberry chutney and black mustard.
Where: 1 St James's Market, St James's, SW1Y 4QQ
Book now: Aquavit
What: Quaglino's is also recreating the menu that it served for the Queen’s coronation 70 years ago, with a five course menu that includes foie gras terrine with port jelly, Dover sole à la royale and an assiette of strawberries with a gingerbread and liqueur biscuit. Book yourself in and you’ll also get a complimentary chocolate gift from Charbonnel et Walker - a Royal Warrant chocolatier that has long been one of the Palace’s favourites.
Where: 16 Bury Street, St. James's, SW1Y 6AJ
Book now: Quaglino’s
Jubilee afternoon teas
Fortnum & Mason
What: Where better to stop for Jubilee afternoon tea than Fortnum & Mason? The legendary London department store has built a reputation on fine teas, and the Queen herself opened the tea salon here in 2012. Expect beautiful hand-crafted crockery, live piano music and a menu that includes classic finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and intricate cakes and pastries that all have special symbolism relating to the Queen (the delicate swan-shaped choux bun, for example, which is filled with violet crème pâtissière).
Where: 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, W1A 1ER
Book now: Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason
What: One of London’s most storied hotels, The Savoy is synonymous with the capital and with Queen Elizabeth II, who was known to often visit for dinner in days gone by. To celebrate the Jubilee, The Savoy is holding the ‘Grandest of Afternoon Teas’, which focuses on great British produce, as well as savouries and beautiful patisserie that have long held a connection with the Queen and her visits to the hotel. Pop in over the bank holiday weekend and you’ll also find musical entertainment in literal full swing, as well as a 1968 Routemaster bus outside where guests can enjoy a glass of English sparkling wine.
Where: The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EZ
Book now: Afternoon tea at The Savoy
What: Long-standing caterer Searcys handles some of the most impressive venues in London, from Helix at The Gherkin to the glamorous 116 Pall Mall. Visit any of Searcy’s opulent locations and you’ll find them serving up a quintessential British afternoon tea that includes classic finger sandwiches, Victoria sponge and a very patriotic red, white and blue Battenberg.
Where: Various locations
Book now: Helix at The Gherkin/116 Pall Mall
Got a taste for tea and scones? Check out our pick of the best afternoon teas in London, or take a look at our full listings for afternoon teas in the capital.