With the Diamond Jubilee rearing its Royal head – and a seemingly endless number of events all vying for your attention – deciding where to spend your hard-earned food and booze pennies over the four-day Jubilee weekend is no easy feat. The Thames Flotilla on Sunday is undoubtedly going to take centre stage, but given the expected turnout by the public, the sheer number of spectators is going to place immense pressure on where one can find sustenance.
But fear not, London wasn’t born yesterday, and there are plenty of pubs plonked firmly on the waterside that will offer stunning views of the 1,000-boat parade while still allowing you to keep your bellies filled. Helpfully, the good people at Young’s have laid out an interactive map, serving as a reference to the best riverside pubs on the big day, starting right back at the mustering area (e.g. The Boathouse, Putney) and the start line (e.g. The Waterside, Chelsea Harbour) and extending all the way to the main body of the route (e.g. The Riverside, Vauxhall and the Founders Arms, Blackfriars).
Serving good old British pub grub and a variety of tipples – including the Young’s ale range – each venue should offer plenty of scope for a long afternoon of pageantry. However, you’d be wise to get there as early as possible if you want to try and grab a table outside.
Aside from the Flotilla, street parties and outdoor pop-ups will be a prominent feature. And, if like me you left it too late to get tickets to Battersea Park, there’s no need to worry; there is an abundance of Jubilee shindigs that should leave you well and truly Royalled-out.
One example for Sunday is the Bourne & Hollingsworth’s Jubilee party, held in Bedford Square (by the British Museum), featuring a mighty hog roast, afternoon teas, classic cocktails and lashings of Spitfire ale. As if that weren’t enough, there are also live bands, DJs and egg and spoon races to keep you occupied until dusk.
Alternatively, head east to the historical Leadenhall Market where the Lamb Tavern will be hosting a street party replete with Brit-pop, beer and a mighty buffet. Dishes such as Coronation chicken, Beef Wellington, fish and chips and – of course – pork pies will be accompanied by a heady mix of cask ales, English ciders and Pimms. They will also be showing the Flotilla on a private big screen, offering the best of both worlds if you can’t face missing the action on the water.
As Monday hits, and the Sunday hangover disperses, you can always head West to Chiswick, where Sam’s Brasserie and Bar will be holding its very own Royal feast of British food, drink and live music. Best of all, it’s free.
Restaurants and beyond
If you’d prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle, there are still a number of dining establishments happy to tempt you in with their own take on a Jubilee-inspired menu. For afternoon tea, The Royal Horseguards Hotel at Embankment is offering a culinary array that includes roast beef sandwiches, iconically-shaped British biscuits (mmmm, yummy red buses) peppermint creams and the smashing-sounding lemon and Martini meringue pie, apparently fashioned as an ode to the Queen’s ‘favourite’ tipple.
Or, make your way to The Botanist for a quintessentially British Marmite-inspired menu: cheddar, chive and Marmite scones; chocolate cake with Marmite buttercream; Marmite sandwiches… it’s going to be a love it or hate it menu, that’s for sure.
Belgravian revellers may prefer to take in the al fresco three course lunch (Sunday only) at The Terrace, a hidden courtyard venue set within the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel. Scottish oak-smoked salmon, steak and kidney pudding and London pride-battered fish and chips are all available for your savoury pleasure, with staffers such as gooseberry crumble ready to help you find a sweet finish.
For a more saucy experience – and one which you ladies may be wise to consider if you are having trouble convincing your man to get involved – try Chancery Lane’s supper club Volupté. They are hosting special Jubilee-themed Burlesque shows on Tuesday 5 June, with either afternoon tea (3pm) or a three course British classics meal (8pm) poised to make your mouth water… if the dancers haven’t done it already.
But if it’s just you and a loved one, perhaps Covent Garden’s Clos Maggiore might be more appealing, especially given its new accolade as London’s most romantic restaurant, 2012. They are offering a special – and very much British – Jubilee menu that runs from 2 to 5 June. With ingredients sourced from none other than Windsor Park, their suitably Royal four course meal includes classic dishes such as steamed green asparagus, fried pheasant egg and Hollandaise sauce, as well as the ever-pleasing Eton Mess. What’s more, couples that can prove they tied the knot in 1952 – the year of the coronation – will eat for free.
Young’s Riverside Pubs
Bourne and Hollingsworth’s Diamond Jubilee Party
Bedford Square Gardens
Tel: 0207 724 1617
Lamb Tavern / Leadenhall Market Jubilee Party
10-12 Leadenhall Market
Tel: 020 7626 2454
Sam’s Brasserie and Bar
11 Barley Mow Passage
Tel: 020 8987 0555
The Royal Horseguards
2 Whitehall Court
Tel: 0845 305 8332
No.7 Sloane Square
Tel: 020 7730 0077
21 Lowndes Street
Tel: 020 7858 7223
9 Norwich Street
Tel: 020 7831 1622
33 King Street
Tel: 020 7379 9696