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The UK Travel Planning Podcast Episode 8 Transcript
Welcome to the UK Travel Planning Podcast. Your host is the founder of the UK Travel Planning website, Tracy Collins. In this podcast, Tracy shares destination guides, travel tips, and itinerary ideas, as well as interviews with a variety of guests who share their knowledge and experience of UK travel to help you plan your perfect UK vacation. Join us as we explore the UK from cosmopolitan cities to quaint villages. From historic castles to beautiful islands, and from the picturesque countryside to seaside towns.
Hi, and welcome to episode 8 of the UK Travel Planning Podcast. Today I’m joined by John Coupland from John England Tours, who you’ll remember from a previous podcast episode, talking about his driver guided tours of Southeast England and walk tours of London.
In this episode, we’ll be talking about all things Jubilee. This year, it is the platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth the second. So why is that important? Well, it’s 70 years that she has actually been on the throne and she has reigned longer than any other British Monarch. Prior to that, it was Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years, which is pretty amazing it in itself, but 70 years is just incredible. So we’re going to be talking about the Jubilee today, so thanks for joining us today, John.
Great to be back on Tracy. Thanks for having me again. I must have done something right the last time. Either that, or you couldn’t find anybody else.
No, no. Who else would I want to talk to about the Jubilee? Honestly, who else knows as much as-
I believe you Tracy. You only get humour from me.
Absolutely true. Absolutely true. So, I’ll talk a little bit about the kind of the fact that the queen has been… I assume anybody who’s watched The Crown on Netflix will probably know a little bit about this anyway, but obviously when the queen found out on the 6th of February 1952, that she was going to become queen, she was actually only 25 years or old, which blows my mind a bit that somebody so young would take on something, well, she didn’t have a choice really, on something so responsible.
So she was actually in Kenya at the time, at a place called Treetops, which was a hundred miles outside of Nairobi, so it actually took four hours for her to find out that she was going to be queen.
Yeah, and I know, I was reading something today, because I’ve been bit of research for the podcast, and she said that every year, I guess, on the anniversary of her coronation or the fact that the time when she became queen, because actually she wasn’t… The coronation wasn’t until the year after, until June 2nd, is that actually it’s tinged with sadness because it was obviously also that the time when she lost her dad. So I guess it’s sad, isn’t it? You become queen, but in very sad circumstances.
And obviously, this year as well is going to be the first year that she’s going to be celebrating without her husband of 73 years. Which again, it’s incredible, I think somebody being married for 73 years is such an incredible long time. So, as I said, she found out on the 6th of February that she was going to become queen, but she actually wasn’t crowned until the following year, June 2nd, 1953, which was predicted, and it was chosen because it was supposed to be the sunniest day of the year. Guess what? It rained. Yep, it rained.
You’ve got to get the British feel to this. Absolutely.
I know, I know. I read that and I was like, well, that is kind of typical. So, obviously we’re talking platinum Jubilee this year, so 70 years. There have been obviously other celebrations over the years, so the diamond Jubilee, 2012, golden Jubilee, 2002, and the silver Jubilee in 1977, which I’m going to talk to John about actually, because I was 10 at the time, I have lots of… I’ve actually given my age away now. Fond memories of the silver Jubilee. And can you remember it, John?
I can’t remember anything Tracy. I was too young.
You’re fibbing. You are fibbing. Well, I was 10 and I know you can remember something.
I can. I can remember it. Lovely memories. The silver Jubilee, 1977, yes. I was actually in boarding school, dare I say.
Yes, you can. I’ll let you off with that.
So I come sort of from a slightly different angle, I guess, that it was a bit institutionalised, but it’s a lovely school in Southwest of England, in Tavistock in Devon, and yes, we did celebrate. It was a boy’s school and it was opposite… It was called Mount House School at the time, it’s been renamed, and over the River Tavy is another private school and it’s called Kelly College. So they really had the main throng of it in terms of the celebrations across the river. And to get to the point, actually it was Prince Charles who visited Kelly College by helicopter. And, but it wasn’t us looking over the hill and over the river thinking, “Oh my gosh, they’ve got all the celebrations. He actually made time to visit us.”
And so we were waving the Union Jacks, our national flag, of course. And I actually managed to speak to him very briefly amongst the crowd of school boys. So, I can’t remember all the detail, I was 11, I was 11 years old then. But yes, some words were exchanged, nice words, and he moved on, but he stayed for a few minutes. And I think when I look back at that, that was quite a coup actually for the school to manage that, because it was still school, and on the back of Kelly College.
Oh yeah. That’s amazing. I have to say that I’ve actually never met or even seen any member of the Royal Family. I haven’t. Literally I haven’t.
Look, I mean, it’s one of these things where I’m not going to exaggerate. From what I can remember, it was a very quick, hello and where are you from, to the group, and we all sort of shouted back sort of thing. But of course, he was very much younger then, and it was a big, wow moment for us. We knew of course, we were old enough to know it was a huge event, but we had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun. And the school integrated with the town of Tavistock and there were fairs, and fetes, and things like that, that was going on. And of course, you see a lot of it on, what we used to call television.
So yeah, great memories. Great memories.
And I remember. So you were on the opposite side of the country than me because I was actually in the North East in the small village, well there that I grew up in, and I remember the weather was good, and we had a street party, which meant that the road was completely shut.
It was fantastic. Tables were put down the middle of the street and we all had a fancy dress party. So I was dressed in a Spanish costume and my brother was just dressed as a scarecrow and he actually won.
Yeah. And it was just was so much fun. There was so much bunting everywhere, lots of red, white, and blue, just a really good community spirit and a fantastic for… I mean, we were on actually quite a long road, the fact that everybody came out together, we had such a lot of fun. As I say, it was a… I remember the sun being out and it was… And we’ve got one or two photos of that, I might actually put them on the website so people can have a look, but if I can find them.
But there’s a couple of pictures of us then and it was really, really fantastic. And it’s funny, because I’ve actually been in the UK for the golden and diamond Jubilees and don’t really remember as much as I do. I guess I was a child, so impressionable and you remember things then, whereas I kind of guess this year, I think, is going to be such a big year because there’s such a lot going on.
I agree, Traci. I mean a different perspective as well. Going back to the silver Jubilee, I did get a localized point of view as well because my family lived abroad at the time, and so we were allowed out from this boarding school. And I remember actually, one of my family friends who are actually farmers in Cornwall, and there was a huge fete in the countryside, they do things so well, it’s a real community spirit, and I remember that as well. We’d get together literally in the field and the villages got together, and that must have been a different day.
I can’t specifically remember the dates, but it was to do, definitely to do with the silver Jubilee. So it was great. It was a great community spirit.
I’m guessing it was that same… That week in June, the first week in June.
It must have been.
The school holidays, yeah. I’m thinking the same as it this year. So it’s definitely… And kind of that community spirit, and celebration, and street parties, we were just… And I believe that there were street parties during the coronation as well. I think that was one of the… When I was reading a bit today and actually, apparently the date back to after the first World War, that was the first street parties were introduced into the UK. There was a big one obviously after the coronation in 1953. That’s a long time ago. 70 years ago.
Nearly 70 years ago. But obviously then there was no TV, so just looking at photos today, it was amazing. Actually, I must ask my mom about it because she will definitely have memories because she was the same age then as I was during the silver Jubilee, so I must actually talk to her about her memories of that occasion. So, obviously thinking about the celebrations that are going to be taking place this year, because there are quite a lot going on, and they’re actually going to be a year long, and there’s quite a few themed events such as Super Bloom at the Tower of London. And we’ve actually just booked our tickets for June for that and we are really looking forward to that where basically the moat around the Tower of London is going to be lots and lots of flowers have been planted, so seeds gone in and it’s just going to be…
Yes. Over 20 million, I believe.
Yes. How gorgeous they’re going to be. I’m really looking forward to seeing that. I think with June, July, so yes, you should get tickets for that if you want to go to Super Bloom. So that’s part of the celebrations this year, but really the culminate really, and center around the four day holiday weekend, which is going to run from the second to the 5th of June, which again is going to be a chance to come together to celebrate.
And it’s also during… The kids are off school, it’s a half term week and they’ve actually moved the regular bank holiday, which is what we call a public holiday in the UK, a bank holiday. Monday, it’s been moved from the Monday because it’s generally the last Monday in May, to actually Thursday, the 2nd of June, which means that there’s going to be a long weekend. So I’m sure everybody’s looking forward to that.
And that’s significant.
To do that, I mean, that’s just huge to shift the public holiday. And that’s reflective of how we in the UK mark this occasion. I mean, sometimes with these things, one has to take a step back, and as you know, being a tour guide, I’m immersed in with this and one of the tours I do is the Crown Tour. And let me say, it’s not endorsed by Netflix, it’s just literally an outdoors tour. It doesn’t have to be endorsed by Netflix, is really what I should have said.
And it’s conversational. My private tours, they’re always conversational. And of course, most of the people who book that private tour would have seen the crown.
It’s very serious. But they don’t have to, it’s got a British raw theme. But with that, sometimes when one is close with things like that, I do make the time to take a step back and if we just together just think, 70 years, try and put that in perspective and it’s impossible really in a way, but to get to the point, I mean, I used to cite the reign of Queen Victoria. And like you mentioned earlier in the podcast, 63 years, apparently it’s nearly 64 but who’s counting, it’s a lot of years. And never did I imagine, yeah, that I was able to witness. I mean, the queen has already done 70 years, let’s get that straight.
She’s done the 70 years in February. And of course, what we’re talking about is celebrating her.
Yeah. So she’s already beaten that record.
It’s funny you mentioned that, because I think it’s one of those when you… Well, I was a history teacher, but I remember learning at school about Queen Victoria and the fact that she’d sat on the throne for 63 years, was such a huge thing, and I remember learning about it, yeah. And then to actually think that we are living during the time when we’ve got a queen who’s gone past that, so past that.
70 Years is, as you say, it’s an incredibly… It’s incredible at the time. From the age of 25.
To put it in perspective, 13 US presidents she met, could have been 14.
And it’s not a quiz or anything, but the listeners will make me think, well, who was the… It wasn’t the 14th, but who could have been the… It could have been 14 US presidents, for example. And of course, when I do my tour guiding, I do ask my guests, “So who do you think it was? Which US president didn’t she meet?” And of course, it’s Lyndon. President Lyndon Johnson.
And there was a scene in the crown, to say the least, about Princess Margaret. And then I don’t want to digress, but then that brings up that and some stuff, the way she parted.
Yeah. Oh yes.
Not just the Jubilee.
Absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah. So as you say, it is pretty amazing. And whether you’re a Royalist or not really, I think you’ve got to be proud of the fact that she… I’m just amazed by the fact that she’s done this since the age of 25. And again, same age as my daughter, I can’t imagine my daughter becoming, being Queen, and that responsibility that she has had over the years as well. And there are a lot of people that will be listening to this podcast that absolutely love the Royal Family.
So, and if you are in London, and I know that there have been, there are members of my Facebook group and I have had some emails from people who are actually going to be in London over that long weekend. As I say, so the Monday holiday has been moved to the Thursday and there’s also a Friday. So Thursday and Friday, the second and third of June now are actually public holidays. So it’s going to be four days of celebrations, so we’re just going to briefly, between myself and John, just give you a quick overview of actually what’s happening over those days for those of you who are going to be in London.
So, on the 2nd of June, it’s the Queen’s birthday parade, which is Trooping of the Color, which is normally held on the second Saturday of June, which celebrates the Queen’s official birthday. Her real one is actually the 21st of April, but they have an official birthday in June for her.
And during the Trooping of the Color, basically it’s a military parade and ceremony, which is performed by regimens of the British army on Horse Guards’ Parade, where you’ll see lots of parading soldiers, horses, musicians, and basically the trooping is the marching up and down, and the color represents the flags of the different regiments of the British army.
And every year, apparently the colors of the different regiment are trooped. So, on that day the queen travels from Buckingham Palace, along the mall. It’s greeted by Royal salute, inspects everybody, inspects all of the regiment, and then leads them down the mall to Buckingham Palace for a second salute. And then after that, she goes on the balcony and waves that everybody. Does that sum it up pretty well, John?
It does. It does. And obviously, we all have an expectation because we’ve got used to it, some more than others over the many years. And of course, the big question is, what role can Her Majesty play in this physically?
And we just don’t know yet. So it’s just to put it in perspective and to manage the listeners’ expectations because God bless her, I believe is nearly 96 years old.
Well, absolutely. And I was reading today that she-
Yeah, absolutely. So, in terms of inspection, would it be actually her, Her Majesty doing the inspecting or would it perhaps be Prince Charles, for example? So it’s just to put that in perspective. It’s a celebration, of course, but of course, I mean, with the platinum Jubilee, 70 years comes something called age, and just got to remember that really.
No, that’s a really good point actually. And I mean, I think of the times that I used to watch the Trooping of the Color on television, the queen used to ride a horse down to do it, and I know for the last quite a few years now, she’s done that in a carriage. So, I guess this year, hopefully she’ll be able to do that in a carriage and go and do the… Even if she can sit in the carriage, I don’t know how it’ll look, but I think you’re right, that’s generally how it’s looked in the past.
No, indeed. Yeah.
We’ll see this year, but I think it’s going to be particularly spectacular. And also on that day, so after that, there’s also going to be beacons lit throughout the UK, and the Channel Islands, [inaudible 00:18:33] UK overseas territories, and each one of the capital cities of the Commonwealth countries as well.
Yes, I heard about that. And it’s the first.
Yeah, so reckon there is going to be something like two… Well, I think 2022, which would be appropriate wouldn’t it?
And that would be the evening of the 2nd of June, I understand.
Yes. I will actually put a link. I did read a kind of booklet today but there was a lot of information in it about how it’s going to look. I think the Pearly Kings and Queens are involved as well, so it’s going to be a lot of, kind of pomp and circumstance, I think it’s going to be quite an important event.
And basically, I’ll put a link to that if anybody wants to read, to know exactly how that’s going to pan out. But yeah, the first beacon will be lit at Buckingham Palace, and then I think, I guess it’ll travel around the world then, won’t it? Because so many… So 2022 is what they’re aiming for all over the world, so that’s going to be… And I would imagine on the television in the UK that’ll probably be… They’ll record that. They;ll put something on the television so they’ll be from all over the world.
Yeah. So there’ll be plenty on television and also on social media now, we’re of course in the 21st century.
And my understanding is that the hashtags, before I forget to share this, would be #HM70.
And also #PlatinumJubilee. So, if some listeners can’t quite get to the television because they’re out and about, but perhaps on their phones and want to look things up, just search those hashtags.
I did notice that today. They’re kind of asking people to put hashtags. I’ll put those in the show notes as well, so if anybody’s out and about, and they want to share pictures of what they’re doing and what they’re seeing, and then they can use those hashtags as well. So, the following day there is going to be a service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Do you know a little bit about that John that you could share?
Yes. I mean, that’s going to be happening on Friday the 3rd of June. So, St. Paul’s for those who perhaps haven’t visited London yet. And also just to put in perspective, Tracy and I know that not everybody is going to be here, all the listeners are going to be here, so this is not just about being in London in person or in the UK in person, but if you want to follow it online or televised broadcast, et cetera, that service of Thanksgiving is a private service, but it will be televised.
And as a tip, if anybody listening to this thinking, “Is that of interest? There’s quite a lot going on.” My tip really is YouTube. I mean, we’ve got the benefit of having done this before in different perspectives of course, not just the silver Jubilee, but there’s been of course the golden Jubilee, the Diamond Jubilee, and just see what was happening with the service of Thanksgiving. I’m not suggesting it’s going to be exactly the same, but it gives you a perspective.
And I think that there are still from… The researchers are doing, they’re still kind of firming up what some events are going to look like. And actually, which takes me, I guess, to the next day really, because there’s going to be a platinum party at the palace, so a bit of a music festival going on, on the Saturday evening, but those were 10,000 tickets by ballot only.
And actually trying to find out who was going to be there is really difficult. As far as I could find out at the moment, the only person that’s confirmed is George Ezra. But again, that’ll be live on the BBC, so if you’re particularly interested, and I imagine there’s going to be some big names there at Buckingham Palace for that.
So that’s going to be… And obviously, and then that day, hopefully if the queen will be at the Derby at Epsom, because she’s a big horse racing fan, that would be… Yeah, that’s on the cards for her. And then this Sunday, we’re actually going to be…
We had thought we were going to be in York, but I don’t think we’re going to be in York now, probably going to be in the Midlands, but actually on the Sunday, it’s the big Jubilee lunch, which I guess is going to be a bit like 1977 silver Jubilee celebrations.
And I would imagine even bigger, no matter what the weather.
Because this is really a once in a lifetime thing for not just UK residents, but any visitors who perhaps may be interested, the big Jubilee lunch. And so I’ve been looking this up online as well, and it is like you more indicated, Tracy, things are still being formulated, organized, and what’s great about it is that as usual, local authorities will get involved and make it easy for people to organize things because of course it’s the big Jubilee lunch, but it’s also street parties.
And so what that entails, for example, in the various localities, whether it’s London or the rest of the UK, is closure of some roads. So there’s logistics involved in that, but it’s a real sense of community spirits. Locally, to me, for example, literally just up the road, there’s a crescent, so that’s because it’s not… It’s a through road, and it’s not strictly a private road, but they usually have their own celebrations for various things anyways, a community spirit. So, I have no doubt, I mean, this local gossip that they’re arranging something.
And of course it’s quite special to them, but they can’t invite everyone, so it’s down to individuals in the localities to get together. Again, that community spirit from a local, I thought I’d just share that in a podcast. And so, with that, if any listener here happens to be in London, right?
Depending where you’re stay or anywhere in the UK for that matter, yeah? My tip to you is, get involved in the local community. Don’t just watch it on TV. You’ve got one chance, yeah. And I’m telling you, I guarantee you, yeah, if you just ask, a local, maybe go to a local shop, ask yeah, they would welcome you with open arms, yeah. Just bring some chicken with you or whatever takes your fancy. Just bring some food with you and a couple of beers.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I totally agree, John. I think it’s going to be… I’m actually really excited to be over the UK for this platinum Jubilee year, to be honest, just to… I think the whole party spirit and just the community spirit is going to be amazing. A lot of celebrations, so there’s going to be a lot of red, white, and blue everywhere, that’s guaranteed. There’s going to be bunching and… Yeah, you just know you’re going to see a lot of that.
And I think that’s a good point. And I think, again, because when we do the podcast, we like to give a good tip to anybody that’s going to be visiting, and if you are there during, well, this year, actually, you’re going to probably experience some of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. But certainly if you’re there for those four days, soak it up, enjoy it because this is basically a once in a lifetime experience.
So yeah. Celebrate it, enjoy it, get involved, ask questions as well if you’re not sure if you want to know what people are doing and what’s in…. Yeah, ask them. Ask people because I’m sure everybody will want to share what’s happening and celebrate this year.
Yeah. There’ll be plenty of music. There’s going to be theatre, outdoors, indoors, carnivals. So no matter where you are in the UK, I mean take York, for example, you mentioned York earlier, look up the local council website, your council, you’ll know about this Tracy, I know, and see. And the local councils will be listing their events, not just their own, but other people’s events as well to help people search and find them depending where you’re staying in York.
I’m just using that as an example, it could be somewhere in Scotland, or somewhere in Wales, or South West England, it doesn’t matter, just look it up. No matter if you’re staying in a top end luxury hotel or a bed and breakfast, my advice to any visitor here is, get involved. Get involved. Don’t don’t leave England or the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland thinking, “Oh, I should’ve.” Just do it. Go with the flow, as they say.
Absolutely. I totally agree. And I have to say, thanks again, John, for coming on, actually agreeing to come on to one of my podcasts to talk about something. It is absolutely fascinating. I’ve actually enjoyed this afternoon. I’ve been reading quite a lot anyway, over the last few months, but this afternoon I really sort of had a good look on the internet and read to find out exactly what’s happening and it is exciting. And it’s, let’s just say, historic.
Yes. No, indeed. Indeed.
Yeah. You can’t kind of underline that enough, just how important this is and how proud certainly I am as an English person to be involved with this. So yeah, definitely anybody who’s visiting the UK this year, enjoy it. Definitely. And John, I just want to say a big thank you again. Anybody who’s listened to the podcast, you can hear John on a previous podcast where talks about his private tour guide.
He’s a private tour guide, so driver tour guide, he can take it to Hever Castle, Leeds Castle, Dover Castle, all sorts of fantastic places, and you’ll learn loads, and loads, and loads, and loads from John. And also he does some walking tours in London as well, as you talked about earlier about the Royal Family, so you can learn lots of interesting information from him if you book his tours.
I will put a link in the show notes, but also if you are a member of my Facebook group, you’ll probably know that John is already an expert in there. So if you’ve got any questions, you can always pop into the group and ask John, about anything to do with tours or anything to do with actually the Jubilee.
Yeah. Always happy to help.
And I guess one of my key differentiators is, I give the local perspective as well, which my guests love, really.
Not commercialized as such. It’s a business of course, but it’s giving the local perspective, which is part of the reason why I cover London and South East England, because that’s where I live.
Yeah, absolutely. That sounds great. So thanks very much, John. I’m sure that you’ll be on the podcast again sometime in the future.
Oh, I look forward to it. Always a pleasure, Tracy.
Okay. Thanks John. I’d once again like to say thank you to John for coming on to the podcast once more. Those of you who are interested in his tours, you will find links in the show notes to John England Tours of Southeast England. So John is a driver tour guide and also takes walking tours in London. I’m sure those of you who will be visiting the UK, this time of Jubilee year will be even more excited now about your trip. And please do enjoy any of the celebrations you have the opportunity to take part in when you are there.
As always, links to the various events and destinations mentioned in this podcast can be found in the show notes at uktravelplanning.com/episodeeight. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast and would like to support our work, you’ll find a typical guide link on our website.
Also, please subscribe and leave us a review, just like listener Tina Lou Lang who left us a wonderful review recently asking for more podcast. I can happily report that there will be many more to come, including our next episode in which I share our UK travel plans and how we put together our itinerary for a three month trip.
Until then, don’t forget to check the website for resources and tips, plus our UK travel planning community on Facebook.
Until next time, Happy UK Travel Planning.