Street parties for the Royal wedding: Where is your nearest one and...

Street parties for the Royal wedding: Where is your nearest one and how to take part


With just days until the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19, preparations are well underway for celebrations of the nuptials across the country. Hundreds of parties led by local residents are expected to coincide with the bell ringing at Windsor Castle, as Prince Harry marries the former Suits actress. You do not need to be among the invitees at St George's Chapel, or glued to television screens, to make the most of a day of very-British celebration.   A street party held in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011 Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images With multiple local authorities abolishing road closure fees, it has never been cheaper to encourage community spirit on your doorstep. Everybody has the opportunity to host a stress-free event, whether you are a seasoned street party planner or itching to leap beyond your London 2012 best. Following the wedding, football fans will delight in an afternoon FA Cup final spectacular. So there are two excuses to whip out the bunting and whisk-up some baked goods for your neighbours.   Here is a guide to everything you need to host a superb royal knees-up in your street.  How to host a street party Step one: Apply for permission Most councils require residents to make an application in advance of the proposed street party. Make sure you do this 4-6 weeks in advance. If the party is private and for residents only, you may not need a formal Risk Assessment. Parties on a quiet street that will not affect surrounding roads are classed as small events. According to the government website, you do not need to tell the council if you hold a smaller event that does not require permission for road closures. Holding an event on a driveway, parking area, front garden or end of a cul-de-sac does not require permission from the council if it is on private land.  More information about street party permission can be found here.  Residents at a Royal Wedding Street Party celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, in Chapel Street in Berkhamsted, 2011 Credit: David Levenson/Getty Images Step two: Closing roads For larger events your local council will need to know: the date and time of the event; whether or not you want to close the road or at least part of it; if the road is on a bus route; if your neighbours are aware of the event and if there are any homes or businesses that will be affected.  Naturally, you will need permission from your local council to close a road. Some local councils will lend you signs and cones to help with this, otherwise it is a good idea to put up your own. Likewise if your road falls on a bus route, the bus company will need to know this in advance.   Remember to ensure the entire road is not obstructed in case the emergency services need access to the road. This year, many councils have eased road closure restrictions and removed the cost of a road closure permit. These include Guildford, Bromley, Salford, and Croydon, to name a few. The fee has also been waived in Liverpool, where a a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) usually costs more than £2,000. Some councils will lend road signs needed for the road closure, which also reduces expenses.  If you've run out of time to close the road, you can always arrange a 'street meet' using pavements, parking spaces, gardens or driveways which doesn't require permission. For more information visit Step three: Food and drink If you are intending to sell alcohol at your event you will need to apply for a temporary events notice from your council, which costs £21. This covers events of 500 people or less, and isn't needed if you are providing food and alcohol for free.  Food can be served and sold up to 11pm without a licence, and you can check Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines if want to further ensure food safety.  Perfect picnic recipes Step four: Don't forget music You can have live music or play tracks without a licence if it is a private party for residents, rather than an event designed to draw crowds or for profit.  Don't have it too loud though, or let it go on too late. Remember to cater for all tastes. Step five: Decorations are a must The colourful triangular flags that make-up bunting were originally used in the Royal Navy as signal flags. They then became synonymous with British garden parties and traditional celebrations.  It is a great idea to make your own, with family, friends and neighbours. Start with fabric, plastic or recycled card before applying decoration. Union flags are also a good option, and balloons. Wellwishers line the streets the day before the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer in London, 28th July 1981 Credit: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images Step six: Raffle prizes Tombola or raffle tickets are fine as long as prizes aren’t worth more than £500 in total – any more than that and your local authority may require you to register it as a lottery. Step seven: Everything else Folding chairs, tables, a gazebo or small marquee and 'road closed' signs. You might also want to some children's activities, fancy-dress or face-painting. Where are street parties being held?  The nave of Winchester Cathedral will host a live-screen of the royal wedding, before inviting everyone outside to enjoy family entertainment.   Royal wedding celebrations will be incorporated into this year's Chelsea in Bloom flower show, which transforms the streets of the west London borough into a walkable artistic visual experience.  In Nottingham, the local authority announced that street party organisers can apply for a grant up to £200, so expect many street parties to be taking place on the day Royal wedding | Read more Why street parties were called 'Peace Teas'  The first street parties in Britain took place in 1919 after the end of the First World War. The began as part of the Peace Treaty celebrations after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and became affectionately known as 'Peace Teas'. Initially planned as a sit-down treat for children who had endured four years of war, they soon became popular with adults and residents began organising them for all sorts of celebrations. In the incredibly hot summer of 1919, women took on the initiative to organise outdoor parties, adorning the streets with Union flags and garlands while children played games. The children of Morpeth Street in London's East End enjoying a street party in celebration of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 Credit: John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Getty Images The archives of Tyne and Wear Museums documented that on August 4, 1919, almost 40 streets had seen street tea parties in the city of Newcastle alone. Such events were organised that summer across the entire country. After this, bunting and home-cooked food were rolled-out for each occasion worthy of a celebration. The street party became a uniquely British tradition, bringing communities together for coronations, weddings and jubilees, including  King George V's silver Jubilee in 1935, King George VI's Coronation two years later, VE and VJ Days in 1945, and the Queen's 1953 Coronation.  Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Ashby De La Zouch, Leicestershire Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire It is estimated that around 10 million people got involved in street parties in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. Whilst in 2011, Kent held the largest number of street celebrations for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The county was followed by Cambridgeshire, Milton Keynes, and South Gloucestershire, according to figures from the campaign group Republic.  Today, Bristol is regarded as the nation's 'street party capital', with more than 100 events taking place each year. Other party-happy cities include Oxford, Brighton, and Southampton.