It will be a day to remember. When Prince William and Kate Middleton get hitched on April 29, an estimated crowd of 1 million people will spill onto the streets of London in order to see the couple say “I do.”
But with so many people out and about on the big day, getting around the capital won’t be easy.
If you want to be a smart wedding tourist here are some handy hints you can follow in order navigate a crowded London with relative ease.
Calling all early birds
There is no doubt about it — if you want a key position along the royal processional route you’re going to have to turn up early.
It is difficult to say what time you should arrive — some people will arrive at dawn, while others will have camped out a day or two in advance to snaffle key positions.
The areas around Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace are most likely to have the biggest crowds, so we suggest moving further along the route, giving yourself a better chance of seeing the procession.
It is certain that when the couple emerge from Buckingham Palace onto the balcony, as tradition dictates, the space surrounding the palace will be packed.
Getting into London
London has one of the best transport systems in the world, so why not use it?
Don’t drive in, take the underground
Driving into the city is not recommended — roads will be closed and parking will be almost impossible. Britain’s Automobile Association predict April 29 will be one of the busiest public holidays on the roads “for several years.”
Instead, people are encouraged to use London’s underground train network.
According to London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy: “All tube lines will be running and our bus and streets teams will be working flat out to make sure that the closures and diversions needed are managed smoothly.”
Underground stations close to the center of the action will include Green Park, Victoria, St. James Park and Westminster. But if you want to avoid the crowds and the crush, get off a few stops earlier and walk — it might even be faster.
On the morning of the royal wedding there may be long queues for tickets at large stations, so be sure to buy a travel card before the big day in order to avoid delay.
Train in from outside
If you’re staying outside London, taking a train into the capital is recommended. Most train lines will be running normal weekday services, with some adding extra carriages. Chiltern Railways, which runs services between London and Birmingham, is even offering free travel to passengers named Kate, Catherine or William.
National Rail has advised people to arrive in London before 10 a.m. on the day and to check train times and routes well in advance.
Busing and biking
Transport for London plans to operate a Saturday schedule, but some routes may be diverted or finish before their usual destination if they can’t get through central London.
And if you’re thinking of taking out a Barclay’s Cycle Hire bike, a number of docking stations within the road closures will be suspended, so check beforehand.
Stretch those legs
If all else fails — walk. Although London is a big city, once in the center, nowhere is too far.
Getting out of London
Be warned — getting back out of the center may take longer than usual.
London Underground has warned it will close platforms if there is a risk of over-crowding.
There will also be a queuing system at Victoria station for access to the underground after the event, so be prepared to wait, or if you can, use a different station.
Like any good boy scout — be prepared
When trying to meet family and friends make sure you arrange a rendezvous point that is clear. Meeting outside underground stations could prove difficult and confusing, due to crowds and the numerous exits and entrances at each station.
Make sure you carry a bottle of water with you, as the queues for drinks and food will be large and journey times longer than usual.
Sun cream is a good idea, as is an umbrella or poncho. Remember, this is Britain, so anything could happen weather wise.
As with every high-profile public event there is always a chance of disruption on the day from various groups hoping to gain exposure.
Anarchists have threatened to cause trouble, but London’s Metropolitan Police have said surveillance teams are gathering intelligence and that the wedding will be protected by “a ring of steel” — with thousands of police officers lining the route.