Platinum Jubilee Celebrations in the UK — an evening visit to a local village

A long weekend of celebrations in the UK to mark 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II

June 2022

Photo by Author — the lighting of the beacons
Photo by Author — the lighting of the beacons

This week, the UK enjoyed a long four-day weekend to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

On Thursday, 2 June 2022, there was the Trooping of the Colour at Horse Guards in London to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and an 82-gun salute (I am still not sure why 82?). And this all looked great on the TV. But I wanted to experience something in person, so I decided to go to the lighting of the national beacons.

For centuries, we have used beacons to communicate across the UK. They were an early warning system. A beacon would be lit, and when observed from the next one in the chain, that would be lit, and so on. Now, we use beacons to mark celebrations. The beacons were lit across the UK to celebrate the Queen's Platinium Jubilee. And I went to a local beacon in a nearby village.

The beacon I went to was not in sight of another beacon. There was an agreed time to light it at 9:45 pm.

I left my house and walked the two miles across the local fields to the village. When I arrived, a Thanksgiving Service was finishing in the village church. I found a place to sit in the long grass in the field with the beacon.

There was something magical about lying in the field as it got dark. All I could see was the tall grass stretching up and the sky darkening from blue to black. It was wonderful. It was worth the walk for 10 minutes of lying in the field.

The beacon was lit promptly at 9:45 a.m. The villager gave a rousing ‘three cheers for the Queen’, and the beacon burned. It was impressive.

There was a short fireworks display, and that was it. The celebrations finished, and the villagers retired to the pub.

Photo by Author — fireworks at the village
Photo by Author — fireworks at the village

My walk back in the dark was very enjoyable.

I think I saw an owl flit across the fields—all I saw was a dark shadow, and there was no sound. I saw four deer in a small wood I passed—I am not sure who was more surprised to see who. My bat detector picked up the unmistakable clicks of some bats in a nearby wood.

A memorable evening out, and I am glad I made an effort to go.