On February 6th of this year, Her Majesty the Queen became the first British monarch to have sat on the throne for 70 years. And to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, people all over the UK will have a long weekend from the 2nd to the 5th of June.

There are lots of celebrations planned for that weekend. For example, the Queen’s birthday parade, ‘Trooping the Colour’, will be kicking off at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 2nd, and Saturday 4th will see the BBC staging and broadcasting a live concert in her honour.

But, some of the most important celebrations that’ll be taking place throughout the long weekend are the ones in our communities and neighbourhoods – particularly street parties.

Street parties are an important part of British culture and tradition, so they’re perfect for celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Sharing food, drinks, music, and conversation with your neighbours is also an excellent way to build bridges in your community. And most importantly, they’re fun for people of all ages.

Organising a street party can take quite a bit of planning and preparation. So, whether you’ve already started or you’ve been considering it, we’ve put together this short guide to organising a street party – so you can have the best Platinum Jubilee experience possible.

What is a street party?

What is a street party
Street parties seem to have first been organised in 1919 to celebrate the end of the First World War and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Back then, these were known as ‘Peace Teas,’ and were primarily organised for the children of the nation who’d suffered the hardships of wartime. Peace Teas typically involved taking to the streets, or large spaces like parks and halls, to enjoy food, drink, music (like brass bands), and the company of your community – all of which have survived as traditions of the modern street party. Since then, street parties have been a mainstay of British culture. Typically thrown during the warmer months of the year, they’ve been used to celebrate all kinds of things – from coronations to World Cup wins! Here are a couple of things that you can expect from a traditional street party…
  • It takes place on the street – This bit’s a little self-explanatory but roads are usually closed for street parties to allow people to set up things like tables, chairs, and gazebos. Plus, it allows people more space and helps to keep things safe.
  • Everyone on the street is invited – When it comes to a street party, everyone on your road (or a number of roads) is invited to come along.
  • Everyone pitches in – So that all the cost and responsibility of setting up a street party doesn’t fall on any one person, everyone attending is expected to pitch in. You can do anything to help; from bringing food and drinks or sorting out the music to helping with the organisation or being part of the clean-up crew.
  • Games and activities – Lots of street parties have games and activities, like sports, competitions, and live music.
  • Street dressing – Dressing up your road in all sorts of decorations is another popular idea for street parties, particularly with bunting and balloons.
So, now that you know a little about what makes a street party, here are our seven tips for throwing your very own on the Jubilee weekend…

7 tips for throwing a Platinum Jubilee street party

7 tips for throwing a Platinum Jubilee street party

1. Speak to your neighbours first

The odds are, if you’re reading this, then you’re considering throwing a street party on your road for the Platinum Jubilee. Although, because street parties are all about bringing communities together, you’ll need to check that this is what your neighbours want as well.

One way to do this is to spend some time going door to door and asking each of your neighbours if they’d like to be involved in a street party. You can also use this time to find out which day is best for everyone to throw the party.

Although you can throw street parties any day of the long weekend, many are choosing to host them on the Sunday, in line with The Big Lunch – an initiative started by the Eden Project that’s designed to bring communities together.

If most of your neighbours agree to a street party, you might want to organise a few planning sessions where you’ll divvy up all the different roles and responsibilities involved in throwing your bash.

Remember that everyone attending a street party should be pitching in, so it’s best to make this known from the start. If you divide the jobs evenly enough, you shouldn’t need to raise any money to cover costs.

2. Decide what kind of street party you want to throw

Although we’ve outlined what’s involved in a conventional street party above, there are a few other different types of parties that you could consider throwing – each of which will need slightly different planning.

The kind of street party you decide to throw will depend on a range of things. For example, how much time you have to plan, how much space you have available, and what kind of size you’d like your party to be.

Street meet

Besides the conventional street party, you could choose something a little more small-scale and go with what’s known as an informal ‘street meet’. This option involves having a get-together with your neighbours on your street without closing your road.

You could host a street meet over a couple of front gardens, on someone’s driveway, or at the end of a cul-de-sac. This may be a little smaller than a fully-fledged street party, and you’ll have to be aware of traffic, but it involves a little less planning.

Street meets are perfect for those who’re tight on time, as you won’t have to apply for a road closure. It’s also ideal if not all of your street wants to take part, as you can keep the festivities to one area.

Neighbourhood picnic

If your street isn’t suitable for a street party or meet, but you still want to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in the fresh air with your neighbours, then the Street Party Site suggests a great alternative: a neighbourhood picnic in your local park.

Although you won’t be able to play loud music or have barbeques, organising a neighbourhood picnic is a great way for you to socialise with your neighbours in a chilled out, low-key environment. It’s much easier to organise than a street party – all you need to do is give your neighbours a time and place, and tell them to bring blankets and food.

Plus, having your get together in a local park is better suited to more active games like races and cricket – and it’s safer for kids too!

If you’re looking for some ideas for your Platinum Jubilee picnic, then why not visit the Fortnum and Mason website? They have a range of items, from hampers and picnicware to fresh food and drinks, to make your picnic as special as possible.

Neighbourhood picnic

3. Apply for a road closure as soon as possible

If you’re holding a street meet or a neighbourhood picnic, then you won’t need to get permission or apply for any licenses (as long as you’re not planning to sell alcohol at your event). Although, if you want to close your street, then you’ll need to get permission from your local council.

Closing your street for a street party is a good idea for lots of reasons. It gives you and your neighbours more space to socialise and take part in activities, it’s safer (especially if there are lots of children attending), and it means that your party won’t be constantly interrupted by passing cars.

To apply for a road closure, you’ll need to get in touch with the relevant team at your local council. Each council is structured slightly differently, but you’ll usually need to speak to their traffic, licensing, or events departments.

Some councils will require you to purchase public liability insurance to close your road, although, most don’t. You can find out more about public liability insurance for street parties on The Street Party Site.

You’ll need to apply for road closure at least three weeks in advance. Although, the earlier the better as some councils require more time to process these requests. If granted, they’ll issue you with what’s called a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).

You’ll need to have appropriate signage in place on the day if you’re closing your road. For example, ‘Road Closed’ or ‘Diversion’ signs. Your council may lend you these signs or suggest local places to hire them. Alternatively, you can hire them from places like Speedy or HSS – or you can even buy them from large hardware shops like Screwfix.

To find out more about road closures and signage, you can visit the government’s website or The Street Party Site.

4. Use the ‘potluck’ method to cater your street party

One of the best ways to cater a street party is to do what the Americans call a ‘potluck’. This is where each person or family attending the party brings with them their own dish and drink.

This concept is great because it means that the responsibility of buying and cooking all of the food, which can often be the most time-consuming and expensive part of any street party, doesn’t fall on one person (or one group of people).

Using the potluck system also means that you’ll get an interesting range of food and drink. For example, if you live in an ethically diverse community, you might end up with cuisine from all over the world to enjoy at your street party.

However, using the potluck method to cater your street party will certainly need a bit of planning. If everyone runs wild, then all of your guests might turn up with similar dishes.

So, if you want a range of different dishes, then you could consider making a sign-up sheet with different categories (for instance, ‘snack’, ‘main’, ‘dessert’, etc). This way, not only will you get an even spread of different dishes, but people can choose what kind of cooking they’re best at – which will mean the tastiest food possible at your party.

You could also include categories like ‘vegetarian’, ‘vegan’, and ‘gluten-free’, to make sure that everyone’s needs are catered to.

If you’re stuck on what food and drink to make for your street party, then there are plenty of ideas in our article; 10 Platinum Jubilee recipes. Or, why not visit the Fortnum and Mason website? They have a great selection of fresh food if you’re wanting to contribute something special to the spread but you aren’t in the mood for cooking.

Remember, finger food is usually most suitable because people may be eating standing up! And don’t forget to organise what you’ll be eating with. Amazon has a great selection of biodegradable plates and cutlery if you need something disposable that’s a little kinder to the planet.

Use the ‘potluck’ method to cater your street party

5. Dress your road up with some decorations

Decorating roads has been a part of street parties ever since the beginning – especially bunting, which can be hung from house to house or between lamposts. Bunting is a uniquely British party decoration and though it’s used on many occasions, it feels especially appropriate for celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee.

There’s lots of bunting out there, Amazon has a particularly wide selection. Though, if you’re a conscious consumer, then you might want to avoid plastic bunting and be looking for something a little better for the planet.

This red, white, and blue cotton bunting from Not on the High Street, for instance, is plastic-free and made of pure cotton. So not only is it a more eco-friendly option, but it’ll also last you a long time. You could even consider making your own bunting from repurposed fabric like old clothes and bedsheets, this article from Larsen Events will show you how.

Other popular decorations for street parties include balloonsstreamers, and flags, which can be hung on house fronts or used as tablecloths.

One way to encourage your neighbours to dress your street up for the party is by hosting a house decorating competition. If people are up for it, then you could collect a little money from everyone participating and whoever’s house is voted the best decorated can win the pot!

6. Organise some games and activities

Games and activities are a great way to bring people together, and they can act as a great icebreaker for neighbours that don’t know each other all that well.

The best games and activities are those that involve everyone. So, low-intensity sports like street cricket are always a great idea, plus things like sack and egg and spoon races.

For those who’re artistic, you could organise something a little more creative. Back in the days of Peace Teas, children and adults would paint mugs together, so why not give that a go as a throwback activity? Or, to make the most of your surroundings, you could get some chalk art going on the pavement, or even make a competition out of it.

If you or someone on your street knows a good act, then you could also organise some live music. As long as your bash is a private party for residents, and you haven’t advertised it in any way, then you shouldn’t need a license to play music, live or otherwise.

For more ideas for games and activities to organise for your street party, The Street Party Site has some great ideas, from tug of war to a wheelie bin decorating contest.

Organise some games and activities

7. Organise a dedicated clean-up team before the party starts

If you’ve got a few people on your street whose strong suit isn’t cooking, decorating, or party planning, then you could ask them to become part of the clean-up team.

Having a dedicated clean-up team organised before the party is a good idea because it’ll prevent you from being shorthanded when the party comes to a close.

Making sure to provide plenty of bins spread throughout the party will give you less to worry about when it comes time to clean up. Also, try to make sure these bins are clearly labelled (general waste, recycling, etc) as this will mean that you won’t have to sort it all after the fact.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’re already planning a street party or you’re just thinking about it, we hope that you’ve found these seven tips helpful. As well as celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, remember that a street party is a perfect way for you to strengthen friendships and forge new connections with your neighbours – making your area a nice place to live.

It’s worth remembering that there are lots of different ways to celebrate this upcoming Jubilee weekend. So, if you can’t have a street party, then you could always do something else.

To search for public events that you can attend across the country, visit the government’s website here.