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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 December, 2003, 19:16 GMT
Get the most out of England's parade

By Alex Trickett
Our man walks England's World Cup parade route

On Monday, up to a million people will line the streets of central London as England's Rugby World Cup winners parade the Webb Ellis Trophy.

The weather forecast is not great, so here is our rain-or-shine guide to finding a good vantage point, getting a beer, and making the most of this historic day.


The England team will parade the Webb Ellis trophy in London on Monday
Where to watch:

The tour begins at Marble Arch at 1200 GMT, proceeding down Oxford Street and Regent Street before heading through Piccadilly Circus and on to Trafalgar Square.

The best views are to be had from office buildings along the way, but short of making new friends in high places, you will have to fight the crowds at ground level.

Head to Marble Arch early if you want some space, hit Oxford Street if you want to window-shop while you wait, and join the throng at the end of the route if you want to party.

In the event of rain, your options narrow.

Some large shops offer limited shelter, or you could cosy up to a lion statue in Trafalgar Square.

BBC COVERAGE 1130-1300 GMT
Watch it live on BBC One
Live video stream on this website
Listen to it in Radio Five Live
Failing that, pick up an umbrella from one of the many enterprising entrepreneurs plying their wares along the route.

If all of this sounds too painful - or if you actually have work to do - watch events as they unfold on this website.


How to get there:

The Metropolitan Police recommend against driving into town if at all possible.

THE TRANSPORT LOWDOWN
Tube: No station closures, but congestion likely at Marble Arch, Oxford & Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Bond Street and Charing Cross.
Bus: Severe delays expected and detours will be in place for all routes in affected area.
Car: Congestion charge applies and parking is very limited.
Train: Normal service applies. Hub stations are not affected.
There will be no extra parking available and the £5 central London congestion charge will apply.

Road closures begin in the Marble Arch area at 1000 and will not finish near Trafalgar Square until mid-afternoon.

Buses will be badly affected where they cross the parade route.

Some underground stations will face delays and overcrowding, although none will be closed.

As an alternative to tube stations directly on the route, consider nearby Tottenham Court Road, Lancaster Gate, Regent's Park, Covent Garden and Embankment.


Help! Christmas is coming:

Once the parade has passed by, you could not be in a better place for a spot of festive season shopping.

Monday's going to be fantastic - everyone in the team is a hero and they all deserve our support
Christianne Ward
Local office worker

You can buy everything from CDs and toys to crystal vases at world-famous stores such as Selfridges and Hamleys.

And don't think you'll be left wanting for World Cup goodies either.

Street vendors are shoving aside their David Beckham replica shirts and Santa Claus hats to make room for flags of St George and "Sweet Chariot" t-shirts.

Tower Records is opening early at 0830 to launch a DVD of England's rugby campaign down under.

And sports shop Lillywhites, which has ordered extra shipments of England kit, is considering draping a huge poster of Jonny Wilkinson over its Piccadilly façade.

According to operations manager Spencer Simon, there is even talk of an England squad mother posing in the store window to surprise her son!


England fans celebrate their team's World Cup victory
England fans have been known to sink a beer or two
Help! I need a drink:

If the crush gets too much, where better to seek refuge than in a traditional English pub?

Several are on England's route, including the Leicester Arms, the Salisbury and the Warwick.

But if you want to gloat at the vanquished, look no further than The Glassblower on Glasshouse Street near Piccadilly Circus.

Australian landlady Kerri Simpson understandably has mixed feelings about the celebrations, but says she will set aside the disappointment of her country's loss in the final.

"I plan to hang English flags outside the pub and will put on a fake accent," she said.


Help! I need a toilet:

Finding a WC can sometimes be tough in the centre of London.

But a spokesman for Westminster City Council insists there will be "ample toilets available along the route" and that the facilities in the area are award-winning.

Shops are generally unaccommodating and some fast food chains demand proof of purchase and even a small donation in order to use their toilets.

Pubs are often helpful [if you can get in] and, for the brave, there are the sometimes less-than-salubrious public facilities in Leicester Square.


Excited?

Aside from the odd traffic-wary cabbie, almost everyone is up for the parade.

Shop and restaurant owners can already hear their cash registers ringing.

Bewildered tourists are just happy to be involved, and local office workers are looking forward to a long lunch.

Christianne Ward, commercial producer at Capital Radio, told this website: "Monday's going to be fantastic. Jonny Wilkinson's a cutie and everyone in the team is a hero.

"They deserve our support."





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