London GAP information
London GAP information
We hope you enjoyed doing your DofE and many congratulations on achieving your Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This page should answer any questions you may have about being invited to a Gold Award presentation at St James’s Palace.
There are currently around 8,000 Award holders on the waiting list to receive their Gold Award at a Presentation in London at St James’s Palace. We’ve had a record year of Gold Award achievers, but this might mean a bit of a wait until your presentation date at the Palace. The current estimated waiting time is around 6-12 months.
Once your Gold Award has been approved by your licensed organisation and your regional office, you will then be added to the waiting list to attend a presentation. Waiting times can vary depending on your region, but we try and invite everyone to their first Gold Award Presentation within 6-12 months of completing their Gold Award. You will be invited to two presentations, after which your certificate will be sent in the post.
Presentation dates and times
Presentations are generally held in the Spring and Autumn, with invitations being sent approximately 2-3 months before the presentation. St James’s Presentations are generally held during term-time and on a weekday. There are two presentations a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. South East, London and Central are generally invited in the morning, South West can be invited to both morning and afternoon presentations, and North, Wales and Northern Ireland are invited in the afternoon. Young people from National Operating Authorities (NOAs) will be invited either as part of a region, or in a room of NOAs such as Scouts or the ATC. We are unable to swap participants between presentation dates. If you cannot attend the first presentation you are invited to, you will go back on the waiting list and will be invite again.
Changing/updating your contact details
If any of your details change after you have submitted your Gold Award form, or after your Award has been approved on eDofE, please get in touch with your Regional/Country Office to update your details. After your award has been approved by your region you can send any updated details to [email protected] We strongly encourage you to provide your email address, so you can receive updates about your Gold Award Presentation. We do not accept university halls addresses, as invitations are often dispatched out of term time. Updating your contact details on eDofE will not update your details with the Gold Award presentation team.
Dates are confirmed approximately 2- 3 months before the presentation, and we send invitations as soon as we are able. We invite people based on their Region and their Licensed Organisation. Initial invitations are emailed so please ensure that you have provided us with an email address. If we do not hear from you, we then contact you via post.
Declining a presentation
If you cannot attend the first presentation that you are invited to, you will be placed back onto the waiting list for one further invitation to attend the next available presentation. Please note that this can be up to 6-12 months from your first invitation. If you cannot attend the second presentation date, your certificate will be sent in the post.
Once you’ve been invited
Please let us know as soon as possible, and at the latest by the reply date in your invitation letter, if you are able to accept the invitation. If you do not respond by the reply we cannot guarantee you a space at the presentations. Occasionally a presentation may become full before the reply date so it is important to respond as soon as possible. Please ensure that you have checked that all the details are correct on the reply form before sending it back. If you do not reply by the date on your invitation letter we will assume you cannot attend and we will send you your certificate by post. Replies received after the reply by date will be accepted ONLY if there is space available and otherwise you will be added to the waiting list .
If you have not received a confirmation email to your RSVP two working days AFTER the reply deadline, we may not have received your reply so please get in touch with us immediately. We advise that you wait to book expensive travel until you receive confirmation from us. Please add [email protected] to your safe sender list to ensure you get the confirmation email.
If you cannot attend please still ensure you complete the form stating whether you wish to attend a future presentation or whether your certificate should be posted to you. Presentations generally follow a Spring/Autumn pattern, subject to the availability of His Royal Highness. You will receive two invitations to attend a Gold Award Presentation. If this is your first invitation, we will invite you again to the next round of presentations. If this is your second and you are unable to attend, your certificate will be posted to you.
You will be presented with your official Gold Award Certificate at your presentation. Those participating through a Welsh Operating Authority will receive a bilingual Certificate. If your name as you want it to read on your Certificate is not correct on the reply form or invitation email that accompanies this leaflet, please correct it on your reply form to ensure we print your Certificate correctly. Your Certificate will also have your eDofE ID and GAP ID printed on it.
We invite as many Award recipients as possible to attend a presentation. As space is limited you are only able to bring one personal guest, who must be over the age of 16. Please check that your guests details are correct on the response form and make any changes when you RSVP. If you need to change your guest after accepting your invitation please contact us ASAP.
Please note that we are unable to accommodate requests for additional guests under any circumstances.
Invitations and Admittance Cards
Your invitations and admittance cards will be posted to you approximately 2-3 weeks before the presentation date. You will receive a formal white invitation and a coloured admittance card for both you and your guest. Once these have been received, if any of the details are incorrect/do not match your ID (first and last names must match, middle names are not required), for security reasons you must return the coloured admittance cards to the Gold Award team with a note of the change. When we have received the incorrect coloured admittance card, we will reissue a new one to you. The White invitations may be retained by you. If it is very close to the presentation day, admit cards will be left on the door for you to collect. We will let you know if this is the case. Please note that admittance cards are non-transferrable.
Security arrangements are strict but should not interfere with your enjoyment of the presentation. In order to gain entry to the Palace you will need to bring the following information for both yourself and your guest:
- Coloured admittance cards for entry into the Palace
- Two forms of identification – one photographic e.g. passport/driving licence and the other must confirm your address e.g. utility bill/bank statement.
If you or your guest do not have Photo ID, please take the time to get an approved Photo ID, such as a Citizen Card or a Validate card.
Please note that admittance cards are non-transferable.
Bags larger than a ladies’ handbag, or a gentleman’s briefcase should not be brought to the Palace. Handbags and briefcases may be subject to police searches. Any large bags or luggage should be left at your hotel or at a left luggage at a main line train station.
Please ensure that you inform the Gold Award Team if you or your guest have any accessibility requirements or are in a wheelchair, to ensure we have enough staff on hand to assist in the event of an emergency. This can be stated on your reply form.
There is a lift at St James’s Palace to enable guests requiring assistance to gain easy access to the State Apartments. DofE staff will be on hand to offer assistance if required howeverwe regret that we cannot provide wheelchairs on site.
Disabled guests can be dropped off and collected in the street (Marlborough Road) outside St James’s Palace. There is NO disabled parking at the Palace. Blue badge holders may be able to park locally, for more info visit
If you cannot stand in the queue, please make yourself known to the Police or DofE staff who will allow you to bypass the queue and wait inside until your entrance time. We would advise not to arrive at the Palace until our assigned entry time as we are unable to admit guests any earlier.
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Please dress smartly. No jeans or trainers please. Dress code is a suit or jacket and tie for gentlemen and suits, dresses or a smart alternative for ladies. Hats are optional. Scouts, ATC, ACF and other uniformed organisation are encouraged to wear their uniforms – For official military uniforms, The Royal Navy should wear No 1C Undress, The Army should wear No 2 Dress and Royal Air Force should wear No 1HD Dress, Gloves, leather and medals should not be worn. National dress is welcome.
There are no changing facilities in the Palace, so those wishing to change into a uniform should make alternative arrangements.
Gold Award Badges or Brooches
Your Gold Award badge or brooch will have been sent to your Licenced Organisations. If you have not yet received it, please contact them. Please remember to wear your badge on the day! If your guest also has their DofE Award, they may want to wear their badge.
Cameras are not allowed to be used and must be left in the cloakroom on entry or kept in your bag/pocket. Anyone found using a camera in the Palace may be asked to leave by the Police. Cameras may be used outside the gates of St James’s Palace.
Tempest Photography are the official Gold DofE Award photographers. A group photograph will be taken inside the Palace with the group you are in to receive your certificate (approximately 25/30 people). Family/individual photographs are taken at a nearby studio location. More information can be found at www.tempest-DofE.co.uk where you will be able to browse the full range of photography packages available and purchase in advance if you wish. Your Group Photograph and any studio photos will be available online after the presentation to view and order.
You may notice that the official photographers taking some additional photos of the Gold Award presentation. At present these photos are not available for distribution or sale. Find out about the range of photography services available at GAPs.
Mobile phones must be switched off and left in your bag/pocket. Anyone found using a mobile phone in the Palace will be asked to leave by the Police.
Press release and the media
There is a sample press release available that we would encourage you to use to contact your local press to shout about your achievements and let them know you’re attending a Gold Award presentation.
A Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a huge achievement. Let your local press know what you’ve done and that you’re coming to the Palace – many really like this story. A sample press release template is available here.
When you contact your local press do not forget to include some details about what you did to achieve your Award. Local press are always looking for good news stories and this is a great opportunity for you to celebrate your achievements and help to raise the profile of the DofE. Feel free to print and make additional copies and send them to as many newspapers or radio stations as you wish.
Questions regarding the media can be directed to the External Communications Officer on 01753 727472 or [email protected]
We regret that no press photographs can be taken inside the Palace as photography is strictly forbidden.
We’ve partnered with SuperBreak to offer a 10% discount on hotel accommodation with optional rail travel, dining and entertainment.
SuperBreak are the UK’s number one operator for short breaks and are delighted to support Gold Award holders and your families in celebrating your achievement.
You can choose from over 440 hotels in London ranging from 2 star economy to 5 star luxury, including rail packages (standard or first class) from your local mainline station. Airport hotels with car parking are also available.
While in London enjoy some amazing value, two-night offers with dinner and take in a top show in the West End. There are also a whole range of concerts, sporting events and venues to visit which SuperBreak can help with booking. You don’t need to wait for your Gold Award Presentation to use this offer as it’s available to any DofE participant. Go to http://www.dofeshopping.org/your-discounts/superbreak/ for more information
On day information
When you arrive at the Palace you will be directed to a queue within the courtyard of the Palace. This area is not covered so come prepared for the weather! Please have your admittance cards and ID ready to be checked by the Police as you enter the Palace. From there you will be directed by staff to your Presentation room. Once inside the Palace you will need to keep your admittance card with you until you are seated.
What to do if you are running late
If you are not going to arrive at St James’s Palace in time for the last entry (as stated on your admit card) please call us on 07730 651376.
During the Presentation
Once all guests have arrived and are seated, the presentations will begin. A DofE member of staff will act as the host for your room and will tell you more information about how the presentation will run in your room and any protocol required for the day. During the presentation HRH will enter each room and speak to each group of Young People receiving their award. HRH will not be able to present each certificate personally due to the number of Gold Award holders receiving their award on the day. However a specially invited guest will be present in each presentation room to present the certificates on behalf of HRH.
An approximate schedule for the Morning and Afternoon presentations is detailed below for your information:
From 10.15 – Guests start to arrive at the Palace (staggered entry).
10.40 to 11.10 – Guests to be in place for the ceremony to begin.
12.30-13.00 – Ceremony ends, guests depart.
From 14.45 – Guests start to arrive at the Palace (staggered entry).
15.15 to 15.45 – Guests to be in place for the ceremony to begin.
17.30 – Ceremony ends, guests depart.
All timings are approximate and specific entry times will be printed on the admittance cards that you and your guests will receive 2-3 weeks before the ceremony. Please note you will not be able to leave your presentation early.
Once the presentation is finished and upon leaving the Palace please ensure you collect any personal coats or bags left in the cloakroom. You will not be permitted to look around the Palace once the presentation has come to a close.
St James’s Palace is in The Mall/Pall Mall area of London. The entrance is on Marlborough Road. Please allow sufficient time to cope with central London rush-hour traffic.There is NO parking, including no disabled parking, at the Palace.
The nearest car parks are Arlington House, off Arlington Street, SW1A 1RL or Spring Gardens, SW1A 2TS, visit en.parkopedia.co.uk for more information.
Disabled guests can be dropped off and collected in the street (Marlborough Road) outside St James’s Palace. Blue badge holders may be able to park locally, for more info please visit www.westminster.gov.uk/disabled-parking.
Please remember the Congestion Charge when driving into London. For more information, please visit: www.cclondon.com
If you are travelling by tube, the nearest underground stations are Green Park (Jubilee/Victoria/Piccadilly lines) and St James’s Park (Circle/District lines).
Further information about London Transport can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk
When you arrive at the Palace you will be directed to a queue within the courtyard of the Palace. This area is not covered so come prepared for the weather! Please have your admittance cards and ID ready to be checked by the Police as you enter the Palace. From there you will be directed by staff to your Presentation room. Once inside the Palace you will need to keep your admittance card until you are seated in your presentation room. Once inside the Palace you will need to keep your admittance card with you until you are seated.
What to do if you are running late
If you are not going to arrive at St James’s Palace in time for the last entry (as stated on your admit card) please call us on 07730 651376.
Due to the large number of people attending, regrettably it is not possible for His Royal Highness to present the Gold Awards personally. His Royal Highness will spend as much time as possible talking informally with groups and guests and you will receive your certificate from a specially invited dignitary.
There is a cloakroom in the Palace, however this is for coats, ladies handbags and gentlemen’s briefcases only. You cannot bring large items of luggage of any description into the Palace and entry could be refused to anyone in possession of any such articles. The police will conduct a bag search on entry. . You don’t have to leave your coat or bag in the cloakroom, however for security, if you keep it with you, keep hold of it at all times.
If you have large items of luggage these can be left at a left luggage facility at a main line train station.
There are a limited number of toilet facilities within the Palace for guest use, which includes disabled toilets. Please be aware that there can often be long queues for the ladies before the presentations.
Due to the large numbers of guests, no refreshments are served in the Palace. Please feel free to bring a bottle of water with you. The State Apartments can get rather warm, especially if it is a hot day.
The Palace Nurse and St John Ambulance will be present.
If you are unable to attend please contact us as soon as possible .If the invitations and admittance cards have been sent out you will need to send these back with a letter stating whether you wish to attend a future presentation, or receive your certificate by post. You will only receive two invitations to attend a presentation, therefore if you cancel on your second invitation your certificate will be sent in the post.
If your guest is ill on the day, it’s too late to change the guest, so you can either come alone to the Palace, or defer to a different presentation (depending on when we are given dates by the Palace). If you want to defer, please send the tickets back with a letter telling us that. Please remember that if this was your second invitation and you cannot attend, your certificate will be sent in the post.
If it’s really close to the presentation or on the day and you are not going to attend please email us on [email protected] or on the day call 07730 651376.
If you are not going to arrive in time for your presentation – the time you need to be in position on your entry card – please call us on 07730 651376.
St James’s Palace, London, SW1A 1BJ
St James’s Palace is in the centre of London. Green Park tube station is a ten minute walk away and St James’s Park is a ten to fifteen minute walk away.
There are many restaurants and coffee shops, shops, museums, attractions and parks nearby.
For more information about London please go to www.visitlondon.com
Cancellations of Gold Award Presentations
As Gold Award Presentations are held at St James’s Palace, or other Royal Palaces, by invitation of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh or HRH the Earl of Wessex, the presentations are subject to the availability of HRH and the Royal Palace. In the unlikely event of it being necessary to cancel the event due to unavoidable circumstances; The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award cannot be held liable for any costs incurred to Award holders and their guest. Depending on your travel arrangements, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance that covers UK travel and event cancellation. Please thoroughly check that your policy would cover your travel expenses and/or hotel costs.
Should a Gold Award Presentation be cancelled, the GAP team will inform all attendees by email/text in the first instance followed up with further information in the post regarding rescheduling. Full information will also be available on the DofE website. Please ensure that the Gold Award team have current email address and mobile numbers on your reply forms, and that you have added @DofE.org to your safe list of senders to ensure you receive our emails. We would also make such announcements via Facebook and Twitter, so please follow us to be sure you receive the information.