The countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games is on, and the next stage of the build up has been announced.
The much anticipated games baton route has been confirmed, and will see the symbol of the games pass through over 170 cities and towns in England.
The baton event has been part of the games since 1958, and it will visit country around the globe before returning to England.
Here’s all you need to know about the baton route, including when it begins, where it will stop off, and when it will arrive in Birmingham ahead of the games.
When does the relay start?
The relay around England is set to begin on 2 June with a special five day tour of London. This is to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The baton will then resume an international tour, calling at commonwealth nations visiting the Falkland Islands, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, before touring home nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Where will the baton visit in England?
The baton tour will return to England on 4 July and will travel around the country over a 25 day period.
To name a few, the Baton begins its journey with a visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall on the 4 July, will delve into the depths of the Nottingham Castle caves on 10 July, will speed down a zip wire in the Lake District on 16 July.
- Monday 4 July (South West) - St Austell, Plymouth, Exeter, Portland & Weymouth, Poole, and Bournemouth
- Tuesday 5 July (South West) Devizes, Bath, Bristol, Easter Compton, Hereford, Gloucester, and Cheltenham
- Wednesday 6 July (South East) Stoke Mandeville, Maidenhead, Eton & Windsor, Aldershot, Winchester, Hambledon, Southampton, and Portsmouth
- Thursday 7 July (South East) – Guildford, Tonbridge, Canterbury, Folkestone, Deal, and Dover
- Friday 8 July (East of England) – Gravesend, Tilbury, Basildon, Southend-on-Sea, Maldon, Waltham Cross, Luton and Hemel Hempstead
- Saturday 9 July (East of England) - King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Bury St Edmunds, Hinxton, and Cambridge
- Sunday 10 July (East Midlands) - Northampton, Corby, Rutland, Leicester, Nottingham, Lincoln
- Monday 11 July (East Midlands) - Skegness, Boston, Grantham, Loughborough, Derby, Bakewell, Matlock, and Buxton
- Tuesday 12 July (Yorkshire & The Humber) - Sheffield, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Bradford, and Leeds
- Wednesday 13 July (Yorkshire & The Humber) – Hull, Beverley, Market Weighton, York, Malton, Scarborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, and Whitby
- Thursday 14 July (North East) - Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Durham, Seaham, and Sunderland
- Friday 15 July (North East) - South Shields, Whitley Bay, Blyth, Alnwick, Gateshead, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Saturday 16 July (North West) – Carlisle, Lake District, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn, Darwen, and Bolton
- Sunday 17 July (North West) – Salford, Manchester, Stockport, Northwich, Wigan, and Knowsley
Following a visit to the North West, the final countdown to the Opening Ceremony will see the Baton spend 11 days travelling through the host region of the West Midlands, visiting:
- Monday 18 July – Liverpool, Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, and Shrewsbury
- Tuesday 19 July – Ironbridge, Telford, Newport, Lilleshall, Stafford, Stone, Rudyard, and Leek
- Wednesday 20 July – Uttoxeter, Burton upon Trent, Lichfield, Burntwood, Chasewater, and Tamworth
- Thursday 21 July - Bodymoor Heath, Atherstone, Market Bosworth, Nuneaton, Bedworth, Rugby, and Coventry
- Friday 22 July – Kenilworth, Whitnash, Warwick, Gaydon, Stratford-upon-Avon, Broadway, Pershore, Upton-upon-Severn, Malvern, and Worcester
- Saturday 23 July – Redditch, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Bridgnorth, Codsall, Rugeley, Hednesford, Cannock, and Walsall
- Sunday 24 July – Wolverhampton, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Dudley, Brierley Hill
- Monday 25 July – Oldbury, Wednesbury, Tipton, Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis, Blackheath, Bearwood, Smethwick, and West Bromwich
- Tuesday 26 July - Castle Bromwich, Fordbridge, Chelmsley Wood, Marston Green, Hampton in Arden, Meriden, Berkswell, Balsall Common, Knowle, Dorridge, Cheswick Green, Hockley Heath, Dickens Heath, Shirley, and Solihull
When will the baton arrive in Birmingham?
The baton relay will arrive in Birmingham on Wednesday, 27 July. This is the day before the opening ceremony of the games.
A full tour of Birmingham is to take place on 27 and 28 July, with the route for Birmingham set to be announced in due course.
The baton will arrive at Aston Hall in Birmingham for the start of the opening ceremony on 28 July.
What is the Queen’s Baton Relay?
Spokespersons for the games have explained what they believe the relay is all about.
Commonwealth Games Federation President, Dame Louise Martin said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay symbolises hope, solidarity and collaboration across the Commonwealth at a time when it is needed most.
It continues to inspire people wherever it goes and creates huge excitement for Birmingham 2022 as it journeys towards the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on July 28.”
Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Nigel Huddleston, said: "The 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay is coming home. Travelling the length and breadth of England, the Baton will bring the excitement of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to every region of the country.
“The Relay marks the final countdown to the biggest sporting event to be held in the UK since London 2012, and I hope people come together and line their streets to celebrate this historic moment.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said:“The final leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay enables communities the length and breadth of England to experience the excitement around Birmingham 2022 before the Baton lands in Birmingham to take centre stage at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on July 28.”