The Queen's diamond jubilee this year is on course to be marked by Britain's biggest national celebration for decades, according to local government officials.

Councils across England and Wales have already received 3,500 applications for street parties over the official four days of celebration from June 2 to 5 to mark the queen's 60 years on the throne.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said when combined with other events planned for village greens, town squares and in parks and pubs, the revelries were set to outstrip those held last April for the wedding of the queen's grandson Prince William.

There were some 5,500 applications for street parties last year, but three months before the occasion only a handful had been submitted.

Councils told us back in January they were surprised by how many inquiries they were receiving from residents wanting to celebrate Diamond Jubilee weekend, said Flick Rea, chair of the LGA's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board.

This groundswell of enthusiasm is now turning into formal applications at a rate well beyond that of the royal wedding.

Residents are telling us they had such a great time at street parties last year that they want hold one again, and many of those who didn't get involved in the community celebrations don't want to miss out this time round.

Major celebrations over the June weekend include a concert at Buckingham Palace and a pageant involving a flotilla of 1,000 ships on the River Thames.

(Reporting by Michael Holden)