In 2011 when Kate Middleton married Prince William, I actually moved my mattress into my living room to get a little shut eye, then wake up while it was still dark to watch the Royal wedding and all of the before and after coverage from the comfort of my “bed.” I was obsessed and child-free, so a sleepless night wasn’t so much of a big deal then as it is now. I can safely say that I will not be moving a mattress into my living room for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding (though he was always my favorite), and will probably just catch clips and images after the big event. Instead of missing sleep for the royal wedding this time around, I’d much rather travel in style to London, perhaps follow in some of the Royal family’s footsteps, and live in the lap of luxury for a few days.
If ever there was a time for an anglophile to visit London, 2018 is the year. With the birth of Prince Louis in April and the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this week, there’s a lot to celebrate. For those of us not invited to celebrate the nuptials on Saturday, we can still get the royal treatment with a luxury journey to London.
The Goring is London’s most quintessentially English hotel. Located in central London near Buckingham Palace, this family-owned luxury hotel has offered the highest level of service and personal attention for over a century, and has a long history with the Royal family. In 2013, her majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted the hotel a Royal Warrant, essentially stating the hotel to be the Royal family’s hotel of choice. It’s a distinction that previously had never been awarded to a hotel. For the full royal treatment, check into the Royal Suite. It has since received a refurbishment, but this is the suite Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stayed in the night before her marriage to Prince William.
After the Changing of the Guard, step inside Buckingham Palace to view the State Rooms, used extensively by HM, The Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonials, and official occasions. View the opulent White Drawing Room and the Throne Room where you’ll find a pair of throne chairs used in the coronation ceremony of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1953. More recently, the room was used as the setting for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding photos.
From central London, travel to Windsor Castle in style: in your own classic vintage car. Your private chauffeur drives you to the iconic castle in one of a stunning fleet of classic cars, including the Queen Mother’s favorite Jaguar DS420 Daimler limousine ‘Grand Princess’. Once you’re there, experience Windsor Castle like royalty, with your own private guide and historian. St. George’s Chapel is one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in England and is set to host the Royal wedding. Unlock the secrets of this historic national treasure, the longest-occupied palace in Europe and the Queen’s preferred weekend home.
Nearby, Frogmore House, another favorite retreat of the Royal Family, is set to host the evening reception for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Originally purchased by George III for his wife Queen Charlotte, the home has been in the family over 300 years and is rarely open to the public, but with Ker & Downey, you’ll be able to enjoy a private guided visit.
Another of the Queen’s favorite homes, Sandringham Estate has been the private home of four generations of British monarch. Visit the beloved country estate with a guide who will show you the main ground-floor rooms used by the Royal Family, and the gardens, opened to the public by King Edward VII in 1908.
At the Goring, order the Eggs Drumkilbo in the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. It was a favorite dish of HH Queen Mother and now has a permanent place on the menu.
You can’t travel to London and not partake in Afternoon Tea. The long-held tradition traces its origins back to 1840, when the Duchess of Bedford took tea to stop the mid-afternoon ‘sinking feeling.’ There are tons of places in London to enjoy a cup of tea; you can check out all of our favorite spots here.
Stop by Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly. Known as the Queen’s grocer, Fortnum’s has been supplying exquisite food and drink of all kinds for over three centuries. In 2012 The Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to the shop to formally open the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.
Westminster Abbey is due to open a new museum and gallery in the medieval Triforium in June. Located high above the abbey floor, the Triforium has been hidden from the public for over 700 years. The museum will display objects like King Henry V’s saddle, shield, and helm; Mary II’s Coronation Chair; and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s marriage license. From the museum’s windows you’ll have a stunning view across to Parliament Square and the Palace of Westminster. From the galleries, you’ll also have a panorama of the abbey, a vantage point previously only seen by the public during television broadcasts. – Haley Beham
You don’t have to attend the Royal wedding to have a royal experience in London. We can help. Contact your Ker & Downey travel designer to start planning your journey.