Royal fever swept the world once again when Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank on Friday, 12 October. And the icing on the cake (as if we needed more), was when couple of the moment, Prince Harry and Meghan, announced that they’re expecting their first child just three days after the wedding. Yes indeed, royal fever is at an all-time high at the moment so if you’re visiting the UK these holidays why not channel your inner princess, or duchess, with a variety of regal experiences? Here are 5 Royal Experiences to Try When Visiting the UK.
The wedding chapel at Windsor Castle
Princess Eugenie and her husband were married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which is also where Harry and Meghan tied the knot in a fairytale, star-studded celebration. Who was to know just five months later they’d announce their happy baby news? Dating back to the 11th century, Windsor Castle is a working royal residence, and the Queen spends most of her private weekends here.
Visitors to Windsor Castle can walk through the opulent State Apartments, used for official state occasions, and the semi-state rooms, which the Queen uses for formal entertaining. See the Changing of the Guard at 11:00 on set weekdays.
Walking through the doors of St. George’s Chapel, the most famous royal building (of the moment, at least), be sure to look up and take in the building’s intricately detailed stone ceiling. Note: The cathedral is open year-round but as it is a working palace, sometimes certain sections of the castle will be closed to visitors without much notice.
Indulge in a cream tea
Indulge in the quintessential English experience of a traditional cream tea (a light afternoon meal, with tea, scones, clotted cream and jam). Most hotels in Britain offer an afternoon tea service but, for a truly regal experience, enjoy it on royal grounds.
“I love the afternoon tea at the Orangery in the grounds of Kensington Palace,” says Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation in South Africa, which operates the guided holiday brand Trafalgar. “Our London itineraries include a cream tea at Kensington Palace, consisting of cucumber sandwiches, scones and cream, cake and, of course, a selection of teas.”
Afterwards, Trafalgar guests can explore Kensington Palace, once the home of Diana, Princess of Wales and the private apartments of Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan, and their future child.
Take a selfie at Buckingham Palace
The most iconic home of the British monarchy, taking a selfie in front of Buckingham Palace’s famous gates is a must do-experience on any royal tour.
The official London residence of British kings and queens since 1837, Buckingham Palace is a familiar building in the Netflix drama The Crown. The many sumptuous rooms are also the backdrop for the Royal family’s official photos.
Highlights include the throne room, ballroom and grand staircase, the garden (the setting for the Queen’s annual July garden parties) and the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Count castles in Scotland
There are more than 2,000 recognised castles throughout Scotland’s rich history. Driving through the dramatic landscapes and spotting castles and ancient ruins in the land of lochs and legends is more than a wee bit fun.
Stirling Castle was once the home of Scottish kings and queens, including Mary, Queen of Scots. There is also Edinburgh Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh. Don’t miss a visit to St. Andrews, where the golfing greats practise their swing and St. Andrews College, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met.
If you are a fan of the series Outlander, Trafalgar’s Highland Trail itinerary follows the journey of the characters with visits to notable sites.
Fashion made for royalty
One of the many reasons why little girls want to be princesses when they grow up: the clothes. Open daily until 17 February 2019, visitors can view the critically acclaimed exhibition of the late Princess Diana’s most famous outfits at the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibit at Kensington Palace.
From 14 June 2019 until 6 October 2019, the wedding outfits of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress was created by the British designer Clare Waight Keller, Artistic Director at Givenchy.
Harry and Meghan’s bundle of joy is due in spring 2019 – bets are for April. With so much world interest in the lives of the British monarchy, there has never been a more interesting or exciting time to enjoy your own royal experience in the UK.
If there is any worry you may need the crown jewels to afford to travel to the UK, don’t despair. “Trafalgar’s Rand price guarantee and early payment discount allows South African travellers to book their 2019 holiday now, locking in the 2018 price even if the rand fluctuates,” says Teresa Richardson.