We’re simply swooning over the upcoming nuptials for Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. We’ll be watching the beautiful bride walk down the aisle on May 19 like you and millions of other viewers. American travelers are going a step further and visiting Great Britain, too! According to a quick poll of travel agents at Travel Leaders Group – Vacation’s parent company – there’s been an uptick in clients who want to travel to Britain as a result of the Royal wedding. Big Ben, Stonehenge, Tate Modern, London Eye, Piccadilly Circus and Edinburgh Castle are a few popular attractions that have attracted millions of travelers every year. And now it's the destination wedding of the year!
If you miss catching a glimpse of the lovebirds this spring and still want a taste of the Royals, our expert travel agents offer their expertise on what you should see and do no matter what time of the year you plan to visit Britain.
Take a Royal Ride in a Horse-Drawn Carriage
After they say “I Do” at St. George’s Chapel, Prince Harry and Megan Markle will take a carriage ride down Castle Hill through Windsor to the end of the Long Walk, the 2.64-mile path that links Windsor Castle to Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park. And with help from a travel agent, tourists can follow the same romantic journey. Horse-drawn carriage tours are available to the public from Windsor Castle and private guided tours are provided along the Long Walk.
See All Things Great and Small at Windsor Castle
About 45 minutes from London by train, Windsor Castle has been home to British kings and queens for more than 1,000 years. The Queen Mum (Queen Elizabeth II) spends several weekends a year here. Take a tour around the castle’s 13 acres, including the State Apartments of Windsor Castle, furnished with some of the finest artwork from the royal collection. And children will marvel at Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House filled with intricate miniature furnishings including monogrammed linens, lifts and a garage of cars with engines that run!
Visit Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s London Residence
The Palace is open for tours from July 21 to Sept. 30. Visitors can see the lavishly furnished State Rooms that are used for ceremonial occasions and entertaining, including the Throne Room and Ballroom. One of Vacation’s travel specialists can arrange a tour of the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews, where the royal carriages are housed and opened to the public from February through November.
Get an Authentic Sense of Princess Diana’s Trendsetting Fashion
Kensington Palace – once home to Prince Harry’s mother Princess Di – is now the London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge… Prince William, Princess Kate and their children. We recommend visitors take a trip down memory lane and see the critically-acclaimed “Diana: Her Fashion Story.” This exhibition highlights Lady Di’s fashion sense and includes her pink Bellville Sassoon suit worn aboard the train for her honeymoon with Sir Charles; the iconic blue velvet gown worn at the White House when she danced with John Travolta; and the flak vest, denim shirt and Armani chinos she wore for her high-profile visit to the landmine fields of Angola in 1997. Fashionistas will get to see the Princess of Wales’s favorite designers, including some of their original fashion sketches. Other highlights here include the King’s Gallery and the “Victoria Revealed” exhibit that explores the British monarch’s reign for 63 years.
Get the Royal Treatment and Stay at Warwick Castle
Built in 1068 and located on the River Avon, this medieval fortress is about 90 minutes from London by train. Take a tour of the castle and climb to the top of its towers and ramparts, and don’t miss a stop to see the world’s most powerful catapult that stands 60-feet tall and weighs 22 tons. A Vacation travel agent can arrange a memorable stay here, with choices that include the luxurious Tower Suites, the Woodland Lodges or Mediaeval Glamping in the Knight’s Village. And if you’re around during the summer, don’t miss the War of the Roses live action show that includes a jousting tournament.
Explore a Famous Castle’s Ruins and Discover the Storybook Legend of Merlin
A visit to Southwest England is gorgeous, even from a train window, and according to our travel specialists, this trip is not complete without a stop at Tintagel Castle’s legendary ruins. The castle was built by Richard I, Earl of Cornwall, in the 13th century. It was a working castle and village at one time with sweeping views of the coast from just about every angle. Below the castle ruins, you can even see Merlin the Sorcerer’s cave where, according to an old fairy tale, he brought a baby to safety who would eventually grow up to become King Arthur. On the other side of the bay from the cave, there’s a jaw-dropping waterfall. #Instgramworthy
Get a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to See the Royals During an Annual Parade
Plan your trip to Britain to see the Trooping Colour parade scheduled for June 9, 2018. For almost 300 years, this parade has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign. Free of charge, stand along the Mall or the edge of St. James Park to see Queen Elizabeth’s personal troops in an impressive display of pageantry. Our travel experts say it’s an amazing opportunity for you to see the entire royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace!
Feast Like a King and Enjoy Traditional British Cuisine
You can’t leave Britain without tasting the country’s traditional food. Start your day with a Full English Breakfast: eggs, sausage, bacon, fried bread, mushrooms, baked beans, grilled tomatoes and black pudding (fried blood sausage). Head to Roast, located in London’s Borough Market, where your breakfast is made with the freshest ingredients straight from British farms. For your afternoon tea, consider the Thames Foyer at The Savoy, where guests can pick from more than 25 types of tea, served with tasty finger sandwiches, mini scones and an array of pastries and cakes crafted with fruit and chocolate. Enjoy the quintessential fish and chips at the century old Golden Hind (Marylebone) that continues to top the list for serving the best fish and chips. And for an old-world British dining experience, make a reservation at Rules, London’s oldest restaurant, where the menu leans toward wild game dishes. Save room for the golden syrup sponge pudding with custard… a traditional British dessert. A Vacation travel agent can help you arrange a foodie tour around London or Britain to find the best eats. You’ll thank us later!
Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan a Royal-inspired vacation in Great Britain? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent to customize an itinerary you’re gonna love.