The main Diamond Jubilee celebrations are just around the corner, as Britain prepares for four-day long festivities from 2-5 June to mark the impressive 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Whether you’re coming to Britain for the Jubilee or later on in the year, you can get a taste of royal life all over Britain any time.
Drink (and eat!) like a Royal
You can’t visit Britain and ignore one of its most famous – and pleasant – rituals. Afternoon tea is the epitome of British high society, and there are countless places to enjoy a scone with jam, cucumber sandwich and pot of English Breakfast all over the country.
The Langham, London – ‘birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition’ – has collaborated with British luxury goods brand Asprey in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to create an ‘Asprey Jubilee Tea’. Award-winning Head Pastry Chef Cherish Finden has created a selection of irresistible treats, inspired by Royal Warrant holder Asprey’s exquisite jewellery collection, including a Pina Colada macaroon with Malibu. The tea is £49 per person, available until October 2012. See www.palm-court.co.uk andwww.asprey.com. The Berkeley’s fashion-inspired afternoon tea Prêt-à-Portea showcases the season’s fashions in pastries and biscuits, and to mark The Queen’s 60th anniversary on the throne, from 29 May to 9 June the hotel’s special afternoon tea will include biscuits, fancy cakes and choux buns made to resemble the most memorable hats worn by the Royal Family. The Ritz London offers the ultimate high tea experience anytime, with Champagne, pastries, scones and finger sandwiches served in their spectacular Palm court, with a limited edition Diamond Jubilee commemorative dish offered as a gift during the celebratory period.
Whisky fans should soak up the Royal Whisky Tour at Royal Lochnagar Distillery, situated on the edge of the Queen’s Balmoral Estate. Begin the visit with coffee and shortbread before an extensive visit of the distillery is rounded off with a tasting of Royal Lochnagar’s very own whiskies from its collection.
And if you want to go all out, head to The Goring, the hotel hired out by the Middleton family at last year’s Royal Wedding. Through May and June they are offering a Diamond jubilee cocktail, in a Swarovski crystalline glass: the 1952. A gin martini, with 2.5 measures of Hendricks Gin, mixed with Noilly Prat, shaken over ice with a real silver leaf – it’s a potent combination, with an edge of royal glamour. At £120 each, it’s not an everyday beverage, but you get to take the glass away with you to toast Her Majesty with at home!
Dine like a Royal
No royal celebration would be complete without the commemorative souvenirs that remain long after the bunting has been taken down. Souvenirs have always been a traditional element of Royal celebrations, and Britain’s craft companies have been working long to create the perfect pieces to capture the moment in time. The official range of Diamond Jubilee commemorative tableware was commissioned by the Royal Collection, and features a Royal Coat of Arms specially painted for the occasion. Wedgwood is the name most often associated with British designed fine china, and as you’d expect, the company released special editions for the Diamond Jubilee, ranging from mugs to a £5000 Satyr Vase. The Wedgwood Visitor Centre in Staffordshire offers factory tours and the chance to have a go at making your own creations, with Diamond Jubilee celebrations from 2-8 June. Funky designer Emma Bridgewater, also offer great factory tours, and the chance to see just how ‘made in England’ the quirky pottery is. Her Diamond Jubilee range will appeal to those with a sense of humour – the ’60 years a Queen’ tea towels and Union Jack mugs have flown off the shelves.
Sleep like a royal
There are a number of hotels offering great package deals during the Diamond Jubilee, as well as plenty of places all over Britain that offer an experience fit for a Queen/King. Package deals listed are available as of 4th May 2012.
Modern Hotels in Jersey will be celebrating the Jubilee with a cavalcade of classic and vintage cars, a concert – consisting of military bands, orchestral and choral music – horse racing at the Jersey Race Club and the lighting of the Jubilee beacon, launched with a 21-gun salute. The festivities end with a spectacular firework display from Elizabeth Castle. Three-night Diamond Jubilee breaks, starting on 2 June, cost £219 per person. This includes return Fastcat crossing from Poole, transfers and accommodation with breakfast at the three-star Mayfair Hotel in St Helier.
Gleneagles, a golfers’ paradise set within 850 acres of Perthshire countryside, is hosting a week of events over the Jubilee from Sunday 3 to Sunday 10 June, with ‘truly Scottish’ activities to make the most of the Scottish scenery so greatly loved by Her Majesty, from the classic country sports of shooting, fishing, riding, falconry and gundog training to the extensive leisure pursuits on offer in The Club. There are various package deals available.
Luton Hoo, in Bedfordshire, where The Queen and Prince Phillip spent part of their honeymoon and returned in later years to celebrate their wedding anniversary, are offering a Jubilee weekend package including dinners, a lunches, a champagne reception and the lighting of their Royal Beacon on 4th June for £410 per person for four nights.
The Draycott Hotel in Chelsea is offering a stay in a beautifully appointed bedroom or suite for two nights at London’s favourite privately owned Town House. During your stay you can visit Kensington Palace and savour the delights of an exclusive Royal Afternoon Tea. Including a Full English Breakfast and Two Day Oyster pass for travelling around London. Prices from £690 excluding VAT. Package valid from 1st June 2012 – 11th June 2012.
Horses, Hats and High Society with Red Carnation Hotels offers the chance to experience the social life of the Royals, taking in the races – either Epsom Derby (where the Queen will kick off her Jubilee celebration weekend), Hurlingham Park or Royal Ascot – having a hat consultation with Milliner in residence Louis Mariette, a Bentley transfer, champagne, cocktails, afternoon tea and more. The package is valid between 2nd -23rd June, and prices range from £927 to £1148.
The Ritz is offering a ‘Jubilee Jubilation’ package to guests arriving on Sunday 3 June priced £780 excluding VAT, with 3 nights’ sumptuous accommodation, a jubilee inspired gift, afternoon tea, brunch, complimentary diamond jewellery cleaning and more! For those who want to be right in the centre of the action – the Ritz is located within walking distance of Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington is offering a package on 2nd June including Arena tickets to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra and Russell Watson perform stirring British favourites, with rooms plus concert for two starting at £315. They also have an Afternoon Tea Treat, package, with a night for two plus sweet treats like Elizabethan Trifle and English Rose Cheesecake from £269 including VAT.
For more active visitors to Britain, the 3 day Luxury Royalty Diamond Jubilee Tour run by Capital Sport takes you on two wheels through royal highlights Hampton Court, Richmond, Kew and the River Thames, with quality hybrid bikes and accommodation included, from £550 per person and departing three times a week.
Not coming for the Jubilee? Feel like a royal anytime, all over Britain:
Only a few days ago, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their first wedding anniversary at 12th century hotel, The Crown Inn in Westleton, Suffolk (England), a rustic and genuine English country pub complete with crackling log fires and real ales. They stayed in the Swan Room, one of the inn’s best, which features a stylish roll-top bath, big enough for two, and a contemporary four-poster bed. Rates £90-215 (depending on season and room).
You can stay in ‘the loveliest castle in the world’ – Leeds Castle, which has bed and breakfast and holiday cottages on offer. The castle is hosting a special 1950s weekend during the main Jubilee weekend, celebrating ‘all things British’ and screening the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant live.
Thornbury Castle (near Bristol) has a colourful racy royal past, and states ‘Kings and queens have stayed here. Courtiers have flirted with ladies-in-waiting in the ancient yew-hedged gardens. Serving girls have chattered in the stone-flagged courtyard. Today, Thornbury Castle still resonates with history and is the only Tudor castle in England to be open as a hotel.’ Enjoy a regal night’s sleep in the Duke’s Bedchamber where King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn slept or favour the Gloucester Bedchamber and wake up to a view of the oldest Tudor gardens in England – the Privy Garden and Goodly Garden.
Llwynywermod is used by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall when they are in Wales on their regular visits and annual summer tour. When they are not there, visitors can stay at the 2 barn conversions adjoining the main farmhouse (North & West Range). It’s located near Myddfai, Llandovery in Carmarthenshire and set within 192 acres of farmland with views over historic parkland. Llwynywermod was renovated using the expertise of skilled Welsh craftspeople and materials were sourced from Wales wherever possible. The interior has also been furnished with local Welsh textiles, blankets, quilts, rugs and pottery.
One of the nicest places to stay in Wales, National Trust property Bodysgallen Hall & Spa is offering a 1952 Celebration break on every Sunday and Monday in June, with the first night priced at £179 per room, to include bed and continental breakfast, and the second night at just £19.52. It is also ‘four nights for the price of three’ over Jubilee weekend (2-5 June).
The Plas Maenan Country House Hotel – ‘the mansion on the rock’ – is situated high above the beautiful Conwy Valley in Wales, and offers 5 star accommodation with pretty mountain and river views. It is owned by James Burt, a former member of the Queen’s staff at Buckingham Palace
If you haven’t had an invitation to stay at Balmoral Castle, why not try the luxury of The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh – so you can still send a postcard to your friends, from Balmoral!