UK royal wedding: 9 ways to celebrate in style


(CNN) — If you haven’t received an invitation by now, the chances are there won’t be a seat for you at St. George’s Chapel at Britain’s Windsor Castle on May 19.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is one of 2018’s most highly anticipated international events, but fortunately opportunities abound in the UK — and destinations further afield — to get into the royal wedding mood.
From getting up close-ish on their brief processional route to having your own royal getaway, here are some travel options to allow you to say you were there — at least in spirit.

1. Palace and castle hopping around the UK

St George's Chapel - Windsor Castle

Stafford London’s package offers a visit to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the couple will marry.

Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Stafford London couldn’t be more appropriately located, just steps from St. James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace.

In business since 1912, the elegant spot is a hidden gem with historical royal connections of its own and is still regularly frequented by members of the royal family.

Their five-night package includes an exclusive dinner at Kensington Palace, home to the young royals, a private visit to a stately home hosted by an Earl and dinner at the Tower of London.

On the big day, in conjunction with In Any Event tours, they can even secure a vantage point in Windsor from where you can see guests enter St. George’s Chapel.

You’ll also catch some of the wedding procession as the newlyweds travel through the town in a carriage, greeting the expected tens of thousands of well-wishers.

Handily you’ll be served canapés, cocktails and a three-course lunch while viewing the ceremony.

What’s more, they can even arrange an exclusive visit to the chapel, albeit after the wedding.

It doesn’t get much closer than that.

The Stafford London, 16-18 St. James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NJ; +44 207 493 0111. The five-night package is $15,490 per person

2. A regal weekend retreat in the Cotswolds

Ellenborough Park

Ellenborough Park — a 15th century manor house located on protected National Trust grounds.

Ellenborough Park

A retreat fit for aspiring royalty is promised at the 90-acre Ellenborough Park in England’s picturesque Cotswolds.

Pseudo-sovereigns arrive at the 15th century manor house in an elegant Rolls-Royce before checking into the Arkle Suite, which has a four-poster bed.

The two-night package includes experiences such as clay pigeon shooting, falconry and a trip to Sudeley, England’s only private castle where a queen is buried in the grounds, namely Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s last wife.

On a slightly more upbeat note, you can also wander through the countryside to nearby Highgrove Gardens. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the home of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

Prices for the royal package start from $2,778 per person, which includes return transfers from Heathrow Airport in a Rolls-Royce.

3. ‘Live like a Royal’ in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is home to the Honours of Scotland, Britain’s oldest crown jewels.

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

It may be around 650 kilometers from Windsor, but Edinburgh has no shortage of royal splendor of its own, and an offer from the city’s Dunstane Houses allows you to take in all the highlights with their “Live like a Royal” jaunt.

Things kick off with a royal Champagne afternoon tea, full of the Queen’s favorites, which seemingly include egg mayo and cucumber finger sandwiches.

A full day tour then takes in royal sights in and around Edinburgh, accompanied by the hotel’s resident royal guide.

Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, which is home to a number of the crown jewels known as “The honors of Scotland” and even the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen’s former floating royal residence, are all on the agenda.

Finish off with a whisky tasting and toast to Prince Harry and Markle at the Ba’ Bar.

The “Live like a Royal” package starts from $656 per night, including the aforementioned activities on a bed & breakfast basis.

4. A royal romance experience in Palm Beach, Florida

The Brazilian Court Hotel - meal

The Brazilian Court Hotel’s package includes a dinner in honor of the dish Harry cooked the night he proposed.

The Brazilian Court Hotel

The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida is a long way away from Windsor, but that hasn’t stopped the luxury resort from getting in on the act.

Its royal romance experience, “Royal Romance Suits You,” is inspired by the couple and some of their favorite things.

You get more than a few extras for your four-night package price of $24,000 per room including accommodation in the Brando suite, an introductory helicopter lesson, and a bottle of Tignanello, a renowned Chianti said to be loved Markle.

Then there’s a half day coastal excursion with Royal Yacht Charters, a bespoke necklace modeled after Markle’s ring and dinner with wine pairings at Café Boulud, including rotisserie chicken — in honor of the meal Prince Harry cooked for Markle the night he proposed.

Five percent of the package price is donated to a local humane society or one of the royal couple’s favorite philanthropic organizations, such as World Vision.

5. A majestic shopping and sightseeing package in the UK

Hotel Cafe Royal

Hotel Café Royal is offering royal retail therapy.

Hotel Café Royal

London’s aptly-named Hotel Café Royal is laying on an offer for those keen on some royal retail therapy.

The “Empire Royal Wedding package” includes an overnight stay in their largest one-bedroom suite, a helicopter tour of London and VIP guided visits by limousine to Windsor Castle’s Chapel and State Apartments, where Prince Harry and Markle are expected to stay around the time of their big day.

You also get tickets to the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, where the couple made their first public appearance.

Back in London, VIP shopping experiences are on the cards, focusing on retailers which hold prestigious royal warrants.

They include Garrards for jewelry, cheese makers Paxton and Whitfield, perfumer Floris and chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker.

Then to help recover from all that retail therapy, there’s afternoon tea in the hotel’s Oscar Wilde Lounge.

The “Empire Royal Wedding” package is priced from $9,027 per night.

6. Retracing the steps of royal couple’s past and present in London

St Paul's Cathedral

City sightseeing card the London Pass will get you into many royal attractions such as St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

There are also options for those on decidedly slimmer budgets.

City sightseeing card the London Pass allows you entry to more than 80 tourist attractions, including many with royal connections.

That includes Kensington Palace, home to Nottingham Cottage where Prince Harry and Markle will start their married life.

You can even pose for your own selfies or snaps in the sunken garden where they made their first public appearance after getting engaged.

Kensington Palace is also the current home of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and their children, as well as the former home of Prince Charles and Princess Diana following their marriage in 1981.

Pass holders can also walk down the aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral, following in the footsteps of Charles and Diana, while Westminster Abbey has been the site of coronations for the British royal family since the 11th century.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site was also where the then Princess Elizabeth married the newly-created Duke of Edinburgh, on November 20, 1947.

A one-day London Pass costs around $95 per adult and $62 per child (public transport costs are included in the price).

7. An imperial wedding celebration at Chewton Glen, England

Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Luxury country house hotel Chewton Glen is positioned in the heart of the New Forest in Hampshire.

Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Located on the fringe of the New Forest National Park in Southern England, Chewton Glen, a five-star luxury country house hotel, is offering a weekend stay with your own butler, spa treatments and an English garden party as you watch the day’s festivities.

You’ll get the red carpet treatment with champagne, canapés and lunch as you watch Prince Harry and Markle say “I do.” (Actually, in the UK, they’re more likely to say “I will.”)

In true English fashion — at least if you believe the movies — you can then enjoy a spot of croquet on the impeccable lawns.

Dinner is a lavish seven-course feast with plenty more chances to toast the happy couple.

The weekend break is $1,470 per person for two nights based on two sharing.

8. ‘Own a Palace for a Day’ in the Sintra Mountains, Portugal

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais — part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais

If you really want to go all out on May 19, few options are as extravagant as owning your own palace — for the day.

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, in western Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, has 30 exquisitely decorated bedrooms, allowing you to make yourself very popular with your friends.

You get the outdoor swimming pool with sea views all to yourself, extravagant ballrooms with paintings and tapestries that you can turn into viewing locations, while they even throw in breakfast.

Talking of dining, the restaurant has an outside terrace overlooking the gardens and mazes with the scent of roses in the air.

Destinations don’t get much more romantic — and chances are the weather will be warmer than Windsor.

The “Own a Palace for a Day” programme is available from £25,200 ($35,240) a day.

9. Drink like a royal at The Drake Hotel in Chicago

The Drake Chicago - Palm Court

The Drake, a Hilton Hotel will be showing royal-themed movies in the Palm Court tea room.

The Drake

Finally to Chicago, where The Drake, a Hilton Hotel is offering a number of ways to mark the nuptials.

In the weeks running up to the wedding they’ll be showing a number of royal-themed movies, including “The Queen” and “Victoria and Abdul” in the Palm Court tea room as par of a film and fondue experience.

Their special royal cocktail menu will allow you to booze like a royal, with a selection including Dubonnet and gin, the Queen’s drink of choice, and a pint of an English bitter called Boddingtons that Prince Philip is seemingly partial to.

A special royal afternoon tea is also on offer in May, while the hotel’s Grand Ballroom hosts a royal luncheon on the big day — albeit with the wedding pre-recorded, given the time difference.

Prince Harry’s mother Diana visited The Drake back in 1996 and the 2018 menu will feature some of the dishes she was served.

Ten percent of all royal meals and beverages will go to charities that Prince Harry supports including Help for Heroes and Walking with the Wounded.

The Royal Luncheon on May 19 is $100 per person for VIP priority seating, and $80 for general assigned seating.



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