Inspired by mingling with costumed Royals from the past at Hampton Court’s Festive Fayre, Lita Doolan discovers new ways to be upwardly mobile this holiday by following the travel trends of the Royals.
The 18th century stone-built, Hare and Hounds hotel, is conveniently located, close to Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate in Tetbury. Just a few miles away is Gatcombe Park, Princess Anne’s residence, where equestrian events are open to the public at Minchinhampton. Retire with a Kir Royale Christmas tea at nearby Highgrove for £19.95; bookings are taken at highgrovegardens.com.
Be lord or lady of the land – for the weekend at least – and rent a cottage close to Prince Charles’ beach property, Tamarisk House. Cottages to kick back in on the Scilly Isles are for hire from the Duchy. Alternatively, Queen Victoria's former home, Pavilion House, offers private access to Queen Victoria’s beach after 6pm and can be booked from English Heritage.
Windsor Castle is a must for aspirational castle geeks. Built in the 11th century with 5,000 acres of Royal park to the south; this is where the queen has been spotted riding on horseback. Directly across the street is The Harte & Garter, a historical inn built in the 14th century. The Royal Adelaide Hotel, built for Queen Adelaide, looks out across the long walk to where Harry & Meghan live. Admittedly, these rooms with top-notch views come with a premium price tag.
Follow in the footsteps of the Royals for less, inside Heath Farm holiday cottages in Swerford, Chipping Norton. This Cotswold village is where Meghan Markle was spotted inside a Soho Farmhouse. The single track leading in and out of this Oxfordshire hidden gem, means everyone experiences the new trend of under-stimulation.
Join the local community of Llandovery, where Prince Charles is patron of the local rugby club. The Prince stays in Llwynywermod, his 18th century Royal Residence in Myddfai, during his Summer tour of Wales. Experience the same views of the surrounding Brecon Beacons in one of the many holiday homes available nearby such as Llangoedmor House or Rhyblid Fach; both of which are in the village of Myddfai and are available on booking.com.
Thankfully it doesn’t cost a king’s ransom to wake up to regal landscapes. Within walking distance from the queen’s official residence in Scotland, are rooms rented out by Edinburgh university at their Pollock Hall property, costing from £40 a night. The queen spends one week in residence every summer at the nearby Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Further north and tucked inside the Cairngorms National Park, is Balmoral Castle, a working estate and the Queen’s Summer retreat. Seen many times on TV, the Sunday Service at nearby Crathie Church is at 11.30am and all are welcome. The queen has her own pew in the church, covered in purple cloth. Find conveniently located accommodation at the Moorfield House Hotel in the heart of the Cairngorms at nearby Braemar and overlooks the Braemar highland games gathering arena, just yards from the Royal Pavilion.
Whilst it’s not possible to guarantee which Royal is in residence when holidaying at a palatial location, famous walks spotting rare species and first-rate tranquillity are assured. The Queen’s residence in Northern Ireland is Hillsborough Castle, an 18th Century Georgian Country House close to Lisburn Golf Club. The nearby Lisnacurran Country House offers the same peace of the castle, inside a family-run old farmstead.
With the Royal family celebrating Christmas at Sandringham every year, it is well-known that they attend the Christmas eve service at nearby St Mary Magdalene church. Regular services are open to all and are posted online at sandringhamchurches.org.uk. There is a variety of accommodation on the edge of the Sandringham Estate, for example at Reepham is the Michelin listed hotel, The Dial House. Alternatively, the Sandringham club offers glamping on the queen’s estate with activities such as the monthly farmer’s market and seasonal apple picking on offer to all. The Royals are often spotted around Norfolk. Prince William attended a match at Norwich City football ground and Kate Middleton was spotted at Sainsbury’s in Kings Lynn.
Make an entrance fit for a king or queen this season, by either heading down from Balmoral to the Old Royal Stations where Queen Victoria took her afternoon tea or by moving through a chaturanga in the Cotswolds. Climbing back up may mean hanging out with a future bunch of A-listers. With the Royal residences having the best addresses, they are frequently used as shooting locations for movie star royalty. Windsor, for example, is used to film Hammer Horror, St Trinian’s, Bridget Jones’s Baby and more. So, having breakfast next to the future Tom Hiddleston is a possibility.