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13 ways to holiday like a queen this Jubilee bank holiday

To celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne, we have a year of pomp and pageantry ahead of us (and rightly so – that’s an impressive feat), but if you want your own taste of royalty (whatever your budget), why not step into the shoes of our Head of State for a day with these regal experiences fit for a queen?

1

Drink royal blends at an afternoon tea

Fortnum and Mason Piccadilly, London

Tuck into finger sandwiches and the daintiest of patisseries at Fortnum and Mason, sponsors of this year’s Platinum Pudding competition. Named in honour of Her Majesty’s visit in 2012, the iconic department store’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon pays homage to the timeless tradition of afternoon tea. Be waited on hand and foot as you sip on floral Darjeeling tea while nibbling on the likes of smoked salmon blinis, coronation chicken sandwiches and cream-smothered scones. As well as a traditional afternoon tea, the salon also offers high tea, savoury afternoon tea and made-without-gluten and veggie options. If you want to delve deeper into the shop’s many tea blends, treat yourself to an expert tea tasting.

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2

Buy your very own crown jewels in Birmingham

Birmingham, West Midlands

Home to more diamond rings than anywhere else in the country, it’s estimated that 40% of British jewellery is made in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Over 800 businesses are based here, selling all sorts of classic pieces, handcrafted trinkets and contemporary regalia, so it’s no surprise people flock here to purchase their very own crown jewels. After you’ve splashed the cash in esteemed jewellers like Victoria James, Quo Vadis and Sonny’s, keep an eye out for the Chamberlain Clock (an iconic landmark built to commemorate a 20th-century MP who helped local businesspeople with his campaign to annul a tax that affected jewellers of the time) or quench your thirst in The Jam House. Brainchild of Jools Holland and designer Neil Tibbett, this lively venue combines live music, fine dining and good times. It’s even seen the likes of Chaka Khan, The Specials and, of course, Jools with his Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Orchestra in its time.

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3

Have a snooze in a castle

Hexham, Northumberland

Sleep like many monarchs before you – in a real-life castle. Northumberland’s Langley Castle is a medieval 14th-century fortress set in a 10-acre woodland, making it perfect for a peaceful rural retreat. The castle itself has nine rooms, each with seven-foot-thick walls (yes, you read that right) and many house four-poster beds and features like saunas, spa baths and roaring fireplaces. If the castle is fully booked, fear not – within the grounds are 18 more rooms with lovely views up to the castle and mini-suites perfect for families. When you’re not making the most of your room, dress up and dine beneath the shimmering drawing-room chandeliers – the food is some of the finest in the region.

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4

Take a dip in the healing spa waters of Bath

Bath, Somerset

Make like Minerva (the Roman goddess of health and wisdom) and soak in a thermal bath, an imperative part of the Roman beauty regiment. Taking mineral-rich waters from the city’s natural hot springs, Thermae Bath Spa is the only day spa in the country where you can bathe in the same healing waters that the Romans did. The centre has four baths: the intimate Cross Bath (which can be hired out for private sessions), the Hot Bath, the Minerva Bath and the open-air rooftop pool, where you can immerse yourself in steam waters while enjoying views over the Bath skyline. Want to make the most of your visit? Unwind in the infrared room and steam rooms before bracing the invigorating ice chamber, before rounding off with an indulgent massage.

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5

Ride on the Belmond British Pullman

London Victoria Station

Journey in style on the luxury Belmond British Pullman. This restored 1920s train has ferried many members of the royal family and has even been a star of the silver screen. Each whimsically-named carriage – like Audrey and Minerva – is unique in décor and adorned by antique marquetry and heritage upholstery. Cygnus, for example, is a carriage reimagined by Wes Anderson and features symmetrical patterns, bold shapes and complementary colours. Once onboard, this golden-age steam train will whisk you off to iconic cities and historic gems around the country. While chugging along, you’ll enjoy glamorous six-course meals while soaking up the views.

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6

Saunter through an Elizabethan garden

Kenilworth, Warwickshire

Kenilworth Castle’s 900-year-history is truly impressive, but one of its greatest feats is its gardens which were designed to seduce Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth I. Walk in the footsteps of this enigmatic empress as you explore the authentically recreated Elizabethan garden created by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in the hopes of marrying the Virgin Queen. A haven of botanical colour and fragrant walkways, you’ll be taken back to the opulence and splendour of 16th-century Kenilworth with its carved arbours, ornate aviary and detailed marble fountain. Inside the Castle itself, you can wander around Leicester’s Building and take a look around the Oak Room, where the Tudor queen’s private apartments once stood and soak up the same views she enjoyed across the Warwickshire countryside.

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7

Enjoy a horse and carriage ride at Windsor

Windsor, Berkshire

Step back in time to before the age of motors and travel around the royal town of Windsor by horse-drawn carriage. Established in 1849, Windsor Tours is the owner of England’s very last licensed Hackney Carriage to operate on The Long Walk and Windsor Great Park. Sat in the back of the open-topped carriage, you’ll be guided by a top-hatted coachman and groom who’ll regale stories passed down through generations of coachmen, all of which grew up or work in the Great Park. Picnic hampers and sparkling wines made with treats from within the Royal Estate can add an extra special touch to your trip, which you can enjoy while rolling past Windsor Castle (you can pretend you live there – we won’t tell).

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8

Explore a royal island retreat

East Cowes, Isle of Wight

Being a queen means you’ll have multiple palaces and estates to flit between, and there’s no better base for your summer break than Osborne House. Nestled on the north coast of the Isle of Wight, Osborne House was once the palatial holiday home of Queen Victoria. With manicured garden terraces, a private beach for cooling paddles, lavish staterooms and views across the Solent, it’s perfectly worthy of a royal retreat. Have a nose around to see where Victoria entertained heads of state or peek into the private world of Victoria, Albert and their nine children in the family rooms and even Albert’s private suite. Don’t leave without indulging in a slice of Victoria Sponge at the Terrace Restaurant, set in Victoria’s private chapel.

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9

Dress up for Royal Ascot

Ascot, Berkshire

Prepare for your yearly dose of world-class racing at Royal Ascot, the jewel in the crown of the British social season. The event, taking place between 14 and 18 June, kicks off with The Royal Procession before making way for five days of horse racing, all of which you can watch from either The Queen Anne Enclosure, the Village Enclosure – located in the middle of the track – or, for more budget-friendly viewing, the Windsor Enclosure (psst! – tickets are at their cheapest early on in the week, too). If you can get an invite, though, The Royal Enclosure is the place to be. Originally reserved for family and guests of King George III, and then for visiting Emperor of Russia, Nicholas I, this is a truly exclusive area housing Michelin-Starred restaurants and trackside views. Glass of Pimm’s and betting slips at the ready?

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10

Book a drag queen brunch in Brighton

Brighton, East Sussex

If you’re looking to unleash your inner queen (because let’s face it, that’s what you are), sashay over to Proud Cabaret in Brighton for a fabulous drag extravaganza. Set in the heart of Kempton, Proud is one of the city’s most iconic nightspots, home to world-class cabaret, drag and burlesque. Every Saturday and Sunday, you’ll be treated to an all-singing, all-dancing brunch experience with two tasty courses, bottomless booze and downright raucous entertainment. Can’t make the weekend? Well, you’re in luck, the fierce lip-syncing drag queens are back every Thursday night for a Drag All Stars dinner. YAAS KWEEN!

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11

Book the Royal Suite at The Goring

Belgravia, London

A stay at London’s last remaining family-owned luxury hotel will certainly have you feeling like royalty. As well as hosting foreign monarchs during the Queen’s coronation in 1953, The Goring’s Royal Suite was the room of choice for Kate Middleton who stayed here the night before her wedding. The fifth-floor penthouse comes with a hefty price tag, but with a dedicated footman and walls lined with the same silk that adorned the Titanic’s first-class dining room, it’s easy to see why. If you can’t part with all that cash, opt for an evening at the Cocktail Bar instead, where you can sip on exquisite drinks made with liqueurs and spirits from fellow Royal Warrant holders and herbs taken directly from the garden. The Michelin-starred Dining Room is also a must-visit, where you can try The Goring Eggs Drumkilbo – a dish made from native lobster, caviar and roasted tomato – followed by sweet treats whipped up by the pastry chef.

The Goring is also celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a special afternoon tea, dedicated cocktails and coronation-inspired dishes based on the menu that guests in residence ate all the way back in 1953.

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12

Escape to Asia at an exotic seaside palace

Brighton, East Sussex

Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV, Brighton’s Royal Pavilion is certainly fit for a queen. So much so that, for a short time, it was used as a holiday house for Queen Victoria, who made her first visit in 1837 before eventually selling it to the city of Brighton in 1850. Made up of complex domes, towers and minarets, this historic house mixes Regency grandeur with Indian and Chinese design. Explore the Pavilion in its restored state, including The Music Room which, lit by nine lotus-shaped chandeliers, held many a vibrant party, and the theatrical Banqueting Room, once a backdrop to magnificent feasts which often included up to 70 dishes. You can even snoop around the King’s Apartments, as well as Queen Victoria’s Apartments, which were decorated to her taste for her short yet sweet tenure.

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13

Sit in a royal box at SIX The Musical

The Strand, London

You’ve slept, eaten, travelled and even holidayed like royalty, so what better way to round things off than with a spot of culture? A trip to the theatre may already seem like a luxury (though it’s way more accessible than it used to be), but if you want to take it up a notch, nab a seat in a royal box to feel like a proper VIP. Continue the royal theme by seeing SIX The Musical, a story where history is overthrown and sees King Henry VIII’s six queens – Aragon, Boleyn, Seymour, Cleves, Howard and Parr – in a new light. The crowning glory of the West End, the showstopping musical is based at London’s Vaudeville theatre and is even backed by an all-female band.

If you can’t make it to London, this intoxicating Tudor tale is also on tour around the UK, meaning you can meet Henry’s six wives on your doorstep.

Find more things to do in London
17 May 2022(last updated)

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  • 1

    Fortnum and Mason Piccadilly, London

  • 2

    Birmingham, West Midlands

  • 3

    Hexham, Northumberland

  • 4

    Bath, Somerset

  • 5

    London Victoria Station

  • 6

    Kenilworth, Warwickshire

  • 7

    Windsor, Berkshire

  • 8

    East Cowes, Isle of Wight

  • 9

    Ascot, Berkshire

  • 10

    Brighton, East Sussex

  • 11

    Belgravia, London

  • 12

    Brighton, East Sussex

  • 13

    The Strand, London

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