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How to live like a royal with a luxurious London getaway

  • Fortnum & Mason, London

    Living like a royal

    On Saturday, June 8, 2019, the city of London will celebrate the 93rd birthday of Queen Elizabeth with an official birthday celebration that has been held since the 17th century. Witnessing this display of military pageantry, it’s natural to start imagining what life would be like as a royal. London, a city awash in royal history, piques this curiosity more than any other city in the world. Luckily, for those who can afford it, there are plenty of experiences, accommodations and dining locations that are happy to roll out the red carpet. Here are a few worth considering.  

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • Residence at The Four Seasons at Ten Trinity

    Four Seasons at Ten Trinity

    Just steps from the Tower of London and a short walk from St. Paul’s Cathedral where Charles and Di tied the knot, Four Seasons at Ten Trinity opened in 2017 in an impressive Beaux-Arts building once home to the Port of London Authority. Since mid-2018 they’ve also begun rolling out their private, bespoke residences that feature open floor plans, full kitchens, washer and dryer and a separate entrance. Guests who book a stay at a residence also have access to the private adult-only club, cigar sampling lounge and wine tastings at the Chateau Latour Discovery Room. If you were suddenly bequeathed with a wing at a modern-day palace, it would probably feel something like this. 

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • The Rubens at The Palace

    Rubens at The Palace

    To stay closer to Buckingham Palace in a place where history has seeped into the walls since the 18th century, consider booking a room at the Rubens at the Palace. Located on Buckingham Palace Road, just across from the Royal Mews, the hotel offers both traditional rooms and suites that pay tribute to individuals of historical royal importance (including a blue and yellow junior suite honoring Lady Diana Spencer). The Rubens has been adapted and updated over the centuries from a private home to a druggist shop to a hotel. It was purchased and renovated by Red Carnation Hotels in 1997, which continues to manage the property today. 

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • A Yeoman Warder keeps watch at The Tower of London

    Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London

    A visit to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels and explore the towers that once imprisoned the likes of Queen Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn is a must. But to truly feel like you’ve time traveled to old England, attend the Ceremony of the Keys, which begins each night around 9:30 pm. During a ceremony that has not changed for over seven centuries, the Chief Yeoman Warder and fellow soldiers walk along the cobblestone paths – lit by a handheld 100-year-old lantern – to lock the main gates. Tickets are free but must be requested far in advance and are currently unavailable through April 2020. If you’re visiting some time thereafter, you can request tickets starting Nov. 1, 2019 by visiting the website of the Historic Royal Palaces.

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • Yorkshire rhubarb desert at e Dame du Pic: shiso cream, cherry leave meringue and rhubarb sorbet infused with damas rose

    Dinner at La Dame de Pic

    Those who have dined at this small French restaurant inside the Four Seasons Hotel know why it has been deemed one of the best in London. Just beyond the unassuming door off the lobby, Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic creates a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience with nontraditional ingredients and preparations that are truly unforgettable. 

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • London's National Gallery in Trafalgar Square

    The National Gallery

    While they may not be hanging in your private palace residence, visitors to London’s National Gallery can view some of the masterpieces from Europe’s most revered painters, from Van Gogh to Rembrandt to Da Vinci. Located steps from Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is free and the perfect escape from the chaos of the big city.  The current building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991.

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • Gluten free pastries served at Fortnum & Mason's afternoon tea service

    Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason

    Just near Piccadilly, in the heart of the city, sits one of London’s most well-known department stores, Fortnum & Mason. Ascend the stunning spiral staircase to the top floor to find the store’s posh but approachable tea room decorated in hues of soft seafoam green with fresh flowers and live piano music. Traditional afternoon tea – which is also available for vegan, gluten free and diabetic guests – of finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and tea will leave you feeling royally pampered. And very full. 

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • Kensington Palace State Rooms

    Walk the halls of Kensington Palace

    You might catch a glimpse of Will and Kate coming or going from Kensington Palace, which was also once home to Charles and Diana, Princess Margaret, young Queen Victoria and many other royals through the years. Explore the impressive royal gardens as well as the King and Queen Apartments that include rooms where grand galas were held for many years, particularly during the reign of William and Mary.

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • The Baptist Grill at L'oscar Hotel

    Dinner at The Baptist Grill

    Dining in the Baroque, domed chapel of this one-time Baptist church feels like theater – from the richly-hued décor to the dollop of homemade butter shaped like a Hershey's Kiss. Barely a minute's walk from the Holborn tube station, the restaurant is part of the 29-room luxury boutique L’oscar Hotel. The wait staff are both attentive and knowledgeable, and the menu offers creative and decadent twists on a traditional menu, including foie gras with five spice plum preserves, Dover sole and short ribs served with deviled bone marrow.

    Photo courtesy of L'oscar Hotel

  • Simpson's on the Strand

    Dinner and a show in the West End

    In addition to visiting the royal palaces and parks of London, an evening of theater and culture is a must, whether it’s an opera, a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company or dinner and a show in London’s West End. Start with a traditional roast beef dinner at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, an old-school London fixture at the upscale Savoy, then head to a play or musical in one of the many nearby theaters. The Playhouse Theatre, a short walk from Simpson's, opened along the Thames in the late 1800s.

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

  • Westminster Abbey

    Explore Westminster Abbey

    Whether exchanging vows, being crowned sovereign or being laid to rest, perhaps no place in London holds a more fascinating history for the British monarchy than Westminster Abbey. For nearly a thousand years, every coronation has occurred near its High Altar and the list of royals buried there, including 30 kings and queens, is too long to note here. Visitors can proceed from the entrance to the altar just as the Duchess of Cambridge did when she married Prince William, and where Princess Diana’s coffin was carried during her funeral procession in September 1997. You should also see Poets' Corner, with more than 100 memorials and tributes to the literary greats. 

    Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

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