It’s anticipated that 1.5 million Royal Wedding watchers will come to London on April 29 and guess what?
There are still rooms available in London at nearly every price point.
Emily Goldfischer explores the options to create the Royal Wedding vacation of your dreams no matter no matter what your Royal fetish is—from sapphire rings and commemorative plates to horse-drawn carriage rides to … camping in London?
Fit For a King, Queen, Prince and Princess
The winner of the over-the-top category is the May Fair Hotel with the Suite and Sapphire package including a three-night stay in the hotel’s two bedroom Azure Suite accessed by private elevator, plus a bauble to rival Kate Middelton’s—an 18-carat sapphire and diamond ring which guests design themselves with celebrity jeweler Jooal Fine Jewelry of Mayfair. The package is priced at £207,500 (approximately $336,268) for two people.
However, if you truly want to rub shoulders with royalty, book the six-night Mandarin Oriental Royal Wedding Tour which includes private royal family-led guided tours of the ancestral homes of Princess Diana and Winston Churchill, lecture and tour of the Wallace Collection by the museum director, and the ultimate wedding day champagne brunch (other than actually being at Buckingham Palace) atop the Institute of Contemporary Art with direct views of the Mall and royal wedding parade.
The package is priced at £18,800 (about $30,286) for two people.
Is it really a Royal Wedding without a horse and carriage ride?
Supposedly this modern couple is forsaking tradition and will be driven by car, but you can still have your princess moment at 51 Buckingham Gate with the Royal Treatment package that includes a horse and carriage ride around the Royal Wedding route, four nights in a suite, breakfast, champagne afternoon tea, tickets to Tower of London, evening cocktails, starting at £510 (about $822) +20 percent VAT per night for two people.
Here is truly the package of fairy tales…
Treat your little princess, ages 3-8, to Swissotel The Howard London‘s Pretty Little Princess package, which includes a princess dress, matching fur cape, handbag, glitter shoes and silver tiara, which she shall wear on a horse and carriage ride (natch) to Westminster Abby, sipping non-alcoholic champagne.
Also included is a Grand River View Room, princess jewelry box and other treasures. Not included: therapy she will need as an adult. The one-night package price is the same as the wedding date £2,904.11 (approximately $4,660).
Don’t miss the rundown from shopper extraordinaire Suzy Gershman: Postcard To A Princess Bride: London’s Bridal Shopping Scene
It wouldn’t be a Royal Wedding without the obligatory commemorative china.
Milestone Hotel’s Royal Occasion package includes your choice of a crafted commemorative bone-china plate or two mugs by Royal Worcester.
Coincidentally, the hotel’s location is fantastic, just opposite Kensington Palace, and the four-night offer also includes breakfast, a seven-course Royal Banquet dinner, champagne, afternoon tea, two tickets to Kensington Palace, and private round-trip airport transfers from Heathrow. Rates start at £2,418 (about $3,895) + 20 percent VAT.
Beat the Royals and be amongst the first to try London’s newest five-star luxury hotel, the Corinthia Hotel London, which is still accepting reservations for the Royal Wedding weekend with rates starting at £429 (about $690) + 20 percent VAT per night.
Set to open on April 16, the swish new hotel, which has already put itself on the London social map by hosting a BAFTA luncheon with Oscar winner Colin Firth, is ideally located in Whitehall, just off the Royal Wedding procession route.
Don’t miss more London travel ideas in our Off the Brochure Travel Guide: London, England
Originally a grand and imposing Victorian-era hotel, the 294-room property has been renovated to a new standard of modern craftsmanship and service. The hotel claims to have the largest standard guestrooms in London and of its 43 suites, seven are located inside historic turrets with private elevators and terraces offering landmark views.
At press time, The Athenaeum, a five-star property situated on Green Park in Mayfair, just released rooms overlooking the park so you could actually watch the wedding procession from the comfort of your bed for £433 (approximately $699) per night including breakfast for two, Wi-Fi, mini-bar snacks and one way airport transfer for the minimum three-night booking. You don’t need the trip back to the airport, however, since you’ll never want to leave.
For more on London’s luxury hotels, don’t miss Suzy Gershman’s London Shopping & London Luxury Hotels Report.
Princely Passions on a Pauper Budget
As of April 4, the cheapest direct fares on Orbitz.com from New York are starting at $651 on Air Canada/BMI; from Chicago starting at $819 on US Airways; and from Los Angeles starting at $936 on Continental, per person leaving April 27 and returning May 1.
UK-based Superbreak, an online travel agency that specializes in short trips, is offering two-night and three-night Royal Wedding packages in London, including breakfast, rail travel, a ticket for the London Eye and discount cards for dining and attractions, all taxes and fees. Three nights from April 28 cost from £249 (about $400) per person at either of the centrally located three-star Ibis London Earls Court or the Kensington Court Hotel.
If you are willing to stay further afield for an even better deal, book a room at Heathrow and travel into central London on the Tube. A double room at the three-star Comfort Inn costs £46 (about $74) including VAT.
Apartments and individual room rentals can be had at the fraction of the cost of a hotel. Try AirBnB, a community marketplace with a variety of unique spaces to rent, which has more than 300 available rentals of all description listed in London from April 28-30. Currently, the cheapest option for is an apartment that can sleep three people for $95 per night in north London.
Another short-term-rental site, iStopOver, even has a page dedicated to Royal Wedding travelers. Apartments and lofts are filtered by their proximity to London, with a helpful map to show exactly where the property is located so there are no surprises when you arrive.
More London travel tips: Travel Tip: Sleep Cheap in London, Despite the Currency.
Finally, are you so desperate to see the Royal Wedding that you are willing to sleep outside?
A company called Camp Royale, has asked permission to turn the Clapham Common (just on the other side of the Thames and 25 minutes on the tube to Hyde Park) into a Royal Wedding campsite. They are awaiting permission from the local city council, but if they get it, the campsite will have security, bathrooms and hot water, and will open April 28-May 1 and cost £75 (about $120) per person for three days, half-price for children under 12. As of press time Camp Royale did not have final permission, so check before booking.
Westminster Abbey (pictured above) will be closed from April 26 for the wedding and will reopen on Saturday April 30 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.– 7:30 p.m.) with all the Royal Wedding floral displays still fully intact along with the seating layout from the wedding.
Transport for London has created 750,000 commemorative Royal Wedding Oyster Cards. The Oyster Card is the cheapest way to travel on all of London’s public transportation systems, including the Tube (subway), buses and overground trains.
The cards will be for sale from April 21 from all London Underground and London Overground stations, some National Rail ticket offices, as well as TfL Travel Information Centres, while supplies last.
Procession details and information can be found online on Directgov and a lovely interactive route map by the Royal Parks. For the latest official wedding information see the British Monarchy Web site and the official Royal Wedding Web site.
For more information on places to celebrate in and around London, try Visit London’s Royal Wedding page.
By Emily Goldfischer for PeterGreenberg.com. Emily Goldfischer is a former luxury hotel executive, and is now a London-based food and travel writer. Follow her at www.twitter.com/em_goldfischer.
Related Links on PeterGreenberg.com:
- Postcard To A Princess Bride: London’s Bridal Shopping Scene
- 5 Destination Wedding Options Closer To Home
- Off the Brochure Travel Guide: London, England
- Sleep Cheap in London, Despite the Currency
- London Shopping & London Luxury Hotels: Postcard from Suzy Gershman
- A Traveling Mom’s Tips For Visiting London With Kids
- Postcard From Paddington: London’s Best-Kept Secret?
- Romantic Travel section
- British Travel section