With the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle mere weeks away — and the recent news that the couple will have a carriage procession around Windsor Town after their nuptials at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle — hotels and tour companies are trotting out packages for royal watchers.
In Britain it’s easy to create your own royal-inspired itinerary with, say, a riverboat ride on the Thames and a visit to Windsor Castle (though note that the castle will be closed on May 18 and 19). From London to Windsor, there will be wedding-themed tea parties, and plenty of bars and pubs from which to watch the festivities (they are widely expected to be televised) and celebrate into the night. In Windsor, the wedding day carriage procession route from St. George’s Chapel will be via Castle Hill, along High Street and through Windsor Town, and then back to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk, according to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead tourism site. You can preview the procession route in this video from the tourism association, Visit Windsor:
But for those who want to go a step further, there are royal wedding packages at hotels and, should you prefer to relish the big day with fellow fans, group tours.
Among the most comprehensive is the eight-day Royal Wedding Celebration in England: Inside the British Monarchy tour from Road Scholar, the experiential learning travel company. The tour (from $2,499, excluding airfare) includes an indoor hotel-viewing party with picnic food as well as stops at the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle, as well as talks from former royal staff members about how to organize a security team of thousands of people, and the art of creating a royal cake.
The Original Tour, which has long offered open-top, hop-on hop-off bus tours of London, has begun, for the first time, operating daily bus tours of Windsor, just months before the royal wedding. The bus passes places such as Windsor Castle, Eton College (attended by both Prince William and Prince Harry) and the Royal Farms Windsor Farm Shop (a 24-hour period ticket is £13, or about $18; £7 for children; £11 for students and adults over 60; £33 for a family with two adults and two children; free for children under 5).
There are a variety of day tours to be had in and around London. If you’re considering signing up for one on May 19, be aware that in general, day tours that regularly visit Windsor Castle will not be visiting the castle that day. Companies like Evan Evans, for instance, which typically offers a day tour with stops at Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath, will visit Hampton Court Palace, the former home of Henry VIII, on that day instead of Windsor Castle. The same is true for Golden Tours, which leads a Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge tour but on the 19th will also visit Hampton Court Palace rather than Windsor Castle.
Many leading Windsor hotels are already booked that day, though properties nearby and in London are selling royal-inspired getaways. You can even find a vacation rental promising the occasional wedding-themed amenity. “If you are coming during the Royal wedding, there will be a complimentary Champagne hamper provided to help kick off the celebrations,” read one Airbnb listing for a home in Windsor.
At the Arch London boutique hotel, the Royal Wedding package, available throughout May, is £3,900 for a two-night stay based on double occupancy and includes a two-bedroom suite; a three-course dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Hunter 486; a Champagne breakfast; and afternoon tea. The package includes a tour of Windsor Castle (not available on May 18 or 19) and a £100 shopping voucher to Fortnum & Mason, the tea and gift shop.
At One Aldwych in London, there will be a Royal Wedding Celebration Package on weekends in May, with rooms starting at £355 a night. For an additional £45, you can order a “royal bouquet” with peonies (reported to be a favorite flower of Ms. Markle, according to the hotel) and a sprig of myrtle (often used in royal brides’ bouquets since the 1800s).
The Hotel Café Royal is offering a Regent Royal Wedding package from April 1 to June 21 (with a minimum stay of two nights), which includes accommodations in a suite; a limousine tour to Windsor Castle to visit the Chapel and The State Apartments; a picnic hamper for your day out; a royal wedding memorabilia gift; and an English breakfast, among other amenities (from £2,000). Not posh enough? You can stay in the hotel’s Empire suite with the Empire Royal Wedding package (with a minimum stay of three nights), which includes all of the above as well as additional amenities such as a helicopter tour of London and tickets to the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, from £6,500 a night.
While the wedding is to take place in Britain, that isn’t stopping hotels in the United States from partaking in the festivities.
Among them, the Drake, a Hilton Hotel in Chicago, is offering a “Film and Fondue” series Monday nights in May with movies such as “The Queen,” “Elizabeth — The Golden Age,” and “Victoria and Abdul” (starting at $25 a person plus taxes and tips). There are royal-themed sweets, snacks, teas and bar specials (10 percent of the proceeds from beverages on the Royal Cocktail Menu in May will be donated to Prince Harry’s endorsed charity, the Invictus Games Foundation). And, on the wedding day itself, the hotel is planning a screening of the royal festivities and, in the grand ballroom, a luncheon that was once served to Princess Diana during her visit to the hotel in 1996. ($100 for priority seating; $80 for general assigned seating; taxes and gratuities included. Reservations are required.)