Fans of the Netflix hit The Crown have been waiting on tenterhooks for almost a year for their next dose of royal drama and lavish period costumes. On November 15 they will be rewarded for their patience when series four will be released.
If panoramic shots of Tudor mansions and chandelier-frosted ballrooms aren’t escapism enough, these five mini breaks are sure to do the trick. From dining at the Windsors’ favourite bolthole to waking up in your own turret: you don’t have to be Olivia Colman to spend a weekend playing at being the Queen.
The Goring, London
Sitting around 200 metres from the Queen’s back garden, The Goring is the closest hotel to Buckingham Palace and a firm favourite with the Royal family.
In 2013 it became the first hotel ever to be awarded a Royal Warrant, recognising it as an official supplier of services to the Queen. No other has since gone on to do the same.
You’ll often spot princes and princesses – both British and international – in The Goring’s Michelin-starred dining room. Here you can try the Queen Mother’s favourite dish: Eggs Drumkilbo, a silky cocktail of lobster, caviar and eggs.
It was in one of the hotel’s plushest suites that Kate Middleton stayed the night before her wedding to Prince William.
The starting price for a double room is £485. https://www.thegoring.com/
Amberley Castle, West Sussex
With its crenellated stone towers, arrow-slit windows and 2.5 ton portcullis, pulling up to Amberley Castle could be rather alarming. Happily, the charming welcome from its hotel staff could put even the most nervous arrivals at ease.
Every corridor and room is stuffed with more than 900 years’ worth of history – displayed via suits of armour, elaborate wood-carved fireplaces and enormous four poster beds.
Counting Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and the current Queen among its former guests, the manor was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War.
Modern day guests can dine in the vaulted Queen’s Room, which dates back to the 12th century and has a mural depicting scenes from Amberley’s history.
All 19 bedrooms in the four-star hotel are dressed in heavy embroidered fabrics. Sleek modern bathrooms hide within twisting staircase turrets.
In the grounds there’s an 18-hole golf course, tennis court and croquet lawn. Make sure to keep an eye out for the resident white peacocks, Bob and Lilly, and their four baby chicks that roam the gardens.
The village of Amberley has its own train station with connections to London. History buffs who haven’t quite had their fill can hop on a train to nearby Arundel, where there is another medieval castle to visit.
Overnight stays at Amberley Castle cost from £195 for two including breakfast. https://www.amberleycastle.co.uk/
Originally bought by Queen Victoria on the account of its purported good weather, Balmoral is perhaps the most famous of the royal estates since it is where the Queen has chosen to spend her summers ever since she was a girl. Not many people know that the estate contains a handful of cottages that have been converted into holiday lets, including Karim cottage which was built by Queen Victoria for her Indian Secretary Munshi Abdul Karim – the subject of the 2017 Judi Dench film Abdul and I. The magnificent, turreted gated lodge is also available for hire and a tour of the house and grounds is a must for royal fans. They are open all year round apart from during The Royal Visit.
The Bordogan Estate, Anglesey
When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were first married, they lived on the Welsh island of Anglesey whilst William worked as an air rescue pilot. A picturesque start to married life if ever there was one. They chose to live in a farm cottage with access to a private beach on the Bordogan Estate, which incidentally boasts a small collection of similar cottages available for holiday lets.
The royal couple succeeded in putting this tiny Welsh island on the map and it is certainly worth the trek. Once you’ve had your fill of the coast path and beaches, there’s the famous lighthouse and Aberleiniog and Beaumaris castles to explore.
Prestonfield House, Edinburgh
A path runs from the grounds of this baroque mansion right to the doorstep of Holyrood House, the Queen’s official Scottish residence.
A former family home turned five-star hotel, Prestonfield has hosted famous names from all kinds of spheres: from Winston Churchill to Elton John.
Many members of the royal household have dined at Rhubarb, the hotel’s restaurant, which is the place to eat on the day of the Queen’s annual summer garden party.
The Prestonfield you see today, with its hulking stone portico and opulent gilt and wood-panelled drawing rooms, was designed by the same architect who masterminded the neighbouring palace at Holyrood. Its whisky bar has one of the most impressive collections in Scotland.
Every guest gets a royal welcome, as the hotel offers a complimentary bottle of champagne to anyone who books directly via its website. Prices for a double room start from £355 while for suites it is £455. https://www.prestonfield.com/
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
It was on the sprung floor of the hotel’s ballroom that as teens the Queen and Princess Margaret learned to waltz during their deportment classes.
The Windsors have hosted many events here since: from the Duke of Edinburgh’s famous cocktail parties to afternoon tea excursions with a young Princess Anne and Prince Charles.
Today a five-star hotel with a restaurant run by Heston Blumenthal, the palatial Edwardian-style building originally opened as an exclusive gentlemen’s club in 1889.
It has its own Royal Suite, with three bedrooms and a balcony that can easily fit a party of 40 guests.
There is a spa, which offers massages, facials and other treatments – although brave guests might prefer taking a morning dip in the Serpentine lido, just 10 minutes’ walk from their room. https://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/hyde-park/
Carton House, Kildare, Ireland
This almost 300-year-old Palladian palace in the county of Kildare was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite boltholes. Guests can still visit her bedroom, known as the Chinese Boudoir, which has been kept in its original state.
The hand-painted papyrus wallpaper and twisting gilt work was designed specifically with her in mind. Even Carton House’s lake and boathouse have the Queen to thank for their existence, as supposedly they were created specially for her after she had a dream that she was rowing on a lake on the estate when at the time none existed.
Modern day guests can enjoy canapes and cocktails with views over the water from the gabled boathouse.
Among the rivers and forests of Carton’s 1,100 acres you can often spy otters, red deer and kingfishers. The hotel provides bikes so visitors can explore its cycle trails or they can take a tour while completing the pristine 18-hole golf circuit used for the Irish Open.
It is around a half hour’s drive from Dublin airport. A two-night midweek break costs around €380 including breakfast. https://www.cartonhouse.com/