England Travel Guide
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13 Luxury British Hotels That Offer a Royal Experience

PHOTO: Hartwell House & Spa

A crown is not included in the rate.

The U.K. is preparing to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel. While not everyone will be invited to attend the nuptials, it’s possible to have a royal experience of your own at one of Britain’s luxurious hotels. Many have special offers for the upcoming wedding and others even have specific ties to the royal family.

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Cliveden House & Spa

WHERE: Taplow, England

Those who watched the second season of The Crown are likely familiar with the Profumo Affair, a political sex scandal that began right here in the swimming pool of Cliveden House & Spa. Once owned by the Astors, the 350-year-old estate has a storied history and has hosted numerous royal and famous guests, including President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Today guests can enjoy the ornately kept grounds, which include a hedge maze and are now run by the National Trust, and an impressively detailed spa (which includes that infamous pool). It’s immensely glamorous–and not that far from Windsor. Book the “Regal Weekend Fit For Royalty” package, a luxurious selection of activities and meals that include afternoon tea and a champagne river cruise.

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PHOTO: The Goring
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The Goring

Located in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood, The Goring has embraced luxury travel for over 100 years. It’s the closest hotel to Buckingham Palace and it received a Royal Warrant from the Queen in 2013, recognizing the property for its distinguished service to the royal house. The rooms are entirely suites, some with a personal footman, and the hotel’s restaurant, The Dining Room at The Goring, holds a Michelin star. The Goring’s afternoon tea, as expected, is a true indulgence worthy of the Queen herself.

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PHOTO: Mark Kerrison / Alamy Stock Photo
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Harte & Garter Hotel & Spa

Harte & Garter Hotel & Spa, which dates back to the 14th century, sits directly across from Windsor Castle, the Queen of England’s residence. It’s decorated in period furnishings and features the recently added Stable Salon Spa, and several of the 98 guestrooms look out over the castle’s walls. The property has a long history with the royals: It was originally created by combining two smaller inns, The Garter Inn, named after King Edward III’s Most Noble Order of the Garter, and The White Harte, named for the King Richard II’s Royal Emblem.

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PHOTO: Dukes Hotel
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Dukes London

Dukes London, located in London’s Mayfair neighborhood a short walk from Buckingham Palace, is a historic, elegant hotel that embraces traditional British hospitality. Dukes Bar is particularly iconic, known for creating James Bond’s Vesper Martini, and the hotel features an ornate set of rooms known as the Duke of Clarence Penthouse suite. Dukes will celebrate the upcoming nuptials with a “Royal Wedding package” that includes accommodations, a full English breakfast, afternoon tea, and, of course, an outing to Windsor Palace.

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PHOTO: Richard Humphrey [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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Congham Hall Hotel

Located in a Georgian Manor in Norfolk, the Congham Hall Hotel is only a few miles away from the Queen’s country house, the Sandringham Estate. Not only does the hotel get visitors as close as possible to the royal estate, it also has a chic pastoral feel, a luxury spa, and a proper afternoon tea service. Sandringham’s gardens, museum, and house are open from April through November for a ticketed price, while the surrounding park is free and open daily.

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PHOTO: Ceri Breeze/ Shutterstock
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Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa

WHERE: Fawsley, England

Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were both once guests of Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa, which dates back to the Tudor period. Some of the features from the era remain, although today the luxurious country hotel has slightly more contemporary décor, as well as a spa, fitness center, and acclaimed restaurant. One key aspect of the hotel is its landscaped grounds and formal gardens, which are particularly lovely during the spring and summer. The master suite is aptly named for Queen Elizabeth and includes a four-poster bed and claw-foot bathtub.

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Hartwell House & Spa

WHERE: Vale of Aylesbury, England

After Louis XVIII was exiled from France, he spent five years living in Hartwell House, a historic estate that was opened as a hotel in 1989. The House is now part of the National Trust and its surrounding gardens, which date back to the 18th century, make this hotel worth a trip. Visitors can book luxurious rooms in the main house or a private home built into the Old Rectory. Breakfast is served with a view of the gardens and there’s a well-appointed spa. Select one of the Royal Rooms or Royal Suites to vacation like a prince.

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PHOTO: Balmoral Estates
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Balmoral

WHERE: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Balmoral is the Scottish home to the royal family, first purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. The castle and grounds still belong to the Queen, although the estate also hosts tourists in its holiday cottages throughout the year. The cottages themselves are fairly simple, but it’s the setting that counts, particularly since visitors can tour the gardens, grounds, and castle during certain months. The golf course is also quite popular, offering views of the castle from the green. There’s no guarantee you’ll spot a member of the royal family, but it’s the possibility that counts.

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Littlecote House Hotel

WHERE: Hungerford, England

There’s a lot of history in the walls of Littlecote House Hotel, including the time Henry VIII courted Jane Seymour. Many of the guestrooms feature chic, simple décor, but aspiring royals can select one of the plush Royale rooms or a Courtyard Historic room, which look out over the old stables. There are two restaurants and the hotel even features live entertainment and music in the evenings. There’s also a day spa and heated indoor swimming pool, although the best part is the extensive gardens, which feel perfect for a romantic stroll.

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The Rubens at the Palace

Gaze out the windows of The Rubens at the Palace directly at Buckingham Palace, which stands across the street. The hotel dates back to the 1700s, although it didn’t take on its current form until 1912. The rooms and suites are plush, with ornate décor worthy of royalty. Afternoon tea is a must, as is breakfast in The Palace Lounge, which overlooks The Royal Mews, where the Queen’s horses are kept. Book one of the special packages, which include “A Royal Weekend” and “Live Like Royalty,” which offers guests tickets to the state rooms at Buckingham Palace, which is only open certain times of year.

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PHOTO: The Savoy
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The Savoy

The Savoy is one of the London’s most storied hotels. The historic property, which looks out over the Thames, was first opened in 1889 and frequently hosted Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as young women. Elizabeth and Prince Phillip even celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary in one of the private dining rooms. Today, guests can book one of the luxurious hotel rooms or suites, and take afternoon tea in the exceedingly posh Thames Foyer. The hotel’s American Bar was recently named the No. 1 bar in the world. Order a Dubonnet and gin, reportedly the queen’s favorite evening drink.

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PHOTO: Alastair Wallace/ Shutterstock
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Carlton Towers

WHERE: Carlton, England

Yorkshire is home to Carlton Towers, an impressive estate that dates back to the 14th century. Many aristocrats have called the country house home and there are notably historical touches throughout the ornate rooms. It was designed by Edward Welby Pugin, an architect whose father designed the interior of the Palace of Westminster, so there’s a strong royal connection (as well as a distinctly royal vibe). There are 16 bedrooms throughout the grand house, including the two-story Baroness Tower bridal suite. Fans of the TV series Victoria will recognize many of the rooms as Carlton Towers stood in for Windsor Castle.

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PHOTO: Mark Kerrison / Alamy Stock Photo
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Royal Adelaide Hotel

First built for Queen Adelaide in the 1830s, the Royal Adelaide Hotel is one of Windsor’s most historic hotels. The property is located across from the famous Long Walk and regularly hosts guests attending the Royal Ascot (which takes place in June). The rooms are simple but elegant and the onsite restaurant serves three meals a day. The hotel is particularly close to the daily change of the guard, which occurs at 11 a.m. as the red-suited royal guards march from the barracks to Windsor Castle.