- 14:52, 26 MAR 2023
Commonwealth tours and lavish dinner parties are a regular occurrence for our Royal Family.
While we’re not so lucky to enjoy regal trips around the world, we can have a taste of their five star life.
Here in the UK, and around the world, travellers can book in for a decadent stay at one of the British monarchy’s holiday homes.
But be prepared to splash the cash – they’re not your average Air BnB.
From Princess Margaret’s Mustique bolthole to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s island escape, there’s a spot to suit every taste.
So, start saving and set your sights on these regal retreats. Let’s look inside…
Castle of Mey
The late Queen Mother’s holiday home, now under the care of Prince Charles – or the Duke of Rothesay, to give him his proper Scottish title – couldn’t be much more remote.
By the sea in Caithness, a stone’s throw from John O’Groats and with views over to Orkney, it’s even possible to see the Northern Lights from the Castle of Mey if you’re lucky.
Right on the glorious North Coast 500 Road, where you can’t move an inch for stunning lochs, mountains and waterfalls, The Granary has eight bedrooms and two guest suites, while the Captain’s House, where the Queen Mother used to take picnics, is a holiday cottage.
The castle is closed in winter (and for two weeks in July when Charles and Camilla visit) but, when it’s open, it’s a fascinating access-all-areas experience, with everything from the modest kitchen to the Queen Mother’s DVD collection in the sitting room on show.
Rooms at the Granary start at £165 per night, Go to castleofmey.org.uk.
At the other end of the affordability scale, Princess Margaret’s house on Mustique – where she famously hosted lavish parties for her aristocratic set – is available to rent.
Les Jolies Eaux, on the southernmost tip of the island and designed by artist Oliver Messel, is a stunning six-bedrooom villa with two pools.
It sleeps 10, and comes with half that many staff – yep, you get your own butler, chef, gardener and two housekeepers, though, with prices starting at $25,000 US (about £18,500) per week, you really are paying for them.
To find out more, go to mustique-island.com
Hampton Court Palace
In the grounds of Henry VIII’s party house, where he hosted his famously lavish banquets, it’s possible to rent the Georgian House – with a private walled garden – that used to be a kitchen built for the foodie king. It sleeps eight people.
From £1,031 for four nights, go to landmarktrust.org.uk.
The Norfolk spot where the Queen used to spend many a high day and holiday could be your location for a welcome break, too.
The glorious Garden House is the closest property to the the Queen’s home on the Sandringham Estate, and is kitted out with furniture and art work that all previously resided in a royal home.
It sits within the Walled Garden that was lovingly tended to by the Queen’s head gardener, whose home this used to be, and it has an Aga (naturally) in the kitchen and four bedrooms.
Garden House is a great choice for families with kids, thanks to Sandringham’s Adventure Play Area and the Exhibition & Transport Museum, housing the largest collection of royal vehicles you’ll find anywhere. Don’t forget those big skies and golden sands of the North Norfolk Coast, while you’re at it.
A three-night midweek break at the garden house starts from £854. Go to norfolkhideaways.co.uk.
In the grounds of Queen Victoria’s seaside retreat on the Isle of Wight is Pavilion Cottage, a former, you guessed it, cricket pavilion.
Sleeping four, it’s the ideal spot from which to explore V&A’s Italianate holiday home. Chill on their private beach (complete with Victoria’s bathing machine for modesty purposes – there certainly were no thong bikinis in Victorian times) and check out Swiss Cottage, a play pad made for their nine children.
There are also two cottages, both sleeping four, at Sovereign’s Gate, the formal entrance to Osborne House.
Prices start at £515 for a three-night stay at Pavilion cottage. go to english-heritage.org.uk.
The Mandarin Oriental
This London hotel even has a private royal entrance by Hyde Park – and, should you wish to use it, you’ll have to ask permission from the Royal Family. Princess Anne and Prince Charles were taken for cucumber sandwiches and cake here as kids and the ballroom hosted the gala dinner the night before the Cambridges’ wedding in 2011.
Rooms start at £720 per night. a two-bed suite is £5,250 per night. go to mandarinoriental.com/ london/hyde-park/luxury-hotel.
Hillsborough Castle, County Down
A £20 million restoration of the Queen’s official residence in Northern Ireland focused heavily on the walled garden, covering four acres and producing heritage fruit and veg.
The extended garden, viewed from the State Dining Room, spreads to 100 acres and includes a Victorian rotunda, a lake and a majestic yew walk.
To book, go to hrp.org.uk. Adult tickets cost £9.90.
This summer will bring a very special exhibition in honour of the Platinum Jubilee – a display commemorating the Queen’s coronation, including her dress and robe made with purple woven silk and goldwork embroidery. It took 12 embroiderers more than 3,500 hours to complete, using 18 different types of gold thread.
To book, go to www.rct.uk. Adults tickets cost from £26.50.
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