Today (21 April 2017) sees Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II celebrate her 91st Birthday. So here, to help us all celebrate, is a list of 7 short breaks, here in the UK, with a Royal theme, that can be enjoyed this year. From special events and behind the scenes tours, to world famous attractions where the queen herself will be in attendance.
credit: Monica Volpin – Pixabay
Buckingham Palace – Summer Opening
The most famous royal building of them all has been opening its doors to visitors since 1993 . The Buckingham Palace 2017 Summer season runs from Saturday 22 July 2017 to Sunday 1 October 2017. You will see nineteen state rooms full of paintings, furniture and treasures from the Royal Collection and this year there is a special exhibition of Royal gifts, received by the Queen from all over the world. Visitors also get the chance to explore the gardens too – the venue for the Queen’s world famous garden parties.
Royal Ascot – Ladies Day
The queen is usually out of town when Buckingham Palace opens to the public, so it is unlikely you will bump into her. Not so at Royal Ascot.
Royal Ascot is one of the most exciting race events on the flat season calendar and Ladies Day is one of the most anticipated events in the British summer sporting and social calendar: an unparalleled day of world-class racing, excitement, pageantry, fashion and style. With the queen herself in attendance, races include the Gold Cup, the Britannia Stakes and the King George V Stakes.
In the enclosures the dress code is strict and formal, all adding to the occassion, although on Ladies Day, the focus is on fashion and the ladies hardly need to be reminded to dress to impress!
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Every May since 1913, the Royal Horticultural Society’s flower show, takes over the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Although not the biggest flower show in England (that’s Hampton Court) The Chelsea Flower Show is probably the most famous. If you are thinking of going, there is plenty of good advice on how to survive the crowds and see the best displays at the Chelsea Flower Show – with useful hints for the newcomer and the old hand (or the acorn and the oak!)
The Queen and other members of the Royal family regularly visit the show so keep an eye open and you might find yourself in Royal company!
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
This year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be a special occassion, with 53 clans represented on special nights in a pre-show parade seeing over 100 clan members enter the castle dressed in full tartan. The Event is called A Splash of Tartan – click for more information about which clan is represented on which night.
Beyond the clans, the event will feature hundreds of participants from all over the world – with pipers, dancers and drummers all adding to the spectacle, it is one of Europes most dramatic events.
The Tattoo takes place in August, at the same time as the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, making Scotland’s capital city one of the most vibrant (and busy) cities in the world!
Also make sure you visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other end of the Royal Mile, and the Royal Yacht Britannia docked at Ocean Terminal in Leith.
The Royal Opera House
London’s Royal Opera House is one of the world’s most iconic theatres. With its white pillared entrance, the glass-enclosed Paul Hamlyn Hall (which used to house the famous Covent Garden flower market) and the opulent, gold and red auditorium a ticket to one of the operas or ballets performed there is a much sort after thing and should be on any theatre-lover’s bucket list.
In addition to performances by the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet, in the summer of 2017, the theatre will welcome the Mariinsky Ballet company from St Petersberg. Visit Theatre Breaks for short breaks including tickets for the Royal Opera House as well as the London Coliseum and Sadlers Wells.
Kensington Palace – Princess Diana Exhibition
Princess Diana will always loved the whole world over.
Kensington Palace is not only the official residence of the future king and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but, adorning its state rooms, alongside paintings from the Royal Collection it houses a wonderful exhibition of famous royal dresses and, in 2017, it celebrates the life and style of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a major new exhibition, called Diana: Her Fashion Story, of her dresses and gowns.
Kensington Palace is open all year round and the exhibition runs until 2018, but special breaks including tickets for the exhibition and 5 star accommodation, that would befit royalty itself, are available on selected days throughout the summer.
It was part of the Queen’s Annus Horribilis of 1992 when Windsor Castle caught fire. The damage done to the building seemed to reflect the damage inflicted on the Royal family itself by a year that saw scandal after scandal rock the whole country.
Although the castle was back up and running, both as a tourist destination and as a home for the queen, within days, it took five years to restore some of the rooms that were destroyed on that tragic night. This November will mark the 20th anniversary of a special reception, held by the Queen on the completion of the restoration, as a thank you to everyone who worked on the restoration.
On 12 October there is a special event, during which visitors to the castle will be able to learn more about the castle, the fire and the restoration work that followed. This special visit begins in the Castle’s Winchester Tower with refreshments and an expert talk.
Windsor is close to London and is often the destination of day trips for tourists visiting London. If you want to spend longer there is a wide range of accommodation available in the town and there is a lot to enjoy, including walks round the Royal Park and cruises along the River Thames.
So, whatever you do this year and wherever you go, I hope you will join me in a very wishing Queen Elizabeth II and very happy birthday.
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