It’s going to be a serious knees-up. Picnics, pageants and a party at the Palace will all feature during the four-day Bank Holiday weekend from June 2 to 5 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The capital will be at its glorious best as a 41-gun salute from Green Park starts everything off with a bang.
So whether you fancy going on a day trip to soak up the atmosphere with a cream tea or slap-up lunch, or taking advantage of a special Jubilee package at a hotel, it will be a wonderful time to visit London.
Knees-up: The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations take place over a four-day Bank Holiday weekend from June 2 to 5
Get the Rolls-Royce treatment
Take a bike tour around Buckingham Palace, decorate your own ‘Elizabeth’ sponge cake or enjoy a flower-arranging class with McQueens florist. Pick any one of these activities as part of a Jubilee package at The Corinthia Hotel, on the Thames near Embankment.
The cost of £1,000 a night for a room includes breakfast, a themed Jubilee set menu for dinner, a bottle of champagne, access to the hotel’s impressive spa, a room upgrade as well as early check-in and late check-out subject to availability, and free parking and £100 hotel credit.
If that sounds expensive, compare it with the hotel’s Royal Fanfare package, which starts at a whopping £40,000 and includes collection by Rolls-Royce Phantom from your home, a five-course dinner, overnight in the Royal Penthouse and the whole spa to yourself (corinthia.com).
The Corinthia’s Royal Fanfare package starts at a whopping £40,000 and includes a stay in the Royal Penthouse (pictured)
The Corinthia package also includes collection by Rolls-Royce Phantom from your home, a five-course dinner and the whole spa to yourself. Pictured is the bedroom in the Royal Penthouse
Book a stay at Dukes London and you will receive a bottle of house champagne on your arrival, as well as a Jubilee afternoon tea served in the drawing room, pictured, and a Dukes picnic to enjoy in the Royal parks
Chelsea’s 11 Cadogan Gardens mixes contemporary furniture with period decor, such as an ornate antler chandelier and antique books. Pictured, the hotel’s Velasquez Suite
The Mayfair Townhouse is offering a special Jubilee cocktail in the sleek, atmospheric Dandy Bar, pictured, on arrival
With Green Park and St James’s Park as its back garden, and Buckingham Palace less than a ten-minute walk away, Dukes London makes a great base to celebrate the Jubilee. Book one of the elegantly decorated suites for a minimum of two nights and you will receive a bottle of house champagne on your arrival, as well as a Jubilee afternoon tea served in the drawing room and a Dukes picnic to enjoy in the Royal parks. Suites cost from £960 a night, with breakfast (dukeshotel.com).
At Chelsea’s 11 Cadogan Gardens, guests booking the Sovereign Suites receive a Platinum Jubilee cocktail on arrival, as well as a special afternoon tea and a complimentary upgrade to the next suite category, subject to availability.
Formerly four Victorian townhouses, the hotel mixes contemporary furniture with period decor, such as an ornate antler chandelier and antique books.
Sip champagne on the terrace and speculate which members of the Royal Family have visited, as well as celebrities from Elizabeth Hurley to Jane Seymour. The package is valid for stays from May 27 to June 30 and costs from £525 a night (11cadogangardens.com).
The hotel’s sister property, The Mayfair Townhouse, is welcoming guests with a complimentary Jubilee souvenir and in-room themed amenities. The Townhouse, full of fun touches with a peacock covered in 25,000 Swarovski crystals in reception and its fox mascot everywhere, also offers a special cocktail in the sleek, atmospheric Dandy Bar on arrival. The concierge can arrange trips to Windsor Castle and Hampton Court. A minimum two-night stay is needed, from £469 a night, with breakfast (themayfairtownhouse.com).
Or book the Fit For A Queen package at One Aldwych on the Strand. The two-night break includes a flight of cocktails from the Queen’s Menu, a bouquet of flowers to take home and tickets to Westminster Abbey, where Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen. Two nights’ B&B for two from £1,595 (onealdwych.com).
Bask in the shadow of Buckingham Palace
For a posh pad overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, Hotel 41 has 30 elegant black-and-white rooms, as well as a rooftop Zebra Bar with signature cocktails, and a mahogany-lined lounge offering complimentary snacks.
It has a five-night minimum stay over the Jubilee weekend, but if you stay for six nights, two of them are free, bringing the cost of a junior suite for three down to £1,200 a night (41hotel.com). It’s much less expensive in the contemporary rooms at the nearby Resident Victoria, where doubles start at £303 a night (residenthotels.com).
Or check in just down the road from the Palace at The Guardsman, a boutique hotel with 53 bedrooms named after British politicians and a distinct members-club feel.
Hotel guests have the run of a drawing room with comfy sofas and wingback chairs as well as the cool downstairs dining room and bar, reached by a spiral staircase in glass and gold. Rooms cost from £468 a night, but you need to check in before June 2 (guardsmanhotel.com).
For a posh pad overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, Hotel 41 has 30 elegant black-and-white rooms
It’s much less expensive in the contemporary rooms at the nearby Resident Victoria, where doubles start at £303 a night
Less than ten minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park, pictured, the Conrad London St James makes a comfortable base
Page8 – opposite the National Portrait Gallery and within easy walking distance of The Mall and Horse Guards Parade – has understated interiors, an artisan cafe in its lobby, pictured, and a Japanese fusion rooftop restaurant
Less than ten minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace and St James’ Park, the Conrad London St James makes a comfortable base. In the former Queen Anne’s Chambers, it has contemporary rooms from £415 a night and is planning a celebratory tea (hilton.com).
While other hotels are raising their rates for the Jubilee, Page8 – opposite the National Portrait Gallery and within easy walking distance of The Mall and Horse Guards Parade – is offering a 25 per cent discount. Guests will also receive a £50 voucher for beautician Ruuby’s and a bottle of English sparkling wine. The hotel has understated interiors, an artisan cafe in its lobby and a Japanese fusion rooftop restaurant. Three nights’ B&B for two costs from £973 (pagehotels.com).
Just a three-minute walk from Horse Guards Parade, Great Scotland Yard Hotel in an Edwardian building that was formerly the HQ of the Met has a tasteful crime theme running throughout its interiors. Be sure to try its Jubilee cocktail in the 40 Elephants bar, named after a gang of female thieves. A special afternoon tea using scents from Floris, the Queen’s Perfumers, is also planned. Rooms cost from £390 a night (hyatt.com).
Watch the royals at St Paul’s… from your room
If you want to watch the Royals arriving at the Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s on Friday, June 3, you can do so from some of the rooms at the top of the latest addition to Hilton’s Curio Collection, which opens in April with the intriguing name of Lost Property. Just 100 yards from the cathedral, its 145 rooms include St Paul’s junior suites and family rooms. In keeping with the name, the hotel’s decor will celebrate London’s lost railway stations, historic fashion trends and old city professions.
From May 30 and during the celebration weekend, the hotel will serve a special tea, with cakes and scones as well as sandwiches with a Royal twist, including coronation chicken sandwiches and truffle on tomato bread. Rooms cost from £340, including breakfast, tea for two and a bottle of prosecco on arrival. Tea for two for non-residents is £75 (lostpropertyhotel.com).
For a budget stay just a ten-minute walk from St Paul’s, take a look at Z Hotel City, which has compact, contemporary rooms from £125, not far from restaurants on the Strand and Aldwych (thezhotels.com).
A little further away, South Place Hotel is a 15-minute walk from the cathedral but has a collection of bright yellow bicycles guests can use, as well as a Secret Garden with retractable roof that is the perfect place for summer cocktails. With an impressive art collection, the hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant and more informal South Place Chop House, as well as family suites. Rooms from £355 (southplacehotel.com).
If you want to watch the Royals arriving at the Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s (pictured) on Friday, June 3, you can do so from some of the rooms at the top of the latest addition to Hilton’s Curio Collection, which opens in April with the intriguing name of Lost Property
South Place Hotel is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant with a terrace, pictured
Hotels with links to ‘the firm’
How about staying in the Queen’s childhood residence – or at least on the site of it? InterContinental London Park Lane was built at 145 Piccadilly, where the young Elizabeth lived at the top of the house, but the property was bombed in the Blitz. In homage to its location, the hotel has just added a Royal suite, although that will set you back £15,000 a night, so book a standard room instead and enjoy the special collection of art throughout the hotel.
This includes antique postcards, contemporary sketches of the Queen’s millinery and corgis, and limited-edition prints by Ann Carrington, who created the Royal Jubilee banner for the Royal Barge. Go horse riding in the park, then celebrate with a Golden Brooch cocktail made with tequila, blackcurrant and gold, with a flower garnish resembling the brooch presented to the Queen on her state visit to Mexico in 1975. Rooms cost from £462 a night (ihg.com).
Or perhaps you would rather stay in a Royal favourite? The Goring – which has a Royal Warrant – was where the Duchess of Cambridge stayed the night before her wedding, and was filled with Royalty attending the coronations of George VI and the Queen. The Queen Mother took a fancy to the restaurant’s Eggs Drumkilbo with lobster, which you can still eat there.
InterContinental London Park Lane was built at 145 Piccadilly, where the young Elizabeth lived at the top of the house, but the property was bombed in the Blitz
Fanfare: The Goring, a Royal favourite located close to Buckingham Palace, has a Jubilee package starting from £868 for two per night
The Langham, at Portland Place, has been a favourite with Royals since the opening was attended by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII
The Langham at Portland Place features a 50ft pool and spa, where they will make you feel like a queen for the day
Close to Buckingham Palace, the hotel will celebrate throughout the summer with its Jubilee Afternoon Tea, a special garden feature showcasing the Royal Family’s favourite flowers, and a Royal dressing-up box for children.
Try the Jubilee Fizz cocktail, combining Beirao and peach liqueurs with champagne as you peruse the restaurant menu with dishes that were served to guests staying for Her Majesty’s coronation, including filet de sole Edinburgh and parfait aux fraises Windsor.
A two-night Jubilee package includes breakfast, the Jubilee Bollinger tea, a Jubilee Fizz cocktail and a three-course dinner with champagne from £868 for two per night. During the Jubilee weekend, there is a four-night minimum stay, from £895 a night (thegoring.com).
Meanwhile The Langham, at Portland Place, has been a favourite with Royals since the opening was attended by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII. Diana, Princess of Wales, was a regular visitor in the early 1990s. Its rooms mix Victorian charm with modern amenities, but the hotel’s piece de resistance is its 50ft pool and spa, where they will make you feel like a queen for the day. Rooms cost from £540 a night (langhamhotels.com).
Bag a balcony suite at London Marriott Hotel County Hall (pictured) and you have superb views of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye
Bag a balcony suite at London Marriott Hotel County Hall and you have superb views of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and life on the river. The building, opened in 1922 by George V and Queen Mary as the local government headquarters, also has views from many of its bedrooms and public rooms. They include the atmospheric library, with its oak bookcases and historic busts, where you can eat as you watch life go by on the Thames.
If your name is Elizabeth, you can enjoy a complimentary afternoon tea costing £49 as long as you eat it with at least one other paying guest. Balcony suites cost from £1,035 a night, afternoon tea with free-flowing champagne £65pp (marriott.com).
For a bird’s-eye view of the river, and indeed of much of London, head to the iconic Shangri-La The Shard, on levels 34 to 52 of the glass-sided building just south of London Bridge. From April to September, the hotel will theme its food on the Queen’s travels around the world, with dishes from chefs at Shangri-La hotels from all over the Commonwealth.
For a bird’s-eye view of the river, and indeed of much of London, head to the iconic Shangri-La The Shard, on levels 34 to 52 of the glass-sided building just south of London Bridge
Many of the hotel bedrooms and TING Lounge look on to the Tower of London, which this summer is filling its moat with wild flowers, timed to burst into bloom for the Jubilee weekend. For a closer look at the Superbloom installation, the Shangri-La’s concierge can book guaranteed tickets to the Tower. Rooms cost from £769 a night (shangri-la.com).
Or stay by Tower Bridge at the Cheval Three Quays, which has 24 tower-facing apartments. Ranging from one to three bedrooms, the modern apartments come with a kitchenette and plush furnishings. For the celebrations, guests receive a welcome hamper with some of the Queen’s favourite goodies, including shortbread and biscuits from Edinburgh. There is a minimum three-night stay, with rates from £365 a night (chevalcollection.com).
Take the children
While many London hotels have child-friendly packages with bathrobes, teddies and children’s menus, The Athenaeum opposite Green Park goes one better with its own children’s concierge, who can organise everything from a kite-flying session to an in-room toybox. Book a room with an extra bed or cot, or plump for interconnecting rooms or residences with kitchens in them. Children under 12 get a complimentary breakfast. Rooms from £638 (athenaeumhotel.com).
On the other side of the river, Park Plaza County Hall may not be the most charismatic of hotels, but the modern building has rooms with kitchenettes as well as sofa beds. There are views of the city skyline, while a short walk from the door is Sea Life London Aquarium and the London Eye along with the Houses of Parliament. A studio for four costs from £358 (radissonhotels.com).
Park Plaza County Hall may not be the most charismatic of hotels, but the modern building has rooms with kitchenettes as well as sofa beds
While you’re there, sign the kids up for a two-hour Royal tour with former actor and puppeteer Gavin Skerritt, who gives youngsters tasks to complete as they learn about Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the soldiers who take part in it and the Kings and Queens they have protected over the centuries (£15 per adult, £12 per child, gavinwithag.com).
Or you can take a break from playing Kings and Queens and substitute a bit of magic instead. At the Georgian House hotel in Pimlico, would-be witches and wizards can stay with their parents in a Wizard Chamber, on the lower ground hall along a portrait-lined candlelit passageway. Expect stained-glass windows, archways, trunks and cauldrons, as well as the chance to take a potions class or to enjoy a wizard afternoon tea. When they’re ready to swap wands for crowns, it’s just a short hop to Buckingham Palace. Rooms for four cost from £422 with breakfast (georgianhousehotel.co.uk).
Bold B&Bs for those on a budget
There are just two bedrooms at The Garden Bed and Breakfast in Streatham, in a conservation area and close to a station with trains to London. Owners Winkle and her husband Philip have filled the Victorian mansion with treasures from their travels, while the award-winning garden is a beautiful spot in which to enjoy afternoon tea. The two bedrooms come with bathrobes, fresh flowers and soft lambswool throws. B&B from £110 for the double and £90 for the single (thegardenbedandbreakfast.com).
Newly opened last year, The Lost Poet in Portobello Road near Notting Hill Tube station has four rooms decorated in bold colours with eye-catching art. Guests get an app to let themselves in, and a breakfast bag is hung on the door. Those staying in The Muse can enjoy both a roof terrace and a freestanding bath. B&B doubles from £229 (thelostpoet.co.uk).
Newly opened last year, The Lost Poet in Portobello Road features a suite called The Muse which includes a roof terrace, pictured, and a freestanding bath
The Garden Bed and Breakfast in Streatham serves up two bedrooms and the award-winning garden is a beautiful spot in which to enjoy afternoon tea
If you’re after a really central location, it’s just a three-minute walk to either Harrods or Hyde Park from 37 Trevor Square, with its three comfortable bedrooms. Margaret, the hostess, serves a superb breakfast and is happy to help guests with reservations and information. B&B doubles from £200 (37trevorsquare.co.uk).
Or try booking one of the 17 modern rooms at B+B Belgravia, and apartments with kitchenettes just down the street at sister property Studio 82. Included in the price is complimentary bike hire and a continental breakfast. B&B doubles from £232 (bb-belgravia.com).
Further out, near Hammersmith, 31 Rowan Road has two studio apartments as well as a B&B room in the Victorian house with off-street parking.
The one to go for is the lower-ground-floor studio, with its own entrance and a fully equipped kitchen, which costs from £130 a night, with breakfast left in the fridge (abetterwaytostay.co.uk).
- Unless otherwise stated, prices are for the weekend from June 2. For more details on where to stay and what’s on in the capital, go to visitlondon.com.
Let the waves rule in your celebrations
You don’t have to stay on terra firma to enjoy the Jubilee. Book a cruise and you can have all the fun without any of the preparations – or clearing up. With that extra bank holiday, your celebratory getaway won’t make much of a dent in your annual leave allowance, either.
There is a host of opportunities to sail from UK ports, setting off in late May and early June, on cruises where you can watch all the pomp in London from a sun bed. Whether you are an ardent royalist or simply fascinated by the House of Windsor, the Round Britain & Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration cruise aboard Ambience is the one for you.
Sailing around the British Isles, you can hear Royal biographer Penny Junor and Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the Queen, among other experts giving an insight into palace life and talking about the history and future of the monarchy.
Pushing the boat out: The Queen and Prince Philip name P&O Cruises’ new flagship Britannia in 2015
Aboard the Lord of the Highlands you will sail through the Scottish Highlands, then among the lochs of Scotland’s west coast and the sounds of the Inner Hebrides, pictured, a favourite destination of the Queen and Prince Philip for summer holidays aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia
Ashore, you can explore parts of all four of the home nations, in Belfast, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Skye, Orkney, Anglesey and the Isles of Scilly – as well as Guernsey and Honfleur in Normandy. The 12-night cruise, sailing from Tilbury on May 26, is from £1,516pp, including drinks and gratuities (ambassador cruiseline.com).
Princess Cruises is pushing the boat out on its sailings from Southampton over the Jubilee weekend, aboard Emerald Princess and Sky Princess, so make sure to pack your best red, white and blue outfit for the Royal Night knees-up. Sweet treats will include Pimm’s and strawberries and the winning dessert in Fortnum & Mason’s Platinum Pudding contest.
Rest assured, you need not miss a moment of the celebrations on land. Screens on the sun decks will show live coverage of Trooping the Colour, the service of thanksgiving from St Paul’s Cathedral and the Platinum Party at the Palace. Choose to sail on Sky Princess and you can hear a talk by Grant Harrold, a former butler to the Prince of Wales, and enjoy Princess’s own take on the Royal Variety Show in the theatre.
Emerald Princess sails for 12 nights on June 2 on a British Isles with Orkney Islands cruise. Fares from £599pp. Sky Princess sails for seven nights to Scandinavia on May 28, from £729pp, and again for seven nights to the Norwegian fjords on June 4, from £619pp (princess.com).
Aboard Emerald Princess and Sky Princess sweet treats will include Pimm’s and strawberries and the winning dessert in Fortnum & Mason’s Platinum Pudding contest
Hebridean Princess, the Queen’s choice for a family cruise for her 80th birthday, is sold out for the cruise over Jubilee weekend, but you can join her equally luxurious stablemate, Lord of the Highlands. First you will sail through the Scottish Highlands on the Caledonian Canal, then among the lochs of Scotland’s west coast and the sounds of the Inner Hebrides, a favourite destination of the Queen and Prince Philip for summer holidays aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.
On June 5, the bunting will be out for a ‘street party’ on deck to celebrate with all the parties back home. A seven-night, all-inclusive Highland Waterways Discovery cruise from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh on Lord of the Highlands, departing on May 30 costs from £3,850pp (hebridean.co.uk).
With the Union Jack proudly on the bows of the six ships of the P&O fleet, there is no doubt there will be celebrations galore in the first week of June. All the ships will be sailing round trips from Southampton in May and June apart from Azura, offering fly-cruises from Valletta, the Maltese capital where the Queen spent two happy years as a Navy wife when Prince Philip was stationed there from 1949 to 1951.
Azura will sail on a two-week fly-cruise from Valletta on May 26, with fares from £1,399pp, including flights. A no-fly cruise to the Mediterranean aboard Britannia – launched by the Queen in 2015 – sails from Southampton on May 29 for 14 nights. The cost is from £1,319pp (pocruises.com).
Fred Olsen promises lots to mark the Jubilee across the fleet. A Norwegian Fjords & Mighty Waterfalls cruise aboard Borealis sails for nine nights from Liverpool on May 25. Fares are from £1,499pp (fredolsencruises.com).
By Caroline Hendrie