Destination Travel

How to be a tourist in Britain, the Royal way

They may be known for their stiff upper lip. But, boy, show the English a tiara and it turns them to mush.

The recent ‘Wedding of the Year’ between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry saw about 18 million Britons tune into live broadcasts, while an estimated 1,00,000 people packed into the grounds around Windsor Castle to catch a glimpse of the couple. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead reported a 40% boost in visitors in the weeks leading up to the wedding.

Clearly, the wedding is brilliant for tourism. Hotels and Airbnb are on full occupancy. There are revenue spikes for local restaurants and businesses. Souvenir shops are living their best dream. A recent visit to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in London proves this veneration of monarchy goes back centuries — display shelves are crammed with tin boxes, mugs, and sundry items with royal faces printed on them. Clearly, royalty has been great for business through the years.

Boom in tourism

Windsor has always been popular on tourist itineraries. However, the wedding mania is expected to only fuel its popularity further. Mighty Windsor Castle sits right next to the Windsor and Eton Central station accessible from Slough, in turn reachable from central London. You can also take a tube to Windsor and Eton Riverside station, or hop on one of the many tourist buses shuttling crowds.

What do you do to pass time if, unlike Elton John, David Beckham and Oprah, you’ve not snagged an invitation?

Walk around the castle past souvenir shops selling memorabilia, try out free fudge samples, or pop into a traditional tea room for scones.

How to be a tourist in Britain, the Royal way
 

Shops and hawkers sell Union Jacks, tiaras, and masks of royal faces, so tourists can pretend to be the monarch for the day if they are so inclined. You can even buy a bobble-head of the Queen for your car’s dashboard.

For £21.20, explore the Castle’s State Apartments, Grand Reception Room and St George’s Chapel (the site of the wedding) among other highlights.

When you’ve been saturated with grandeur, walk by the Thames, where you can feed the ‘royal’ swans, take a short cruise up the river on a boat with a bar, and marvel at the posh river-side apartments. The history of the monarchy is immeasurably more entertaining on a cruise over a stiff gin and tonic.

The 4.2-kilometre ‘Windsor Long Walk’, which housed the 1,00,000 visitors to the wedding, is flanked by manicured lawns, woods, and free-range deer. On a lucky day, you can spot hundreds of them grazing on the grounds.

How to be a tourist in Britain, the Royal way
 

Start at the gate for a view of the Copper Horse Statue of King George III and walk to the very end, for a stunning view of the Castle.

If you are gripped by the celebrity vibe of the town, head over next door to Eton to take in the Hogwarts-style surroundings of the elite all-boys Eton College grounds. Notable alumni include David Cameron and several other British Prime Ministers, actors Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston, and Princes William and Harry.

For the young-at-heart, Legoland Windsor is the place to hit for exciting rides, shows and attractions. And if you happen to share the youngest Prince’s name, you’re in for a treat, Louis! Enjoy free access to Legoland until July 19, 2018, thanks to the royal family.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 8:16:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/band-baaja-britain-get-a-taste-of-the-royal-experience/article23968039.ece

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