By Nina Derham in London—
Many Brits feel that foreigners often take more of an interest in the royal family than they do. However, Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011 has been a constant theme in the media since it was announced last November and the British public has been lapping it up. Even those who are planning on escaping “royal-mania” are grateful to the happy couple for having granted an extra day off work in honor of the event.
So whether you’re a royal fanatic or not, being in London over the royal wedding weekend will undoubtedly be an exciting time to explore the capital, as well as an excellent excuse for a jolly royal knees up! There are tons of plans for fun and celebrations, many of which won’t be confirmed until the last minute.
Here are some budget-friendly tips to get your royal weekend in London off to a flying start:
The Royal Procession
Official Web site
If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple in the flesh then your best bet it to bag a spot along the procession route.
Once the service finishes around midday the couple will make their way to Buckingham Palace, passing some of London’s most iconic landmarks as they go. The carriage procession is set to travel from Westminster Abbey, passing the Houses of Parliament and down Horse Guards Parade. The procession will then go down The Mall, passing by St James’ Park and Clarence House before arriving at Buckingham Palace.
Once you have decided from where to watch the procession, be sure to take supplies and get there early. The streets will be packed, but the atmosphere promises to be buzzing with excitement! Check out the official Royal Wedding Web site for information about the procession, service and reception.
This beautiful central London park was the scene of much merrymaking when Prince Charles married Diana in 1981 and it is set to be the ultimate location for some royal partying in 2011, too.
Exact plans for the Hyde Park party haven’t been confirmed yet but the word on the street is that, come rain or shine, huge screens in the park showing the wedding will attract over 200,000 people. There are also whisperings that there will be live music and fairground rides to keep everyone entertained.
South Bank Festival
London’s classy riverside South Bank will be hosting its very own “Royal Wedding Weekend” from Friday April 29 – Monday May 2.
The four-day event will be packed with fun activities, many of which are free, including live music, bingo, art exhibitions, a royal wedding party where couples can take their “first dance” and even a comedic “alternative wedding reception” for those who didn’t receive an invite to the real one.
Tasty tidbits will also be on offer from the Real Street Food Market, with a strict “no grease” policy. Visitors will be treated to tasty, ethically produced food from all over the world–the perfect way to sample some of modern day London’s cosmopolitan flavor. Visit the South Bank Centre Web site for a full list of details.
Camp Royale: Cheap sleeping
The party is set to go on day and night with the opening of Camp Royale, a pop-up campsite on South London’s Clapham Common.
Organizers are planning to charge £75 per person for three nights’ camping on the common, making it both an affordable and unique way to stay in London. The idea is currently being contested by the local council and we are waiting to see if this wacky idea will move forward. If it takes your fancy then check their Web site to see if the Camp Royale will be open for business.
Guide to Royal London: the eBook
If you’re looking for a guide to the royal wedding, Frommer’s travel guides recently published “The Royal Wedding: How to See the Sights on the Big Day and Happily Ever Afterwards.” It’s a natty little “eBook” written by self-professed royal fanatic, Dinah Hatch. It covers information on the royal family, a procession map, and lists of the royals favorite shops, eats and drinks. The eBook can be downloaded for £2.99.
Your royal plans?
Do you plan to visit London during the royal wedding? Tell us about your plans in the comments section!