Royal treatment: the chicest way to see London in May

As the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle draws closer—May 19th, to be exact—London is deep in royal wedding fever. Tatler, the go-to glossy of England’s upper echelons, has infinite takes on the nuptials—how to organise a royal hen or stag do, a history of royal wedding dresses—while travel agents craft Windsor-themed tours and viewing parties (Firmdale Hotels are offering scone-abundant afternoon teas), and pubs extend their hours for gin-soaked celebrations. For those stopping by Blighty to see the stately spring union, we’ve made a list of must-dos that hit all the right notes: elegant and royally beloved, occasionally with a dash of LA cool. (And for the flight over? We’d say a back-to-back session of Suits is in order.)

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The hotel

Stay at least a night in Soho Farmhouse, a discreet members’ club-come-chic lodging set in 100 acres of pristine Oxfordshire countryside. It’s little wonder Meghan hosted her hen’s festivities here: the surrounds are green and idyllic, the skyline dotted with spires and domes.

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The sweet treat

Since Queen Victoria’s wedding, tradition has it that guests at England’s most enviable reception will sup on fruit cake. Harry and Meghan, however, are dining differently: serving up buttercream-topped lemon and elderflower cake from Violet Cakes. Don’t leave the Hackney bakery—helmed by Californian pastry chef Claire Ptak—without sampling their super-light coconut macaroons. 

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The flowers

Order fresh blooms to your hotel suite courtesy of Philippa Craddock. According to UK Vogue, Craddock’s bridal arrangement will include twisting branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, plus garden roses, peonies and foxgloves plucked from the gardens of Crown Estate and Windsor Park.

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The posh pub

Pair your pint or gin-plus-elderflower number with a gastro pub lunch at The Chelsea Ram—with its colour-coded bookshelves and gilt mirrors—or The Hollywood Arms, a socialite magnet, decorated with just the right amount of English eccentricity.

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The amble

Is there anything the English love more than a fair-weather stroll, a saunter through parkland and palaces? After an obligatory stop at Hyde Park, there’s plenty of ways to see the city’s spring colours. Walk through the grove at the south end of Avenue Gardens in Regent’s Park for delicate cherry blossoms, around Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath for sweeping, green views, or try the tree-lined path from Blackheath to Greenwich. (At the end of the latter, The Thames Clipper boat will sail you back to central London.)

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The retail spots

London is packed with royal shopping haunts. Erdem (with a Mayfair flagship), Stella McCartney and Giles Deacon have all been tipped as frontrunners for the wedding gown designer, as has NZ-born Emilia Wickstead, whose wares are found at Harvey Nicholas, and Ralph & Russo, whose Mayfair maison is by-appointment only. 

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For neat pocket notebooks and personalised stationary, Frank Smythson of Bond Street (the family’s official supplier) should be your go-to. For countrified wellington boots, it-girl pick Hunter holds two royal warrants, and for odd rain days, shop at Fulton Umbrellas, home to the youthful, see-through birdcage shape brandished by young royals and the Queen Mother alike. And for everything else, it’s Fortnum & Mason. (The grand department store also happens to have invented the scotch egg.)

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