How to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee and party like it’s 1952
London hotels and restaurants are rolling out the red carpet to give their guests the royal treatment
Party like it’s 1952: The UK is gearing up to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee — that’s 70 years since her ascension to the throne.
Hotels and restaurants are rolling out the red carpet to give their guests the royal treatment, from chauffeured trips in a Rolls-Royce Phantom to cake from a baker who made the wedding cake for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. There’s even a limited-edition Barbie doll. Celebrations will culminate in a four-day weekend in June.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, a trade body, says that £140bn (R2.8-trillion) was lost during lockdowns, and the mood among its member businesses remains cautious in the face of cost-of-living headwinds. Britain’s inflation rate surged to a 40-year high of 9% in April.
“In spite of it all, there’s certainly excitement being generated by the Jubilee Bank Holiday, which will undoubtably bring a positive mood to the country,” she says.
The excitement is being felt by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who travelled to the US last month to “bang the drum” to attract global visitors back to Britain’s capitol. “The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the reign of Queen Elizabeth,” he told Bloomberg, “and I encourage visitors from America and all around the world to come to London and soak in the atmosphere and energy of this historic occasion.”
Visitors from the US make up the highest proportion of foreign travellers to London.
“The royal family really resonates with Americans — the history and heritage and chance to visit and have an afternoon tea,” says Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners. She sees the Jubilee as a huge moment for the capital, a chance to celebrate after Covid-19’s decline with a very strong recovery in tourism.
Here are some of the most luxurious places to stay and eat to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, from a Queen-size hotel splurge to a high tea for your canine compatriots.
The Corinthia Royal Experience
Thomas Kochs, MD of the five-star Corinthia hotel, says the entire nation is “beyond excited” about the celebration, and the hotel has been putting together luxury packages for fans of the royals who want something “incredibly special to indulge.”
The Corinthia’s Royal Experience package doesn’t come cheap, at £48,000 (R949,806) for a three-night stay over the Jubilee weekend. For that sum, the luxury hotel will chauffeur guests from the airport to the Royal Penthouse in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. There, a private butler will serve afternoon tea with finger sandwiches adorned with caviar and gold leaf. The butler will then create “golden” cocktails to be enjoyed on the terrace while the guests look up at the Trooping of the Colour fly-by from the Royal Air Force and admire views of central London.
Guests can then relax with ESPA spa treatments as they work up appetites for dinner from Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge: his winning banqueting dish from The Great British Menu, enjoyed in a secluded dining room. The next day will start with a Champagne breakfast in bed followed by a private tour of London on Brompton bikes before a late checkout.
“We’re looking for the jewel in the crown, and this is the pinnacle of what a hotel can do,” says Kochs.
Should £48,000 break the bank, the hotel is also offering a standard package called Royal London Calling, which comes with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne and an English breakfast. Rates start at around £1,400
This Mayfair institution is one of London’s most established luxury hotels and has played host to the Queen several times over her reign. She viewed fashion shows there in the 1950s, held a family dinner to celebrate her 60th birthday, and celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with the Duke of Edinburgh at the hotel. The hotel’s archivist will be marking all this royal history by showcasing items from her coronation, along with original photos of her visits to the hotel. If you work up a thirst during your visit, toast the moment with five new cocktails in the hotel’s bars, including the Windsor Rose, first served on Coronation Day in 1953, or the whisky-forward Royal Stag, a nod to the Queen’s love for the Scottish Highlands. Nightly rates from £1,320
The Goring Afternoon Tea
This luxury hotel in Belgravia is filled with royal connections. It’s where Kate Middleton got ready for her wedding to Prince William in 2011. The Queen Mother was a regular in the Goring dining room. The hotel is marking the occasion with a Jubilee Stay package that includes an afternoon tea for two, cocktails with canapés, and a three-course dinner with Champagne. It has also launched a menu called Seven Dishes for Seven Decades, including such throwback delights as a coronation chicken salad first created in 1953 and a classic beef burger that the hotel says will rekindle memories of the ’90s. Rates from £863 a night for a Jubilee Stay, or £60 for the Jubilee tea.
The Standard Hotel Cake
The first Standard hotel outside the US, in King’s Cross, is getting into the Jubilee spirit with Clair Ptak of Violet Cakes, who baked the famous wedding cake for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Guests booking the Slice of Royalty Package will enjoy a rich, dark-chocolate cake spiked with blackcurrant violet liqueur and filled with a compote of English blackcurrants and a violet buttercream, all washed down with a bottle of Champagne to mark the occasion. The best part: You won’t need Prince Harry’s bank account to book it. From £409 a night
Petersham Nurseries Party
This celebrity favourite in West London is transforming its Richmond home with a summer fete on June 3 and 4. Visitors will be greeted by an installation of seasonal plants and flowers crafted by director of horticulture Thomas Broom-Hughes in the patriotic colours of red, white, and blue. Street-party classics such as coronation chicken sandwiches, Scotch eggs, and sausage rolls will be served with Italian-inflected grilled flatbreads and England’s summertime favourite, strawberries and cream. Beer, cider, and cocktails will amp up festive spirits. Petersham is only minutes from the Thames, so revellers can take their treats for a serene stroll along the river. No booking or tickets required
The Rosewood Street Party
On June 5, the Rosewood will host a Jubilee party in its courtyard, inspired by the traditional British street party. Bunting will adorn the belle époque façade of the hotel, which will have put forth a red carpet, live music, and even its own royal guards to mark Her Majesty’s seven decades of service. Guests can start the celebration with a glass of bubbles and then wash down blue lobster, Marie Rose brioche, and freshly baked scones, not to mention their fill of cakes and pastries. Prices start at £275 per person for the party.
Fortnum & Mason Jubilee Tea Salon
The tea salon at Fortnum & Mason was formally opened by the Queen in 2012 at the last Jubilee. Ten years later, it’s a fantastic option to celebrate this one. Enjoy a choux pastry shaped like a swan and finished with a real rose petal — a reference to the monarch as owner of all the swans in England, a decree in place since the 12th century. Fun facts aside, Fortnum & Mason has a royal warrant for a reason. It does high tea right, with service that is always impeccable. Afternoon tea from £70 a person
Shangri-La at the Shard Skyline Jubilee Afternoon Tea
London’s tallest building is offering high tea with sky-high views to mark the Jubilee. The Shangri-La’s TĪNG lounge is decorated for the occasion in the style of an English garden complete with a ceiling of hanging wisteria. Desserts on offer for the tea include a pearlescent tonka, vanilla, and strawberry gateaux called the Pearl of the Queen, and a miniature chocolate and raspberry Shard building for two to share. Afternoon tea from £65
Mayfair Street Party
One of London’s toniest neighbourhoods will be holding a street party on June 2 and 3, and you don’t have to be a local to join in the festivities. North Audley Street will transform itself for the occasion, complete with treats from local favourites. A mint-green Nyetimber bus will offer English sparkling wine, which can be paired with gelato from the Connaught Patisserie’s ice cream stall or special jubilee takeaway sushi boxes from Roka Mayfair. A more traditional fish and chips from the Mayfair Chippie is also available. No booking or tickets required
Dog Jubilee Tea
The 96-year-old monarch loves dogs. She’s been fond of Welsh corgis since she was a child, and they’ve become associated with her during her reign. Starting with Dookie, her first, she’s had more than 30 corgis over the years in Buckingham Palace. Notwithstanding a similar event at the Biltmore, the Great Scotland Yard hotel will be launching a Dog Jubilee Tea for those interested in celebrating royally with their dogs. Here, the pampered pooches will get finely decorated china bowls filled with organic meat and vegetables, homemade doggy cake, and biscuits. Their human friends will be served savoury finger sandwiches and pastries, including a Violet Battenburg and an Imperial State Crown Lime Cookie. Prices start at £49 a person and £25 per dog
The Londoner’s Jubilee Summer Series
God save the Queens! Leicester Square’s boutique hotel will kick off festivities with a special performance of the Queer Queen’s Cabaret on June 2. The party at the Londoner will begin with a set by host and DJ Dolly Trolly and proceed with burlesque performances by Kitty Bang Bang and comedy by Jen Ives. Drag Queen Marmalade and Paige Three and Drag King Don One will perform in the intimate Green Room. The bustling location promises a night of royal razzle-dazzle with a celebration of the West End’s LGBTQ community. Tickets from £45
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