Head to the capital for an array of activities to make the most of the coronation weekend
Picnic in a park
Whatever the weather, London’s parks will be the place to be to hang out, relax and spend time celebrating and soaking up the atmosphere of coronation day. Being on Buckingham Palace’s doorstep, St James’ Park and Green Park will both be busy, but they’re both pretty big, so you should be able to find a spot for your picnic blanket. However, if you struggle, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are great alternative and even more spacious. Pack your own picnic, or for an extra treat, check out the hotels in the area, as many will be creating special hampers that visitors can reserve and pick up. Or, grab a supermarket sandwich platter
– and don’t forget the prosecco.
Made to order sandwich platters, M&S, from £12.40
Experience a river cruise
This is the perfect way to take in the capital’s iconic riverside landmarks. Over the coronation weekend, the boats will be specially decorated in celebration. During the cruise, the captains provide information and entertaining commentary, as well as sharing the history of the city and anecdotes about modern life in London. Whether you’re on the open upper deck or in the comfortable indoor salons, it’s guaranteed you’ll enjoy the panoramic views of the city’s best sights, including the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Tate Modern, South Bank, Houses of Parliament and more.
Coronation sightseeing cruise from £12 per person, book online at Cityexperiences.com
Enjoy a Coronation party
The Stafford London hotel is just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and has long been a favoured destination of the royal family. The coronation procession will pass close by the building and the RAF flypast will pass right over the courtyard of the hotel’s famed American Bar. On Saturday 6 May, the hotel will be welcoming guests to celebrate the big royal occasion with a street party-style event in the American Bar courtyard itself. The space will be fully decorated in the spirit of the event, and there will be music, outdoor games, and a selection of the best British party food. On arrival, you’ll be greeted with a glass of English sparkling wine, before going onto enjoy the entertainment and delicious food.
Prices from £135 per person, with two sittings 12pm or 3.30pm For tickets call 020 7493 0111 or visit Thestaffordlondon.com
A themed afternoon tea
Give yourself a royal treat with in an afternoon tea at The Rubens at The Palace hotel, overlooking the royal mews of Buckingham Palace. Not only will you be amazed at the splendour of this beautiful five-star hotel, the spread they offer is also out of this world. Tuck into an array of sandwiches, with fillings including coronation chicken and smoked salmon. You’ll also be served scones, pastries, and sweet treats. There are special menus on offer during the celebrations, including a Coronation Afternoon Tea (6 May, £120pp) and King’s Coronation Street Party Afternoon Tea (7 May, £99pp).
Champagne Royal Afternoon tea, £90 per person. Dietary needs and are catered for, book online at Rubenshotel.com
Luxury weekend trip
Adria hotel in Kensington
For a blow-the-budget trip, indulge yourself to a “Royal Stay” at the luxurious Adria hotel in Kensington. Sitting between the V&A, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and located in a beautiful boutique Victorian townhouse with all the trimmings, it’s the perfect regal location to enjoy the celebrations. During your two-night stay you can witness the events taking place across the weekend and watch the pageantry while enjoying a delightful Harrods picnic hamper full of sweet and savoury treats fit for a king. The stay also includes a guided walking tour of South Kensington to learn about the rich history of the royal borough. Led by knowledgeable and passionate guides, you’ll be taken on a journey through the streets showcasing the regal landmarks of the area and stunning architecture.
Prices from £1,500 for two for a two-night “Royal Stay” with breakfast, afternoon tea, Harrods picnic hamper, two-hour guided walking tour and a bottle of Champagne. Available from 1-31 May 2023, Book online at Theadria.com
Enjoy a night in a classic hotel
The capital’s oldest railway hotel, the Great Northern, stands proudly in a grade II listed landmark building in the heart of King’s Cross, just a stone’s throw from the shopping and restaurants of Coal Drops Yard. Boasting 88 en-suite bedrooms, each is carefully designed to celebrate the architecture and heritage of the building and the glamour of the railway age. At the hub of the hotel is the vibrant and buzzy GNH Bar & Terrace, and diners and drinkers alike will be impressed by newly opened RAILS Restaurant & Little Bar with it’s delicious menu of British food and an impressive list of cocktails. During the coronation weekend they will also be serving a special themed afternoon tea to enjoy with the celebrations.
Room rate from £329, book online Gnhlondon.com
Coach trip to London
The crowning of a new monarch is as good an excuse as any to visit the nation’s capital. National Holidays are offering a special package to celebrate. As well as self-drive options, they also offer the chance to travel by coach. With various pick-up locations, you’ll be driven to your hotel just outside the capital, where you’ll stay before being driven into town. You’ll have all day to soak up the atmosphere and explore the attractions – including The Mall and Buckingham Palace – and cheer the new King, before spending another night in your hotel and heading home. Bring your own party poppers!
The King’s Coronation Weekend, from 5 -7 May 2023, costs £199 per person and includes a two-night hotel stay, with breakfast and travel. Book at Nationalholidays.com.
Watch a show
Over two night’s London Cabaret Club will be hosting a special new performance called Kings & Queens. This immersive cabaret experience will be steeped in royal history, featuring majestic live performances, sumptuous dining, and quintessentially British cocktails. The coronation show will take you on an action-packed tour celebrating notable monarchs, including Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, King George V and Queen Elizabeth II, culminating in King Charles III. Tuck into fabulous food inspired by key moments from each of their reigns and wonder at the dramatic vintage costumes and expertly choreographed dance routines, featuring stars from London’s West End.
Running the 5-6 May, prices from £95, including entertainment, reserved area, three-course meal, and evening party with DJs. Book at Thelondoncabaretclub.com
Visit a royal attraction
There are so many places to visit with royal connections that you could spend more than a weekend taking it all in. The obvious choices are the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Kensington Palace, to name a few, but many of the museums and galleries will be also hosting royal-themed exhibitions. Be aware these will be closed on coronation day itself, so you’ll need to visit the days either side. However, while the palace will be closed on 6 May, the gardens at Hampton Court will be open and are worth a visit, especially the children’s play areas.
Hampton Court prices from £26 (adult), £13 (child), £46.50 (family). Book online at Hrp.org.uk
If you can’t get to the capital, Hawkstone House Hall and Gardens in Shrewsbury is putting on its own royal celebration, with an afternoon tea and a screening of the Coronation Concert on 7 May. It’s a great alternative if London really is out of your reach or you don’t fancy the crowds. A traditional British afternoon tea will be served in the grand setting of Hawkstone’s Ballroom, which feature’s gold-gilded ceilings, making it a fittingly opulent location to experience the occasion, before a live stream
of the concert is shown on big screens.
From £45 per person, book online at Hawkstonehall.co.uk
Arts and crafts at the Royal Mews
After the pomp and pageantry of the coronation on the Saturday, head to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace to see some of the beautiful carriages used in the previous day’s processions. Explore the finest working stables in the world, admire the ornate decorations, and see the amazing gold State Coach. Then it’s time to get creative in the Livery Room and enjoy some coronation-themed arts and crafts. Decorate a sparkly crown or enjoy a range of fun activities suitable for all ages.
Arts and crafts are free with tickets to the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace. Prices from £15 (adult), £10 (child). Under five’s are free. Book online at Tickets.rct.uk. Activities available 7-8 May
Words: Zoe Bishop