More than 37 million people are expected to travel through the United Kingdom in 2018. And while most will be there to take in the country’s rich history, many more will undoubtedly make the journey to take in the biggest event of the year: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding.
According to Visit Britain, the couple’s nuptials will likely attract upwards of 4 million extra visitors and bring in an additional $2.7 billion for the local economy.
What should one do while visiting for such a spectacular event? Travel + Leisure sat down with a local expert, Tatiana Moses, one of American Express Travel’s destination managers, to find out where tourists visiting London for the wedding should eat, drink, and celebrate royal history.
“I wanted to share some places that are my personal favorites,” Moses said of the itinerary she created for us as we sat at dimly lit but supremely iconic American Bar at The Savoy, which as it turns out, is also a favorite haunt of the entire royal family.
“Some of the spots are off the beaten track, some are very trendy and popular, and some are part of this new wave,” Moses said.
Here are the restaurants to eat at, the excursions to take, and more ways to celebrate the royal family, the country’s history, and Meghan and Harry’s very bright future — even if you don't have an invitation to the wedding.
Where to Stay:
If you’re heading to London, try booking a stay at the Ham Yard Hotel. Not only will the lavish rooms and amenities impress you, but the Ham Yard also happens to be located in the very hip neighborhood of Soho, which is an alleged favorite area of Harry and Meghan’s.
The Ham Yard Hotel features 91 individually designed rooms and suites, along with an original 1950s bowling alley, a 190-seat cinema, a private rooftop bar, and an extremely well-appointed spa and gym where you might even be inspired to work out as hard as Prince Harry.
To book: expedia.com
If you’re going to London strictly for the wedding then there’s one place you absolutely have to stay: The Grosvenor House Suites. Why? Because it’s Meghan’s favorite hotel in the city.
"I can give you the most honest answer; it's my favorite property I've ever stayed at," Meghan said in an interview in 2015. "I'm very fortunate that I have the luxury of staying at so many amazing places, but the service, and being able to stay somewhere where it feels like home, where every need is anticipated, it's all fantastic. I really love it here and I'm happy to be staying."
It’s no surprise she loves the hotel so much. It is, after all, a stone’s throw away from Kensington Palace and offers several luxury-serviced apartments that overlook Hyde Park.
To book: expedia.com
The royal family may know London better than any other group, so why not stay exactly where they recommend?
The Goring Hotel, which is the closest hotel to Buckingham palace, is a royal warrant holder, making it the favored hotel of Queen Elizabeth II and her family.
Indeed, Kate Middleton stayed here with her family the night before her 2011 wedding to Prince William, so it would be no surprise if Meghan did the same before her wedding on May 19.
Beyond the gorgeous rooms and around-the-clock butler service, guests can also enjoy the hotel’s restaurant, which has a Michelin star, for both dining and afternoon tea.
To book: expedia.com
Where to Eat:
There may be no better place in London to eat breakfast or brunch than Duck and Waffle. The restaurant, located on the 40th floor of the 110 Bishopsgate, not only boasts the best views in town, but also offers 24/7 service to hungry patrons. There, guests can chow down on everything from pig’s ears and eggs, to, you guest it, duck and waffles.
But the star of the show is definitely the view. Make sure to request a table along the windows so you can look out on the Queen's entire kingdom below.
A visit to the London, or the United Kingdom in general, for that matter, would not be complete without afternoon tea. But, since we’re discussing Harry and Meghan — the young, cool members of the royal family — we must advise you to visit Sketch.
Sketch is by far the chicest place you’ll get a cup of tea in the city. There, guests sit in a deep-pink dining area and are served by wait staff wearing coats and ties. Once seated guests then pick from an assortment of hundreds of teas. If you want to get truly fancy, you can order their champagne afternoon tea, which includes bubbly and caviar. How regal of you.
Bocca di Lupo may legitimately be one of the only restaurants in town where you have a chance of actually spotting Meghan and Harry in the flesh.
According to Elle, the former Suits star is a big fan of Bocca di Lupo, an Italian restaurant located in London's Soho neighborhood, right around the corner from The Ham Yard Hotel.
There, Meghan perhaps dines on spaghetti and mussels, enjoys some grilled quail on bruschetta, or loads up on her favorite vegetables including braised chickpeas with tomato, chili, and mint. But, no matter what you (or Meghan) eat there it’s bound to be delicious.
What to Do:
If you’re coming to check out the royal wedding, why not go check out where the royals live, too? You can do that by simply taking a Kensington Palace tour.
Sure, you can’t exactly see the cottage where Harry and Meghan reside, but you can get an up close and personal look at the way royals before them lived.
On the tour, visitors can see the Kensington gardens, walk through the new Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibit, and see where Harry’s great-great-great-grandparents and so forth partied throughout the night. And don’t for one second think this tour is boring. Trust us, you’ll learn some pretty weird stuff along the way.
While in town make sure to take some time to go visit the Tower of London, home to the Crown Jewels. There, you can sneak a peek at all the luxury gems the Queen owns, including the tiara she lent to Kate Middleton on her wedding day, and a few of the tiaras she could lend to Meghan on May 19.
If you really want to make this event unique try booking an after-hours tour. Then, you’ll get a private guide and get to see the jewels in a much more intimate way.
The rest of this list is highly posh, but while visiting this gorgeous city, take a bit of time to venture out to vibrant East London.
Here, visitors can take a number of street art tours to explore the various nooks filled with colorful, playful, and politically charged art from some of the city's most well-known artists.