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60 ideas for a Royal day out in London

This Jubilee year, give your plans a royal makeover...

If you're looking for things to do in London, or want to give someone special the royal treatment, there's nowhere better than Regent Street and St James's. On one hand, there's the vast open spaces of the Royal Parks, bookmarked by palaces and sites of cultural importance close by, and then there's shopping with Royal Warrant Holders, numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, and brilliant, bustling hotels. There's something for everyone, whether that’s a timeless afternoon tea or the opening ceremonies of the world’s most famous toy shop — it's all happening in London’s West End.

Plus, to coincide with the Queen's 70th year on the throne there’s a wealth of extra special activities this summer and beyond. We'll see you there!

Must-visit Royal attractions

1. Observe the Changing of the Guards - A regal day out isn’t complete without witnessing the pomp and ceremony of the daily Changing of the Guards, a British tradition since 1660. Watch from nearby Horse Guards Parade and take a peek behind-the-scenes inside the stables at the Household Cavalry Museum

2. Check if the Queen’s at home A building that needs little introduction, Queen Elizabeth II’s official London residence is just a short walk away. Fun fact: if the Royal Standard flag is flying above Buckingham Palace, the Queen is in residence.

3. Snap a photo at St James’s Palace - A spectacular example of Tudor architecture, St James’s Palace was built under the instruction of Henry VIII in the 1530s. Today, it remains an important location for the Royals and contains the London residences of The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra.

4. Tour London’s Royal Warrant Holders - A walking tour is a brilliant way to discover the stories of our streets and local Royal Warrant Holders: chosen suppliers to the Royal Family. Explore the rich history of the area and book a tour with Look Up London.

Explore London's Royal Parks

5. Stroll through St James’s ParkLondon's oldest park, St James’s Park is flanked by three palaces: Westminster, now the Houses of Parliament, St James's Palace and Buckingham Palace. With 23 hectares to explore, you can easily lose an afternoon enjoying the sunshine in such serene surrounds.

6. Capture the picture-perfect view from the Blue BridgeStep into your own fairytale and snap a photo on the Blue Bridge across St James’s Park lake. See Buckingham Palace to the west and Big Ben and the London Eye to the east. 

7. Visit Hyde Park's scent-sational Rose Garden - Nearby Hyde Park is full of things to do, but we love the serene Rose Garden, filled with bountiful blooms and herbaceous plants.

Treat your royal family to the perfect day out 

8. Picnic in a Royal ParkMake the most of sunny days in the city by visiting British institution Fortnum & Mason and curating the perfect hamper of savouries and sweets. Our favourite picnic spot is at the north end of St James’s Park.

9. Count the pelicans in St James’s ParkPay a visit to the lake in St James’s Park and spot the six pelicans in residence. Everyday between two and three in the afternoon, they’re served a fish lunch which makes for a fun observation.

10. Catch an opening ceremony the world's oldest and largest toy shopHamleys is a must-see (and play) destination for families. Get here early to watch the daily opening ceremonies and meet Hamley and Hattie bears.

11. Inspire modern masters at the Royal Academy of ArtFounded in 1755, this creative institution continues to be one of the capital's most exciting art galleries, and with children under 16 going free, it’s the perfect opportunity to inspire their creativity. 

12. Enjoy a family meal at Heddon Street KitchenOpt for a delicious feast at Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen, where children can have their very own versions of adult dishes at family-friendly prices.

13. Explore a momentous new installation in St James's Market Pavilion - just behind the screens in St James's Market, see Jennifer Abessira's graphic tribute to Her Majesty’s historic reign.

14. Share a quintessential British tradition - Introduce little ones to a time honoured tradition with the bespoke children’s afternoon tea at The Langham. We love its cute jigsaw sandwiches served with hot chocolate - although kids can take tea if they prefer.

Sample London’s best afternoon tea

From the quirky to the classic, London’s full of exceptional afternoon tea experiences. Reportedly served afternoon tea daily, this is one royal habit we’d happily adopt. Get started with some of our favourites: 

15. The afternoon tea for everyone: The LanghamCited as the birthplace of afternoon tea, there’s no better place to take part in this tradition than at The Langham, located at the northernmost point of Regent Street. With vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free delicacies available, guests are guaranteed to leave with a smile.

16. The traditional one: The Ritz Taking afternoon tea at The Ritz is a must for anyone looking for an afternoon of unbridled luxury and hospitality. Sit in its Palm Court and choose your tea with the help of its tea sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu, the only person with this role at a UK hotel, as live music soundtracks your experience.

17. The Jubilee-inspired one: Hotel Café Royal Don’t miss the new Queen's Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea at Hotel Café Royal this summer. Expect sandwiches inspired by Her Majesty’s Royal residences and sweet treats playing homage to her favourite fashion accessories. 

18. The Royal-approved one: Fortnum & Mason - A Royal Warrant Holder, Fortnum & Mason has been serving tea since 1926 — the year of Her Majesty’s birth. Step inside this bastion of Britishness to experience afternoon tea that prizes heritage and flavour.

19. The unusual one: sketchStep inside sketch’s Instagram-famous interior for an eccentric afternoon tea experience, which is complemented by its equally alternative flavours. Anyone for square-shaped scones and truffle brioche buns?

Create your trademark style

Her Majesty has long held a reputation as a style icon. Wander down the Mile of Style, browsing the Queen’s preferred purveyors to create your very own sartorial homage. 

20. Pick up seasonal staples at BurberryLuxury British heritage fashion brand Burberry holds a unique position as Royal Warrant Holder, major fashion power player, household name and cultural icon. Visit Burberry’s Regent Street flagship to see these titles and achievements come together with signature flair. 

21. Prepare for all seasons at BarbourMake like Her Majesty and add a classic wax jacket to your wardrobe from Barbour at 73-77 Regent Street. 

22. Discover your signature scent at Penhaligon'sNothing rekindles memories or evokes emotion quite like a sensory experience. Find your new favourite fragrance at Penhaligon’s Regent Street boutique. 

23. Uncover vintage treasures at Beyond RetroBrowse handpicked items from the 60s to the 00s and take home future heirloom pieces from Beyond Retro

24. Get a fresh perspective on fashion with Dover Street MarketRewriting the rulebook on the shopping experience, Dover Street Market is a department store with a difference. Step inside to uncover the very best fashion buys presented as veritable art pieces. Founded by Comme des Garçons founder, Rei Kawakubo, and her husband, Adrian Joffe, it's a must-visit institution for anyone with an eye for style.

25. Add some sparkle at Mappin & Webb The magpies amongst us should not miss a trip to Mappin & Webb at 132 Regent Street. Not only does it hold the Royal Warrant as jeweller, goldsmith and silversmith to Her Majesty, but its master craftsman, Mark Appleby, is also currently the crown jeweller of the United Kingdom.

26. Bag a new look at  MulberryBritish luxury doesn’t come more much-loved than Mulberry’s slew of It-bags. Head to its flagship store at 100 Regent Street for a taste of its contemporary-meets-heritage offering.

Journey through historic and modern London

27. Tour central London’s blue plaques Countless notable figures have paraded Regent Street and St James’s, so you can expect to find numerous blue plaques highlighting places of significance. From scientific trailblazers to political heavyweights, how many can you spot in the area?

28. Catch a screening at Regent Street CinemaAt the top end of Regent Street, you’ll find an important location in the history of film in Britain. In 1896, Regent Street Cinema was the first place that the Lumière brothers’ Cinématographe machine was shown to a paying audience. Step back in time today.

Tour the Commonwealth from your table

Her Majesty is not only the Head of State for the United Kingdom, but for countries across the world that make up the Commonwealth, too. Play homage to this by dining at the wealth of restaurants that find their flavours from global influences this summer.

29. Visit Aussie brunch favourite Heddon Street’s Ziggy Green is the perfect place to tuck into an exemplary Australian-style brunch. Think avo toast, exceptional coffee as well as sweet options like buttermilk pancakes and lamingtons. 

30. Delight in fine Indian food Near Piccadilly Circus, find Veeraswamy, London’s oldest Indian restaurant. Marvel at the charming views and fine flavours - it serves both.

31. Feast on African fusion cuisine at Papa L’s KitchenLawrence Gomez, aka Papa L, puts African flavours on the map in London at Papa L’s Kitchen with his curation of marinades and spices that sing of his native Gambia and the African continent.

32. Test your tastebuds at IkoyiThe menu at Ikoyi comes from a focus on its vast collection of spices, many from sub-Saharan West Africa. Now a cult reservation in London, expect to brush shoulders with the creative crowd who make regular repeat visits to this award-winning St James’s Market location.

Find a moment of calm…

We all need to build moments of rest and relaxation into our busy schedules. That being said, finding retreat doesn’t have to mean heading to Balmoral. Instead, discover calm and sanctuary at these hidden Regent Street gems:

33. Akasha Holistic Wellbeing The ultimate destination for peace and tranquillity in the West End, a visit to this spa at Hotel Café Royal will rejuvenate the senses and prove the ultimate central London oasis. 

34. Chuan SpaUnderground at The Langham, book in at Chuan Spa, where signature treatments and the elegant surrounds soothe away the stresses of the day. 

35. DryBy LondonBrush shoulders with London’s best beauty editors who trust no one other than the DryBy experts with their immaculate manicures. Book in for a blow dry too for the full DryBy experience.

36. Glow BarSupercharge your mood with an infrared sauna session, or High Vibe Facial Massage at Glow Bar at 70 Mortimer Street.

37. MurdockLeave looking as good as you feel after a barber appointment at Murdock.

Make a reservation at one of London’s top restaurants

Whether you’re looking for classic British cuisine or something a little more experimental, when you make a reservation on Regent Street or in nearby St James’s, expect unrivalled service and world-class ingredients. Book now at our favourite London restaurants:

38. Bentley’s Oyster Bar & GrillFor over 100 years, this seafood establishment has delighted diners. Located just off Regent Street on Swallow Street, expect a pre-theatre crowd enjoying a dozen of its renowned oysters with a flute of fizz.

39. Brasserie ZedelA touch of Paris in London, Brasserie Zédel is a classic example of elegant Art Deco settings serving up the best of le délice de France. 

40. The ArakiIn London, sushi doesn’t come more revered than that served at this three Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, The Araki on New Burlington Street.

41. HawksmoorBritish produce takes centre stage at Hawksmoor with meats and supplies sourced from across the isles. Look out for seafood from Brixham Fish Market in Devon and meats sourced from Yorkshire and reared by the team at The Ginger Pig. 

42. Ristorante FrescobaldiAllow authentic Italian flavours and hospitality to host your celebration at this West End stalwart. Here, wine is sourced from the oldest, most respected vineyards of Italy to enhance the Tuscan flavours. 

43. SaborGet a taste of Spain at Sabor on Heddon Street. Whether you want to split a few plates of tapas, or sit down to its extravagant El Asador Feast Menu, every mouthful is an experience. 

44. Piccolino - Just a stone’s throw from the heart of Regent Street, Piccolino offers a quiet space to take a moment of respite, whether with a glass of wine or a hearty meal.

45. St James’s MarketStill hungry for ideas? Between Piccadilly and Haymarket at the south of Regent Street lies St James’s Market, the new home of some of London’s most exciting eateries.

Pick up the perfect momento

46. Browse the shelves at London's oldest bookshop Visit Hatchards on Piccadilly, which has been in situ since the Georgian era and has been a long-time supplier to the Royal households of Britain and Europe.

47. Stock up on chocolate from the Queen's chocolatierIndulge your sweet tooth with a treat at Prestat. Its delectable morsels come packaged as prettily as they are morish.

48. Stop off at Hotel ChocolatThere’s always room for more chocolate. Her Majesty has been described as a “chocoholic” in the past, so it would only be fitting to follow her example and explore what Hotel Chocolat has to offer. Our pick? The Salted Caramel Selectors. 

49. Practice self-care with Molton Brown - Made in England since 1971, Molton Brown has a Royal Warrant. Shop here to mark the Jubilee in fitting — and fragrant — style. 

50. Make a statement with Liberty Explore the new collection of Jubilee scarves at Liberty, a perfect nod to Her Majesty’s much-loved headscarves.

Raise a toast to Her Majesty

Whether you’re a gin-lover like the Queen, or a self-confessed oenophile, raise a glass to celebrate this historic milestone at one of London’s best bars:

51. The Nest in TreehouseHead to the skies and perch on the terrace overlooking Regent Street’s flags at The Nest in Treehouse. Enjoy its Very British Summer Celebration, partnered with Sipsmith.

52. Dukes London BarJames Bond creator Ian Flemming was a regular at Dukes Bar, a short walk from Piccadilly. It's thought that it was here that he coined the phrase “shaken not stirred” for his most famous character. Martinis — however you might prefer them — remain a fixture at this renowned watering hole. 

53. The GeorgeLocated on Great Portland Street, The George pub has been an important space for political, cultural and social movements since the 18th century, moving to a literary and creative hotspot in the last century. Discover it for yourself.

54. The WigmoreVisit The Wigmore for an elevated British menu overseen by Michel Roux Jr. Sip signature cocktails, choose from its extensive wine list or perhaps try its craft beer, The Wigmore Saison. Teetotal? Work your way through its selection of zingy Tavern Lemonades. 

55. Artesian at The LanghamVoted The World’s Best Bar, expect drinks with a difference at Artesian. Here, cocktails become a sensory experience and come served hot, cold, fizzy and smooth.

56. Bar AméricainImmerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of prohibition America with sublime cocktails at Art Deco Bar Américain

57. The Green BarRediscover the classic gin and tonic at Hotel Café Royal’s iconic Green Bar, which prizes itself on its plethora of gins, botanicals and the finest tonics.  

Where to stay for a weekend in London

And with your royal exploration coming to a close, a cosy bed in a West End hotel is calling. Luckily, we’re in close proximity to a slew of the capital’s finest establishments who will ensure you’ve never felt more at home.

58. The StaffordSt James’s reputation for detail and prestige extends into its hotels. The Stafford London, adjacent to Green Park, is no exception. Its three separate buildings come with their own unique characteristics to make for a truly memorable stay in the heart of the capital. 

59. The RitzFor a memorable getaway, why not extend your celebration to include a stay at world-renowned Royal Warrant Holder, The Ritz

60. St James’s HotelIf you’re looking for 5* service, look no further than St James’s Hotel & Club. When you stay at this intimate, boutique hotel, expect the sort of refined service that the area’s membership clubs are renowned for.

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