Netflix’s stellar series The Crown has renewed a worldwide interest in the affairs of the British royal family. Creator Peter Morgan, who previously earned his regal stripes by writing The Queen, the multi-award-winning 2006 film starring Helen Mirren, returns to familiar ground to chart the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II in 1950s London. As she takes up the crown from her late father King George VI, she must navigate royal scandals, her restless husband Prince Philip, a colorful expanded family, and the stalwart figure of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Crown recently released its second season on the streaming platform, and rumor has it that a third one is on the way, with a new cast of actors portraying the Royals a couple of decades later.
For those ‘DREAMers who’ve been fired up for a very British trip by all the glamor and regality of the series, there are a good few spots that you can visit to get a taste of royal living. And the good news is because the Windsors are such sticklers for tradition, very few of these places have changed very much in the intervening years since 1952. You can walk among these places just as the Queen walked (and still walks!) among them; and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Lizzy herself! See if you can track down any other Crown fanatics on BUCKiTDREAM, then keep one’s BUCKiTDREAM planner by one’s side, as we take you through four royal hotspots you simply can’t miss!
Lancaster House, St. James’s, London Lancaster House is a magnificent mansion in the west of London, a stone’s throw away from the main HQ of Buckingham Palace. In fact, it looks so much like the real thing that it has been repeatedly used as a stand-in for Buckingham in numerous films and television shows, including The King’s Speech and The Crown. Its main entrance hall and exuberant staircase will be instantly recognizable to fans of the series. Lancaster House also has a glamorous side, and has been utilized for shows and receptions during London Fashion Week. Lancaster House has open days where the public can wander through the magnificently ornate rooms and lavish gardens.
Buckingham Palace, Westminster, London This is the real deal, and the home of the Queen since she took the throne in 1952. Buckingham Palace is famous the world over as the seat of royal power in Britain, and no royal tour would be complete without a stop-off here. Filming is not allowed in the Palace, so no scenes from The Crown were actually shot here, but the State Rooms are accessible to visitors seasonally, opening their doors every summer. It’s also worth a visit to the Palace to catch the world-famous Changing of the Guard, where the dashing guards, decked out in their red jackets and black hats, switch shifts with more flair than the average employee. They are royal employees, after all.
Westminster Abbey, London The Abbey is probably one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, and has been the site of too many historic events to count. The building was started in 1245 by Henry III, and in actual fact is not classified as a cathedral but rather a “Royal Peculiar”: a religious building answerable solely to the British monarchs. Westminster Abbey is one of the biggest tourist pulls in London, bringing in millions of eager sightseers every year. The Queen’s wedding was held here in 1947, followed by her coronation in 1953; other famous ceremonies include the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, and more recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton. Not only is it the site of Royal coronations and marriages, but it’s also the final resting place of a number of famous figures, including Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill.
Windsor Castle, Berkshire Located in the leafy suburbs just west of London is Windsor Castle, a magnificent feat of architecture bearing the assumed name of the current Royal house. Windsor is one of the many official residences of the Queen, and she can often be found here, retreating from the formality of Buckingham Palace. If the Royal Standard flag happens to be up, you’ll know Lizzy’s in (which unfortunately means that you can’t be). Among the stately rooms and scenic gardens, one of the more unusual features of Windsor is Queen Mary’s fully operational doll’s house, which comes complete with running water and electricity. Although The Crown did not actually film here, many scenes are set in and around the castle.
You could track the royal residences up and down Britain if you’re game for it, but these listed above are the highlights not to be missed for fans of The Crown. If you happen to be in London and need some more things to tick off your bucket list, check out The Ultimate Guide to Tracking Sherlock Holmes in London, or How to Drink Like a Local in London’s Best Pubs for more BUCKiTDREAM-approved adventures, then prepare your BUCKiTDREAM calendar for a royal date or four as you visit Britannia!