Just as throngs of people lined the streets of London to glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they passed notable landmarks en route to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey, so will excited spectators await a look at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their procession on their wedding day. Follow the trails of the open-topped carriages through the streets of London or the village of Windsor, and make your own procession, visiting palaces, parks and parliament buildings along the way.
All eyes are on London as we count down to the royal wedding, as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows. If you are royal-watching (even if it’s just on early morning TV), here’s what you’re going to want to know about the route they take on Saturday:
LONDON’S ROYAL WEDDING ROUTE
Westminster Abbey – the large Gothic church where William and Kate exchanged vows has been the coronation site since the 11th century. It is also the final resting place for numerous monarchs and many of the nation’s most famous poets and writers, including Lord Byron, T.S. Eliot and Charles Dickens. Just behind the Abbey is the Jewel Tower. One of the two remaining sections of the medieval Palace of Westminster, the tower was home to Edward III’s royal treasures and is known as the “King’s Privy Wardrobe”.
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TravelingMom Tip: Visit the museum near the cloisters and ask to borrow the monk’s costume for a photo op in the cloisters.
Parliament Square and Big Ben – Parliament Square is an open green space where Westminster Abbey is located. It is also home to the Houses of Parliament, the Supreme Court and London’s iconic clock tower, Big Ben.
TravelingMom Tip: Take a spin on the Millennium Wheel, also known as the London Eye, located just beyond Parliament Square.
Hyde Park – One of the Royal Parks of London, Hyde Park is one of the four parks that link to each other and run through the center of the city. The 360-acre park is a favorite of joggers and is often host to large events, including the large street party and celebration for the royal wedding.
TravelingMom Tip: Take advantage of a sunny day and enjoy a picnic in the beautiful and spacious park.
Onto the Palace
Buckingham Palace – No visit to London would be complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace. The primary residence of British monarch Queen Elizabeth, Buckingham Palace has the famous balcony where the Royal Family often greet the public outside and was the setting for the kiss seen round the world by newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. While a royal balcony scene is rare, don’t miss the chance to see the changing of the guards, which happens daily from May until the end of July
TravelingMom Tip: Not close enough to see the changing of the guards? No worries. Head over to Birdcage Walk and watch the soldiers as they march from the barracks.
WALKING THROUGH WINDSOR
St. George’s Chapel – the chapel is only understated in that it has a capacity of 800 as opposed to the 2000 that Westminster Abbey seats. Situated on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the chapel dates back more than 500 years. It has been the site of numerous royal nuptials, including Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones and Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. St. George’s Chapel is also where Prince Harry was christened as a baby. The resting place for several monarchs, it is the planned burial site for the Queen.
TravelingMom Tip: Entrance to the chapel, which is filled with historical artifacts, is included in the castle admission price. Don’t forget the audio commentary at the entrance.
Eton College – Founded in 1400, the famous all-boys boarding school has educated 19 prime ministers and countless members of aristocracy. Princes William and Harry are among the alumni. A short walk from Windsor Castle, Eton is a must-see when in Windsor.
TravelingMom Tip: Eton College has a Natural History Museum, which is open to the public on Sunday afternoons.
Hiking through History
Windsor Great Park – This royal park was once the former private hunting ground of Windsor Castle. It covers 5,000 acres of formal gardens, grassland and ancient oaks waiting to be explored on foot, bike or horseback. Take the Long Walk route for the best views of the estate. This is the filming location for several films, including some of the Harry Potter series. Other notable films include Pirates of the Caribbean, Robin Hood and Snow White and the Huntsman.
TravelingMom Tip: Take a carriage ride around the park, for a guided tour and history of the estate.
The Castle Awaits
Windsor Castle – Built more than 900 years ago, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Queen Elizabeth II spends most of her weekends in this official residence. Almost as impressive as the castle is Queen Mary’s dollhouse. More than a thousand artists and manufacturers built the largest and most famous dollhouse in the world. It included working plumbing and electricity at a time when many houses did not.
TravelingMom Tip: The castle is at the top of a hill and requires a bit of walking to access. Choose your shoes accordingly.
For more information on visiting London or Windsor, go to London’s tourism website, VisitLondon.com.