The Royal Treatment: Five Dazzling Locations Behind the Stately TV Series Hitting Screens this Fall
From castles to international tours, the royal family visits some of the most prestigious and beautiful places around the world making them some of the most seasoned travelers around. Viewers will get a glimpse of these scenic backdrops in the popular and award-winning biopic of the British monarchy which airs a fifth season on 9th November. After the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in September, viewership of the series has increased as many wish to immerse themselves in her extraordinary life and the incredible legacy she leaves behind. With over a third (37%)* of global travelers intending to visit a destination that was featured in a TV show, we present five filming locations where the best scenes from this dramatically regal TV series were captured. From medieval cities in the UK to Mediterranean coasts and mountainous highland ranges, there’s a destination for every traveler to feel like a member of the royal family.
The medieval city of Winchester has had special relations with kings and queens for centuries, as the home of King Arthur’s mythical roundtable. Today, Winchester is a charming destination and one of the smallest cities in the UK, perfect to explore by foot. Blessed with beautiful architecture and quaint streets featuring cozy cafes and independent boutiques, visitors can dawdle and take in the welcoming atmosphere. The historical jewel of the city is Winchester Cathedral, which was used as a filming location in the series for the rehearsal of the glamorous British royal wedding that took place in 1981. Also posed as St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey across the five series for dramatic wedding and funeral scenes, the cathedral is one of England’s largest and is widely acknowledged as a magnificent gothic masterpiece. For history fanatics, a City Literary Heritage Walking Tour will give visitors the opportunity to discover the most noteworthy authors from the UK who called Winchester home. From the city’s 12th-century gateway to the grand Great Hall and Jane Austen’s house, the tour is a fantastic way to soak up the culture followed by a tipple in a local pub. Outside of the city, nature enthusiasts can venture to the surrounding woodland and meadows for a brisk country walk or stroll by the River Itchen for picturesque views.
Where to stay: Located just a short walk from Winchester Cathedral and the city center, Wykeham Arms is a charming inn dating back to the 18th century offering visitors a cozy stay. Tucked away in the quietest corner of the city, the hotel offers delicious heartwarming food and local ales which guests can tuck into next to the roaring log fire. For the 29% of travelers who plan to book a pet-friendly accommodation on their next vacation*, the inn welcomes animals so guests can go on brisk dog walks with their furry friends – corgis approved.
South Africa has played its own starring role in the hit series as the go-to filming location to capture both tropical and mesmerizing scenes. Used as the backdrop for some of the most famous historical royal tours of the Commonwealth, filming locations in South Africa have doubled up as Kenya, Melbourne, the Amazon and Bermuda across all five series. Visitors can, quite literally, find the diversely rich places behind these tropical destinations along the stunning Western Cape where the magnificent Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. The incredible capital city of Cape Town is a popular destination for both royals and global visitors – a multicultural haven boasting golden sand beaches and crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain which can be conquered by foot or cable car. The city’s delicious seafood and local wines are a must-try and whale watching and a visit to the penguins at Boulders Beach is fantastic for nature enthusiasts. For a once in a lifetime birds-eye view and to travel in style like a royal, travelers can book a Scenic Helicopter Flight to take in the incredible landscape of Cape Town from above and fly over the world-renowned beaches of the western seaboard.
Where to stay: The Cape Town Skyroof apartment LOADSHED PROOF Ocean Views offers guests a luxurious stay fit for royalty with unbelievable views of the city and ocean. Windsurfing and hiking can be enjoyed in close proximity to the apartment and the stay even offers BBQ facilities, perfect to enjoy the South African lifestyle. Featuring a private pool and luxe outdoor hot tub, guests can unwind on the sun terrace with a relaxing dip. The apartment is also a Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay and offsets a portion of its carbon footprint.
The British royal family’s love affair with Scotland is undeniable and this, of course, extends to the picturesque Scottish Highlands. One of the most beloved places of Her Late Majesty the Queen, the spectacular scenery surrounding Balmoral Castle was the backdrop of countless summers for the royal family. With 83% of travelers reporting that beautiful natural scenery is a key motivation for their next vacation,* the Scottish Highlands offers travelers an unforgettable trip deep in nature, along with its many romantic castles and fascinating history. The dramatic landscapes feature in the hit series, which set the stage for Balmoral at the Ardverikie Estate in Kinloch Laggan – a grand location with Victorian roots and an incredible ballroom used for traditional Scottish dancing known as reeling. For active travelers who would rather wear walking boots rather than kilts, the UK’s largest national park in Cairngorms offers jaw-dropping views and incredible hiking trails, cycling, watersports and skiing in the winter season. For visitors wishing to see many of the postcard-worthy sites in a day, a Loch Ness and Highlands of Scotland Tour departs from Edinburgh and takes travelers from Stirling Castle to Glencoe and from Loch Laggan to Loch Ness – monster sightings cannot be guaranteed but travelers are strongly encouraged to keep their eyes peeled and cameras at the ready.
Where to stay: Balsporran Bed and Breakfast offers a welcoming and cozy stay in a remote location surrounded by stunning scenery – and just a short drive away from Kinloch Laggan and the Ardverikie Estate. Before an active day of hiking or cycling, or some more leisurely fishing on the nearby river, guests can tuck into warming Scottish porridge to give them the energy needed to explore the Highlands. Travelers can relax and refuel after a day of adventure with a delicious cream tea of scones and jam for the proper royal treatment.
Located on the Mediterranean coast of the Costa del Sol, and situated in the Andalusian region of Spain, Malaga doubled up as Australia during the tour of the then Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1983. It has also been presented as the glamorous island of Mustique in the TV series. Recently this year, the stars of the show were spotted on a glamorous speedboat in the local area of San Telmo filming an exciting scene for the upcoming series. Travelers can experience a cruise along the coast themselves by booking a Sailing and Swimming Cruise in Málaga on an incredible catamaran, and relax on the boat's deck and dive into the crystal blue ocean in style. Besides a huge stretch of sunny beaches, Malaga has a lively atmosphere popular with both tourists and locals who appreciate the blend of ancient and modern culture. Visitors can explore the trendy bars and food markets offering delicious local tapas and discover the old town full of streetside cafes and historic squares.
Where to stay: Vincci Larios Diez is a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Malaga and a short walk from La Malagueta Beach and the San Telmo area – the key filming location used in the show. Featuring a fantastic restaurant serving a modern spin on Spanish cuisine and stylish, modern interiors, the hotel also boasts panoramic views of the city. Guests can recline on a sun lounger on one of the hotel room’s terraces and order a cooling cocktail at the end of the day.
Taking center stage in all of the series of the royal drama, London is a fantastic metropolis and home to some of the UK’s most important royal landmarks. Steeped in history, Lancaster House poses as Buckingham Palace on screen as a grand duplicate of the royal residence and is just a stone's throw away from the real palace located in St James’s in London. The Royal Navy College in Greenwich also boasts impressive historical exteriors that are often featured in dramatic scenes in the hit show. For travelers wishing to see the capital from a royal perspective, a Buckingham Palace Tour and Changing of the Guard puts visitors in the heart of the British monarchy where they can explore the lavish state apartments of the British sovereign – full of precious artworks and elegant furniture. Travelers can also venture east to experience the Tower of London and Crown Jewels Tour to see the nation’s most dazzling and precious treasures firsthand.
Where to stay: Just a short walk from the filming location of Lancaster House, 9 Hertford Street offers classic and stylish apartments on a lovely residential street in glamorous Mayfair. Situated near Hyde Park, guests can enjoy the city’s stunning green space or head to the nearby Shepherd Market, a small square known for its cute boutiques and wonderful restaurants. After a day in the bustling city, guests can curl up on a sofa with a cup of regal English tea by the warming fire.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 48,413 respondents across 31 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,864 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 2,005 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,020 from Chile, 1,777 from Australia, 818 from New Zealand, 1,999 from Spain, 2,002 from Italy, 1,998 from France, 1,990 from UK, 2,005 from Germany, 2,003 from Netherlands, 985 from Denmark, 999 from Sweden, 910 from Croatia, 918 from Switzerland, 1,986 from Belgium, 998 from Russia, 953 from Israel, 1,999 from India, 1,990 from China, 901 from Hong Kong, 1,775 from Thailand, 1,001 from Singapore, 975 from Taiwan, 1,800 from Vietnam, 1,757 from South Korea, 1,001 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2022 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in January 2022.
**Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,055 respondents across 31 countries and territories were polled (including 501 from Argentina, 1003 from Australia, 500 from Belgium, 1001 from Brazil, 500 from Canada, 1000 from China, 1007 from Colombia, 1001 from Croatia, 508 from Denmark, 1002 from France, 1000 from Germany, 1005 from Hong Kong, 1000 from India, 502 from Israel, 1003 from Italy, 1002 from Japan, 500 from Mexico, 501 from The Netherlands, 501 from New Zealand, 500 from Peru, 1000 from Russia, 1005 from Singapore, 1002 from South Korea, 1002 from Spain, 501 from Sweden, 501 from Switzerland, 504 from Taiwan, 500 from Thailand, 1000 from the UK, 1002 from the US and 501 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2021.