Have royal baby fever? Head to London
There’s no doubt that Britain’s royal baby fever has spread to this side of the Atlantic. For those who can’t get enough of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the couple’s baby Prince George, we’ve put together a George-themed tour of the British capital, including tips if you decide to bring your very own baby along (in hopes of a love match). Hey, William married a commoner, right? Here’s hoping George has similar taste.
Buckingham Palace’s music room will most likely serve as the setting for the royal baby’s christening (as it did for William and many other royal relatives). Through Sept. 29, visitors can get a sneak peek inside some parts of the palace. This year there’s a special exhibit of art and clothing to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, George’s great granny. There are several options for visiting Buckingham Palace — a tour of the state rooms (£19 per adult), a tour of the state rooms and the gardens (£27.75) and a Royal Day Out package, which includes the State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery (£33.25). Book in advance, as many days sell out, at royalcollection.org.uk.
This is the palace that Kate, Wills and baby George will call home (once their home renovation project is complete). You can stand outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the new family, or you can take tours of the state rooms, which are open to the public. There’s a royal dress exhibition, an exhibit on Queen Victoria and gardens. (£15 for adults; £14 if you book at hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace).
Diana Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground
Located near Kensington Palace, this is sure-to-be a favorite play area for Prince George (note: perfect spot for a run-in with the royal family). Inspired by the story of Peter Pan, the playground has a huge wooden pirate ship as a centerpiece, a beach surrounding it, a sensory trail, teepees and various play sculptures. It opens at 10 a.m. royalparks.org.uk
While you’re in the more touristy areas of London — say, around Buckingham Palace or on the busy Oxford Street shopping area — be sure to run into some souvenir shops for royal baby merchandise. Everything from mugs to onesies (or, as the British call them, “babygrows”) are for sale.
We’re pretty sure the feeding of Prince George will be done in private. But if you’re lucky, you may see his parents at one of their favorite London restaurants.
Automat American Brasserie
Kate and William have been regularly spotted at this Mayfair restaurant. Dishes like truffle macaroni and cheese are de rigueur here. automat-london.com
According to Us Weekly, the couple hosted their staff Christmas party at this Notting Hill eatery specializing in seasonal British food. We recommend going on a Saturday so you can also check out the nearby Portobello Market. bumpkinuk.com
The Milestone Hotel
Pretend you’re royal at this five-star boutique hotel just steps from Kensington Palace. Nightly rates in September hover around £350. But through Nov. 30, the hotel is offering a Royal Package, which includes two nights, a full English breakfast, two tickets to The Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace and more (starts at £440). milestonehotel.com
Tips if you’re bringing your own baby: Everyone tells new parents that they should travel before their kids hit the terrible twos. And they’re right. Besides the fact that the under-2 set can fly free, they also tend to go with the flow better than your average full-fledged toddler.
Getting around: The tube is difficult to navigate with a stroller, as there are lots of steps and few elevators (baby carriers are better). Buses tend to be a better option. Unlike in NYC, you can bring strollers on the buses in London unfolded.
Baby friendliness: Lots of stores and attractions in London have baby-changing stations and nursing rooms. Maybe you’ll run into Kate and Wills — or, more likely, a handler or nanny.