The royal wedding is only two months away, which means it's time to book your travel arrangements.
Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancée, American actress Meghan Markle, recently announced they would invite 2,640 members of the public into the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the arrivals of the bride and groom and their guests on May 19.
For those hoping to snag a coveted invitation, or just want to join in the festivities in the days leading up to the nuptials, now is the time to make a plan, according to Alanna Smith, a content editor at travel site TravelPirates.com.
If the 2011 wedding of Kate Middleton and Harry's older brother Prince William was any guide, this spring's royal nuptials could be a boon to the tourism industry across the pond.
To beat the rush, Brian Kelly, CEO and founder of travel-tips site The Points Guy, advises booking flights as early as possible, opting for low-cost airlines such as Norwegian Air or Icelandair, and packing light to skip the bag fee.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said.
If you also want to break away from the pack, add on a stopover in Iceland to catch the tail end of northern lights season, Kelly suggested.
Revelers can still snag round-trip airfare from New York, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles for as little as $400 to $500 round-trip, TravelPirates found. Flying on Icelandair with a stop in Reykjavik can be had for as little as $390, according to The Points Guy.
Once in England, create your own royal-inspired itinerary that includes, for example, a stop at the restaurant where Markle and Prince Harry first met as well as the manicured gardens outside the couple's new home, said TravelPirates' Smith. Here are her top itinerary picks:
If you aren't able to bear witness to the wedding at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19, you can visit the castle on most other days. It's about a 50-minute drive or hour and a half train ride from central London with a BritRail London Plus Pass.
Located at the western edge of London's Hyde Park, these gardens are home to the royal residence of Kensington Palace — which is also where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a., William and Kate) live — along with Nottingham Cottage, which will become the latest royal newlyweds' new home. The Cottage is not open to visitors, but the palace and gardens sell admission for guided tours and exhibits.
This Georgian residence is the site of the royal couple's first date, and it's been extremely popular ever since. Smith recommends making a reservation for breakfast or afternoon tea in the dining room to get a chance to enjoy the exclusive but informal spot in London's SoHo neighborhood.
Between May 1 and 21, the Tea Terrace Restaurant is serving a special wedding-inspired menu. It will feature seswaa, a meat dish, and malva pudding, an apricot dessert, both from Botswana, where the engaged couple have traveled together (and where Prince Harry sourced his fiancee's engagement diamond). Naturally, roast chicken is also on the menu — the dish Prince Harry was preparing when he proposed.
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