Travel & Selling Tips / The royal treatment: Booking.com shares six dazzling locations behind the Royal TV series
Filming locations showcased, spanning from medieval cities in the UK to Mediterranean coasts and mountainous highland ranges
From castles to international tours, the British royal family visits some of the most prestigious and beautiful places around the world making them some of the most seasoned travelers around. Through this TV drama series of the British monarchy that airs for a final season in two parts starting on November 16 – after an epic six seasons, seven years and three casts – viewers will get a glimpse of these scenic backdrops. With nearly half (43%)*of global travelers interested in traveling to a destination that was featured in a TV show, we present six filming locations where the best scenes from this dramatically regal and popular TV drama 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 British royal family.
Taking center stage in all of the series of the 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 in St James’s. For travelers wishing to see the capital from a royal perspective, a Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace Tour puts visitors in the heart of the British monarchy where they can witness the well-known ceremony outside the palace, before taking in several iconic attractions around London. Visitors 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. The final season of the royal biopic will feature the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles (later King Charles III and Queen Camilla) which took place in 2005 at Windsor Castle. Visitors to London can take a Royal Windsor Afternoon Tour from London heading out of the city to see St George's Chapel for themselves.
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.
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 six seasons. Visitors can 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 25-minute 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 barbecue 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, offsetting a portion of its carbon footprint and offering tours and activities organized by local guides and businesses.
A stunning Scottish town on the coast of Fife, St Andrews appears in the royal series as the home of the now Prince and Princess of Wales who met while studying at the town’s famous university, which is the oldest in Scotland. With cameras already spotted in the university town earlier this year, it will feature in the final series capturing the royal family’s life in the early 2000s and showcasing the town’s impressive medieval ruins, stately buildings and sandy beaches. As well as being famous for its university and former residents, St Andrews is often named the ‘home of golf’ with the sport being played here as early as the 15th century. Fans can explore the city’s links with a St Andrews Old Course History Tour, for the Golfer, learning about the origins of both the game and the Old Course, considered the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world and known as the ‘Grand Old Lady.’ Those less up to par with their golf can explore the city’s rich history on a St Andrews Must-Sees Daily Walking Tour which explores sights including St Andrew’s Cathedral and Castle.
Where to stay: Whether a golf fan or not, visitors will be charmed by the Highland-inspired luxury of Rusacks St Andrews. This five-star, beachfront hotel in an imposing 1800s building overlooking the famous Old Course is a monument to the city’s heritage in golf as well as offering a central base for explorers of St Andrews. With everything guests could want including a sleek Scottish restaurant, a relaxed gastropub and a plush, understated bar, this Booking.com Travel sustainable hotel also provides guests with information regarding local ecosystems, heritage and culture, as well as visitor etiquette.
Located on the Mediterranean coast of the Costa del Sol, and situated in the Andalusian region of Spain, Malága doubled up as Australia during the tour of the then Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1983 (as shown in season four). It has also been presented as the island of Mustique, the glamorous getaway Princess Margaret visits in the TV series, as seen in season four. For the earlier series of the show, the stars were spotted filming on a speedboat in the local area of San Telmo. Travelers can experience a cruise along the coast themselves and book 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, Malága 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 stylish and modern boutique hotel in the heart of Malága, 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, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable hotel makes huge efforts to reduce its food wastage and offers both a vegetarian and vegan menu. Guests can recline on a sun lounger on the hotel’s terrace with panoramic views of the city, and order a cooling cocktail from the lounge bar.
With the city of York recently abuzz with film crews, cast and over 450 extras to film a ‘significant scene’ of the final series, this cathedral city in northeast England is an ideal destination for the show’s fans. Encompassed by well-preserved 13th-century walls, the medieval city can be explored on a York City Chronicles History Walking Tour, visiting the ancient Shambles, Lantern Towers and the shrine of St Margaret Clitherow. It's also home to a number of museums exploring the city’s rich history, including its sweet period as a confectionary empire. Travelers can get a taste for the Victorian industrialist period and its more recent flavor with a trip to the Chocolate Manufactory Tasting Journey at York Cocoa Works. York is probably most famous for its gothic cathedral, York Minster, the largest medieval cathedral in northern Europe, which was the very backdrop of recent filming in this historical city and a must-visit for fans of the show.
Where to stay: Just a stone’s throw away from York Minster, The Dean Court offers charming accommodation fit for a royal stay. Behind its grand exterior, the hotel features beautifully decorated rooms, an elegant lounge, its own pub and views of the city’s impressive cathedral that guests can enjoy over breakfast. As a Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay, the Dean Court also makes commitments to sustainability, including offering guests the option to opt-out of daily room cleaning. While the property has onsite parking, its central location means that York can largely be explored on foot, with the city center just a short walk away.
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 than kilts, the UK’s largest national park in Cairngorms offers incredible hiking trails, cycling, watersports and skiing in the winter. For visitors wishing to see many of the postcard-worthy sites in a day, a Tour of Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands departs from Edinburgh and takes travelers to Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness – monster sightings cannot be guaranteed but travelers are strongly encouraged to keep 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.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 42,513 respondents across 33 markets (2,000 from USA, 1,008 from Canada, 2,000 from Mexico, 1,000 from Colombia, 2,000 from Brazil, 1,000 from Argentina, 2,000 from Australia, 1,000 from New Zealand, 2,000 from Spain, 2,000 from Italy, 2,000 from France, 2,000 from UK, 2,000 from Germany, 1,000 from Netherlands, 1,000 from Denmark, 1,000 from Sweden, 1,000 from Croatia, 1,000 from Switzerland, 1,000 from Belgium, 1,000 from Ireland, 1,000 from Portugal, 1,000 from Israel, 2,000 from India, 1,000 from China, 1,005 from Hong Kong, 1,000 from Thailand, 1,000 from Singapore, 1,000 from Taiwan, 1,000 from Vietnam, 1,000 from South Korea, 1,000 from Japan, 500 from UAE). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months, and planning to travel in 2023 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 and February 2023.