Many of us have a soft spot for royal happenings. Whether we’re celebrating the nuptials of a prince and a commoner, awaiting the birth of an heir to the throne, or gushing over a photo of Prince George meeting the Obamas in his pajamas, royal news is always guilty-pleasure gold. And sometimes, it even inspires you to embark upon your own royal adventures.
In case you’re in need of a bit of inspiration, here are some of the most wanderlust-inducing getaways visited by four generations of the British royal family.
Botswana: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Although Prince Harry has done his fair share of traveling, one country has always stood out to him — Botswana. He visited for the first time in 1997, shortly after the death of Princess Diana, and he’s returned several times since. He’s even mentioned in interviews that he feels more like himself in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
Prince Harry took his future bride to Botswana for the first time in 2016, not long after they started dating. They spent five days camping beneath the stars, and it went so well that Harry decided to surprise Meghan with a return trip in August 2017. Their second stay lasted three weeks, giving them ample time to visit Harry’s favorite locations (like Meno a Kwena, a safari camp perched on a clifftop), celebrate Meghan’s birthday, and spot some wildlife up close.
And, although the royal couple probably won’t be honeymooning in Botswana, they may not venture too far from their favorite getaway spot. Rumor has it that Harry and Meghan will spend their post-wedding vacation in neighboring country Namibia, where the Sossusvlei clay pan is the most famous attraction.
If you’d like to visit Botswana (or Namibia) for yourself, start looking for flights! These destinations are situated on the other side of the world — but their remote locations are part of their magic.
The Seychelles: Prince William and Kate Middleton
When this couple honeymooned, they did so in style. They visited Alphonse Island, a pristine, white-sand retreat in the Seychelles, with an area of only 0.66 square miles. The island is located in the Indian Ocean, just a few degrees south of the Equator, meaning it’s sunny and warm throughout the entire year. And, with only 22 bungalows and five suites for visitors, as well as a permanent population of barely 100 people, it would be hard to find a more secluded getaway.
Since Alphonse Island is as much of a haven for wildlife as it is for newlywed royals, it’s a great place to swim with dolphins, explore coral reefs, watch turtles hatch, and practice catch-and-release fishing. Snorkeling, scuba diving, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, and kayaking are just a few more options for water-based activities, while biking and bird-walking are possibilities back on land.
If you think this sounds too good to be true, you might be right. There’s a catch — the resort packages start at $6,000 per person, so you might need to save up a fair bit before you can afford a visit!
Antigua and Barbuda: Princess Diana
Although Princess Diana’s life was cut tragically short, her legacy is alive and well. Millions of people still honor her memory, especially in the countries she visited before her passing. And even though she made it a point to see quite a bit of the world, Barbuda was one of her favorite places to run away to.
This Caribbean island is a little more than 300 miles east of Puerto Rico, and the People’s Princess visited it repeatedly during her lifetime. As an active person who loved being in the water and escaping the public eye, she couldn’t have chosen a better location for a getaway. She even took her sons, William and Harry, to the secluded island for family vacations when they were young.
In 2011, the Barbuda Council recognized Lady Di’s love for the island by renaming a pink-sand beach in her honor. For years, the Princess Diana Beach was a popular stopover on many cruises and an excellent retreat for sand-and-sea lovers.
Sadly, Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda in September 2017, when all of its 1,800 inhabitants were evacuated, and about 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed. Although a few intrepid Barbudans have moved back to the island, reconstruction efforts will take years, so it might be a while before locals (and travelers) return. If you’d like to help the island before then, consider making a donation — several foundations provide financial support for the rebuilding of Barbuda.
Luckily, Antigua — located just 38 miles (62 kilometers) away — fared much better in the wake of the 2017 storms, so you can still visit the island nation and support its tourism sector. So if you do venture to this section of the Caribbean, be sure to explore its beaches and harbors, and support the local economy as much as possible!
The Republic of Ireland: Queen Elizabeth II
Of all 7.6 billion people in the world, Queen Elizabeth is possibly the most well-traveled individual — despite not even owning a passport. During her reign, she’s gone on nearly 100 state visits, as well as dozens of official visits (which are slightly less formal).
One of her most significant trips took place in May 2011, when she spent several days in the Republic of Ireland. She was the first reigning British monarch to set foot in the country in 100 years, since before the Irish gained their independence.
The queen wowed everyone who interacted with her during the trip, and she visited sites that were significant to the Irish nationalist movement, including Croke Park and the Garden of Remembrance. She opened her speech at Dublin Castle with the words, “A Úachtárain agus a chairde” — Irish Gaelic for “president and friends.” In that speech, she also referred to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of conflict between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The visit was a diplomatic landmark for the two countries, and although your trip to the Emerald Isle might not have the same political impact, you’re sure to enjoy it just as much as the queen did.
France: Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Although the new royal baby is a little too young to appreciate the value of a journey abroad, his older siblings have already become globetrotters. They visited Poland and Germany in the summer of 2017, and they have already visited France multiple times.
When Prince George was two years old and Princess Charlotte was only 10 months, their parents took them on a skiing trip in the French Alps. The family bundled up, played in the snow, and had the time of their lives.
Later that year, in July 2016, George and Charlotte experienced a different side of France. They flew to Pau, a small city in the southern region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, and spent some time in the glitzy city of Biarritz. It was a fairly private vacation, allowing the royals to enjoy some quality family time.
If you’d like to get to know France the way the young royals already have, pick your season (summer or winter) and start packing! Whether you prefer the sea or the snow, France is a diverse country that offers something for everyone.
Although all of us lack the royal family’s resources, wealth, and fame, we can still enjoy the same destinations they do. And who knows — maybe we’ll bump into them on an upcoming vacation!
Header image by Ilnur Kalimullin