NataliePace.com Home Page Article
by Natalie Pace.
the best of England, just like Kings and Queens of old (and new).
While all eyes are on London
for the Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics, here are 5 royal getaways that
you don't want to miss. Each of the 5 getaways listed below are historically
significant properties that allow guests to literally walk in the footsteps
of royalty. More than a few show a shade of the royal family that many Americans
have never seen -- green. In some of the exclusive properties listed below,
you will be greeted on the doorsteps as if you were friends or family, escaping
the rat race for some much needed pampering and R&R. However, just as many
are heartwarming and soul inspiring, for those of us who are committed to, in
the words of H.R.H. Charles, The Prince of Wales, "[treading] more lightly upon
this Earth, the miracle of creation that it is our privilege to call 'home.'"
|Photo by Andrew
Lawson. (c) A G Carrick. Used with permission.
Highgrove is the private residence of H.R.H. Charles, The Prince of Wales,
and it is not an understatement when he writes, "I have put my heart and soul
into Highgrove." The house was first purchased by the Duchy of Cornwall in
1980 and since that time, HRH has been committed to leading the sustainability
movement by example. I wrote a separate article and included a slide show
of select pictures on Highgrove entitled, "The Diamond Jubilee and "Nature's
Prince," which I encourage you to read for a complete rundown of all
of the features of this extraordinary green, organic property.
was little more than a personal passion of The Prince 27 years ago when
he began the process of converting from conventional to organic farming.
However, a recent independent research report of the *BBSRC, ESRC and NERC
notes that organic farming is also more profitable, with total variable
costs that are 1/4 below conventional and gross margins that are 32% higher.
Up to 33,000 guests
tour the estate of Highgrove annually to experience the tastes, smells,
look and feel of organic gardens that put Nature back at the center of things.
If you would like to book a tour, go to HighgroveShop.com.
Manor House are the best places to lodge while you tour Highgrove,
and each have their own intimate connections to The Prince of Wales.
|Photo by Marie
Commiskey. (c) 2012. Used with permission.
House, which was built in 1697, was once the home of Rosemary
Verey, an internationally acclaimed garden designer and consultant to HRH
Charles, The Prince of Wales. Modern travelers can stay in the historic
farmhouse or one of the adjacent cottage suites, each of which are en suite
with a unique, and fun, flair to farm house lodging. You'll want to spend
most of your time exploring outdoors. However, there is also a private film
screening room, a delightful spa and wonderful meals with organic food picked
from the walled garden to enjoy at Barnsley House as well.
|Take an evening
swim at Calcot Spa
is a better choice if you are bringing kids or teens. The estate boasts
an indoor pool, kid-friendly bunk beds, play areas for children and The
Mez (with Playstations, X-boxes and Wiis) for teens. Staying in a country
house that dates back to the 14th century is a delight for all. Calcot is
so close to Highgrove that the restaurant caters, on occasion, to the royals,
includes some of their meat and produce on the menu and is the catering
service used by Beaufort Polo Club, a field where Prince Charles, William
and Harry have all played. The individually designed rooms are quite large
and fun in and of themselves, with side by side His and Her tubs in the
loft style bath area of the room I was in.
is one of the world's iconic hotels, with an enviable location just steps
from St. James Palace and Buckingham Palace. (The location alone will save
you beaucoup pounds of cab fare and time!) Since The Ritz London opened in
1906, the hotel has hosted "the great and the good, the intelligentsia, the
glitterati and thousands of discerning guests" both discretely and for high
profile photo opportunities. King Edward VIII (later to become the Duke of
Windsor) hosted parties there. Charlie Chaplin required 40 police officers
to make his way through fans. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her
80th birthday at The Ritz London, and celebrity and royal guests of the Royal
Wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, parked there for the occasion.
In short, the sky is the limit at The Ritz London. Whatever royal experience
you can imagine, they will create it -- provided you don't wear sneakers inside
the hotel. (They may have to make an exception for Mark Zuckerberg!)
|The Ritz London
|The Royal Dining
Room at The Ritz London
You can stay in The
Prince of Wales Suite, where you can host your private dinner party. You
can stuff yourself silly/happy at the world's most decadent, delightful
high tea, where you will be serviced nonstop with rolling carts of macaroons,
sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes. Ian Gomes', the Ritz Resident Pianist,
seamlessly plays Lady Gaga, followed by Frank Sinatra and Snow Patrol,
a little something for everyone to enjoy. At the art deco Rivoli
Bar, you can even drink gold in the Ritz 100 cocktail, where drinks are
truly culinary art.
|Yours Truly and
Marie Commiskey at The Ritz London High Tea
Dinner at The Ritz
Restaurant is a great way to cap a visit to Buckingham Palace, where you
can tour The Queen's Mews (stables) and Art Gallery. Executive Chef John
Williams has been awarded a Royal Warrant from His Royal Highness The Prince
of Wales for Banqueting and Catering Services -- the only chef to receive
this honor. Seasonal, organic produce and meat, when available, inspire
the daily menu selections. I've never had a more sumptuous terrine of goose
liver (with rhubarb and walnuts) in all of the world -- including Paris.
It was paired exquisitely by Head Sommelier Matteo Ramazzin, with an exceptional
2010 Lugana, Vigneto La Conchiglia, Citari from Veneto, Italy.
If you love to cook,
Chef John Williams is hosting a series of Master classes on the art of fine
dining, including fish and shellfish on July 12, 2012 and chocolate and
macaroons on September 26, 2012 . 250 pounds gets you a champagne reception,
a master class and a sumptuous 4-course dinner with immaculate wine pairings.
Contact Victoria Payne at email@example.com
to reserve your place or firstname.lastname@example.org
if you wish to combine your class with a stay in one of the Hotel's opulent
Louis XVI inspired guestrooms or suites.
Restormel Manor House and Cottages.
The Restormel Manor House and cottages are self-contained holiday homes,
owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, which are available for weekly rentals. You
will sleep just steps beneath the ancient castle of Restormel, which was owned
by the Black Prince, son of King Edward III, in 1362. Restormel Manor House
and Cottages are family-friendly, with an indoor-heated pool, tennis court,
game room, outdoor play area and endless grazing fields, full of cattle and
|Natalie Pace dancing
outside of Restormel Castle
Photo by: Marie Commiskey. (c) 2012. Used with permission.
Just down the road, you'll
find exceptional food in the village of Lostwithiel. The
Globe Inn offers daily specials and a fantastic Banofee Pie (dessert),
features delicious gourmet dining (but The Globe is just as good). Definitely
make reservations for both, as they fill up every night. The Fowley River
offers fun in the summer for kids, who wade and splash around while the parents
Browse the Restormel
Manor House guest book and you'll find that the Middleton's visited over Christmas
recently. (As you can imagine, the Royals who visit do so with discretion.)
It's great fun to shower surrounded by the Duchy of Cornwall tiles and have
your tea in a Duchy tea set. The beds are fluffy beyond compare.
While the experience
is priceless, this holiday is easily one of the more wallet-friendly of the
royal experiences, and it is local to a lot of other sites you'll want to
see. (It is easy to spend a week in Cornwall). Tintagel Castle, where Merlin's
Cave and the ruins associated with the King Arthur Legend are located, is
about 30 miles to the northwest. Boscastle, just up the road from Tintagel,
is a visually stunning seaside village. The
Other World (at Boscastle) is an impressive druid arts and witchcrafts
shop, full of Green Man collectibles. You can enjoy a tasty Boscastle pasty
Café, where their motto is "Today's Special and so are
The world-famous Eden
Project, which hosted Africa Calling: LIVE 8 with Peter Gabriel
on July 2, 2005, is just up the road from Restormel. The Eden Project houses
two enormous biodomes, one with a Rain Forest and the other with Mediterranean
plant life. The Eden Project is a hands-on educational, important, fun and
inspiring horticultural wonder, with plenty of viral ideas -- including The
Big Lunch. HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
officially opened The Eden Project on June 1, 2006, and the Project is part
of the Queen
Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, working to encourage urban communities
to grow their own food.
The sea is a 15-minute
drive from Restormel. Gourmands will want to treat themselves to Rick
Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow (a bit farther than the
seaside just down the road). If you're renting a car from London to Cornwall,
you can stop at Stonehenge
either to or from, as it is just off the road (and easily viewed from the
If you're interested in a royal riding holiday on one of the last remaining
wildernesses in the world, Dartmoor in Devon, Tor Royal is the best option.
When Steven Spielberg was in Dartmoor filming War Horse, he wrote,
"I have never before been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty…
With two-and-a-half weeks of extensive coverage of landscapes and skies, I
had hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered
|Scene from War
Horse, Jeremy Irvine galloping across the moor.
Tor Royal is now
a B&B, but it once served as the discrete farmhouse escape for many Princes
of Wales and their errr… closest friends. The Royal Suite includes a master
bedroom with The Prince of Wales insignia décor, stunning moor views,
an atrium living room, a formal dining room and a reading room. The stables
house people-friendly horses for the beginning to the expert rider. I was
raised on a farm, riding horses almost daily, and I've never had more fun
riding than I did with Bobby, who loves to canter across the moor.
|A Princetown local
celebrates the Diamond Jubilee at the Prince of Wales pub.
Pop into the Prince
of Wales pub to meet the locals and have a pint of locally produced
Dartmoor or Jail Ale. Tasty local cakes and cream tea can be had at Fox
Tor Café. Be sure to tour the Visitor
Center in Princetown, where you'll see the Ballroom of the former
Duchy Hotel, again, adorned with The Prince of Wales insignia throughout.
Americans and the French will also appreciate The
Church of St.
Michael's and All Angels (built in 1814) and the obelisks honoring
the POWs who died in the Dartmoor Prison.
Fair warning is that
you should plan on staying at least three days for a couple of reasons.
One is that it takes half a day (at least) to slow your pace down to appreciate
the remoteness and charm of Princetown. Secondly, the weather on the moor
is damp and you want to be sure to get in more than one ride without having
to brave a downpour (which I did, pat myself on the back!).
|Poundbury at Night.
Photo by Marie Commiskey. (c) 2012. Used with permission.
Poundbury is the living amalgamation of the integrated passions of The Prince
of Wales, as first outlined in his book A
Vision for Britain. Prince Charles hired master planner and
architectural consultant Leon Krier to help him create this village, which
is a must-see for any greenie who is interested in sustainable living, mixed-use
buildings, shared space, traffic calming and seamless side-by-side coexistence
of social and premium housing. Soon, by the end of September 2012, the city
will be powered by its own anaerobic
digestion gas to grid power plant as well, a project that is done
in conjunction with the Duchy of Cornwall and the local farmers, who provide
the farm waste for fuel and receive the fertilizer that is produced as a by-product.
Poundbury is a model village that can be duplicated by others interested in
giving back more to Nature than she provides -- living proof that sustainability
and social integration work, when planned well.
Fran Leaper, the secretary
of the Poundbury Residents Association, calls the Poundbury approach to socially
integrated housing "pepper potting." And indeed, as we walk through the footpaths
around the village, where truly every need can be obtained by walking, it
is impossible to identify the social housing from the resident-owned homes.
Soon, the village center
will feature a Queen Mother Monument (by sculptor Philip Jackson) and Square,
where pedestrians, cars, bikes and children all move around freely and safely.
There is a Waitrose grocery store, which offers Duchy Originals products (with
profits supporting The Prince's Charities), plenty of small businesses and
shops, the Poet Laureate pub, a community hall, three restaurants and even
a Poundbury wealth manager, Tim Gallego, who gets about town on his bike.
The biggest ongoing complaint is that the gravel sidewalks are too difficult
for those in wheelchairs and open-toed shoes to maneuver.
Sad to say, but the Poundbury
B&B was booked, so I am unable to offer you a review. Fortunately, there
is ample lodging nearby, in the town of Dorchester, including Little
Court -- a delightful little Edwardian B&B -- where I did
stay. The rooms are very small, but you will enjoy a full English breakfast
(tasty) and be received by very pleasant proprietors. Out back, there is a
large and beautiful garden, tennis court and pool.
I fell in love with the
English countryside and each of these getaways, and I strongly encourage travelers
to make these destinations the focal point of your tour to England. Also, be
sure to plan ahead, so that you can tour Highgrove, Buckingham Palace, the Queen's
Art Gallery and Mews, have high tea at The Ritz London (which is always oversold)
and experience Restormel and Tor Royal (both).
*BBSRC, ESRC and NERC are
the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic and
Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council
About Natalie Pace:
Natalie Pace is the author of You
Vs. Wall Street and Put
Your Money Where Your Heart Is. She is the founder and CEO of the
Women’s Investment Network, LLC (a global financial news, information and education
site), where she has been adding a splash of green to Wall Street and transforming
lives on Main Street for more than a decade. Natalie is a blogger on HuffingtonPost.com
and a repeat guest on national television and radio shows such as Good Morning
America, Fox News, CNBC, ABC-TV, Forbes.com, NPR and more. As a strong believer
in giving back, she has been instrumental in raising tens of millions for public
schools, financial literacy, the arts and underserved women and girls worldwide.
Follow her on Facebook.com/NWPace.
For more information please visit NataliePace.com.
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