The town of Windsor may be getting all the attention right now due to the impending nuptials between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Windsor Castle, but there are plenty of other, equally royal places worth exploring throughout England.
One of which is the enchanting neighborhood of St. James, another favorite haunt among the royal family.
St. James, located between Piccadilly and The Mall, has long been favored by the Windsors and the royal family due to its proximity to Buckingham Palace. In fact, it’s such a favorite that the Queen, who primarily resides at Buckingham, has handed out numerous official royal warrants to shops, restaurants, and more in the area.
So if you want a genuinely royally-approved British experience, here’s where you can shop, eat, and sleep to feel closer to her Majesty, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and the soon-to-be royal, Meghan Markle.
Lock & Co. Hatters
Hatter to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Charles, Prince of Whales, Locke & Co Hatters has long been a favorite with the royal family and their friends. Which friends, you ask? Well, the haberdashers at Locke & Co. are known in high society circles for crafting Winston Churchill's famous homburg and bowler hats. So if you’re in the market for something to cover your head, this is most certainly the place. lockhatters.co.uk
John Lobb Ltd.
John Lobb and his descendants are the owners of not one but two royal warrants from His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, and His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. And really, it’s no surprise why.
Founder John Lobb opened shop in the 19th century, crafting trendy and durable leather shoes and boots that stood both the test of time and England’s harsh winters. Beyond the royals, other fans of the shop’s shoes have included Frank Sinatra, Lord Oliver, Harold Macmillan, and Eva Gardner. Though Hèrmes acquired the brand in recent years, its St. James shop remains family-owned to this day. johnlobbltd.co.uk
If you want to smell like the Queen, there is only one place you can go: Floris. As the only perfumer to hold a royal warrant from the Queen, it’s likely the only perfume she spritzes on in the morning.
The company’s first royal warrant, however, wasn’t for perfumes but instead was given in 1820 by King George IV for the store’s combs.
Since then, the business has flourished. To satisfy increasing demand for more products, the family set up a factory in Devon, England in the late 1980s— Princess Diana herself on hand to cut the opening ribbon. florislondon.com
Paxton & Whitfield
The royal family is steeped in tradition and, interestingly, so is their favorite cheese. It seems the Windsors prefer to choose their cheeses exclusively from Paxton & Whitfield, the oldest cheesemonger in England.
The shop’s relationship with the Royal Warrant Holders Association dates back to Queen Victoria in 1850, and now holds two royal warrants, one from the Prince of Wales and one from Queen Elizabeth II. Those weren’t the only warrants given to the shop. Over the years, it's also held Warrants from HM King Edward VII, HM King George V, HM King George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
The Stafford London
The Stafford London hotel sits squarely in the middle of the St. James neighborhood. Because of its prime location—and proximity to Buckingham—it has a somewhat lengthy history with the royal family.
The 105-room luxury boutique hotel was originally built as private residences in the 17th century. At that time it was owned by Lord and Lady Lyttelton, daughter of the then Earl Spencer who served as a nanny to Queen Victoria’s children.
Since then, the hotel has stayed cherished by the family and is still frequented by the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips and her husband, former English rugby player Mark Tindall.
If you want to live like a royal and see all St. James has to offer, the hotel’s head concierge, Frank Laino, is more than happy to guide guests throughout the streets of St. James. By request, he can arrange exclusive experiences such as fittings, private shopping experiences, prime dinner reservations, and more. So go ahead, get out of Windsor and see what St. James has to offer. thestaffordlondon.com