To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, ONIN were invited to the ‘Art of London Royal Warrants’ walking tour and Art of London experiences including a high tea at Fortnum & Mason, cocktails at Sofitel Hotel, and a West End theatre production.
Our walking tour was led by Katie Wignall, founder of Look Up London. Katie is a multi award-winning London history blogger and prize-winning Blue Badge Tourist Guide, who since 2015 has been showing Londoners (and visitors) the history of this great city. The tour began at Green Park (ever wondered how it got its name?), and over 2 hours we saw a number of businesses stocking Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, or those connected to the Royals. Some of the stops included the Wolseley, cheese makers Paxton and Whitfield, Hatchards bookstore (one of a few businesses that have all three Royal Warrants), as well as the Royal Academy of Arts where the first prototype of the telephone box still stands.
One of the favourite stops was Floris London, a perfumery which has released a new scent celebrating the Platinum jubilee. You can also smell the scents worn by the likes of Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming and Marilyn Monroe to name a few. Seeing all the amazing chocolates at Prestat Chocolates was another favourite stop. I’ve lived in London for 6 years and this history-filled walk certainly showed me some of the secrets of London hidden in plain sight. I’d definitely recommend Katie as a guide. For full details of tours, dates and prices please see her website or if check out her guidebook ‘ Look Up London’ released 26 May 2022.
A delicious High Tea awaited us at Fortnum and Masons. The scones were light but a bit too crumbly, while the patisseries were so beautiful to look at you almost didn’t want to eat them! We simply couldn’t resist trying the Platinum Jubilee Tea Blend- a subtle, smoky blend to commentate the 12th monarch who has sat on the throne since the company was founded. The Jubilee Beacon cocktail is inspired by Her Majesty’s favourite ripples including gin, Dubonnet, and Royal Tokaji (a wine). It was a sweet cocktail, that was so easy to drink.
We then had Jubilee cocktails at the St James Bar in the Sofitel Hotel. The venue has created three delectable concoctions in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: The Lilibet Fizz, The Coronation and Jubilee Gimlet. We had the Lillibet Fizz (£18) featuring Pimm’s No. 1 and Bollinger champagne, two of the Queen’s best loved beverages. It was served in a tall glass and ice and was very refreshing.
Our final stop of the evening was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary musical The Phantom of the Opera which has now returned to its home at Her Majesty’s Theatre and is currently celebrating its 35th year on the West End. I’ve seen the stage and movie version numerous times, but each time I’m still mesmerised by the haunting and romantic music. I even had goosebumps when the chandelier was raised. This is the first time I’ve seen the production since the new cast starring Olivier Award nominee Killian Donnelly as The Phantom, Lucy St. Louis as Christine Daaé and Rhys Whitfield as Raoul who wowed the audience.
With the Platinum Jubilee right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to see the locations and businesses associated with royalty. Our experience was organised by Art of London, a non-profit showcasing the West End as a creative district brimming with culture. For further information about timings and prices please see the relevant websites for the businesses discussed. We hope you are able to have a lovely time in the West End celebrating the Platinum Jubilee.
These are just some of the locations in the West End and around St James’s that hold a Royal Warrant. If you’d like to do the tour yourself, visit the Art of London website here to discover the stops. Or book yourself in with expert tour guide Katie Wignall here.
Written by Caitlin Neal