Avoid these Royal Wedding rip-offs
Many firms have seen a way to make a killing out of the Royal Wedding.
With the Royal Wedding fast approaching, London hotels and businesses are planning to make a killing at the expense of Royal enthusiasts. But are there ways of seeing the Procession without being ripped-off?
Unless you are a die-hard fan of the Royal Family you might not see the attraction of paying through the nose to catch a fleeting, distant glimpse of the happy couple.
With an estimated 600,000 people due to descend on London for the big day, it is an event that will attract massive global interest, promising a great atmosphere. There will be a variety of entertainments for the crowds lining the way, such as the Band of the Cold Stream Guards who will be playing a range of ‘show tunes, pop-songs and sing-along ditties’ (if that’s your cup of tea!).
Who is cashing in?
Although hotels are the first culprits to spring to mind, all manner of businesses will be taking advantage of the big day.
It is believed that thousands of pounds are changing hands just to get a good vantage point of the Royal Procession. Starting at Westminster Abbey, the route passes the Houses of Parliament and Horse Guards Parade then continues down The Mall, past St James’ Park and Clarence House, ending up at Buckingham Palace.
The most sought after spot, right next to Westminster Abbey, is the Sanctuary, where it is rumoured that a mere £100,000 will buy you a coveted view of proceedings. The Hindustan Times has reported that the nearby National Iranian Oil Company is letting out two of its offices on the second and third floors for the same £100,000 price tag.
All very well if you have money (and sense) to burn, but probably not appealing to the rest of us!
Can you still book a hotel room?
Royal Wedding tourists have already snapped up most of the 90,000 hotel rooms across the capital. Inevitably hotels are ramping up prices, and most are imposing compulsory 3 night stays, but there are still rooms left if you can afford them!
If you want to stay in the same hotel as Kate, The Goring, it will cost you up to £1,525 a night (although of course it won’t, as there are none available, so put your credit card away).
If only the best will do, then take a look at some of the luxury packages available in central London. The 5* Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington is offering a three night package from £840. If you can’t stretch to that you can still get a room in a more everyday establishment like Travelodge. Prices are still inflated, with a double room in the Waterloo Travelodge going for £99 instead of the usual £69.90, but not horrific. To grab a bargain check websites like Laterooms.com where unsold rooms are being discounted just before the big day.
Do you have to be in the thick of it?
The further away you venture from the centre of London, the cheaper and more plentiful rooms will become.
For example, 3* and 4* hotels in Docklands – just a short Tube ride from Westminster – can still be booked for around £65 to £75 a night. Keep an eye on travel news if you plan to do this, but London’s Transport Commissioner has assured us that all Tube lines will be running and there are no planned engineering works. You can access live travel news on the day via the Transport for London website.
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Train lines bringing passengers into London from around the UK are planning to run normal weekday services, with many putting on extra carriages. Look out for quirky promotions. Chiltern Railways, which runs services between London and Birmingham, is offering free travel to passengers named Kate, Catherine or William (photographic ID is required)!
What are your other options?
If you’re an outdoors type, you could always go camping. This doesn’t have to mean setting up a tent on the pavement in the style of a Westminster protestor. Take a look at Camp Royale. It’s only £75 for three nights, and is an affordable and exciting way to bag your place in London for the Wedding. But, in their own words, ‘Be quick, spaces are limited!’
If you can get a place, beware of the slightly disgraceful booking fee - £7.95 is added to an adult £75 ticket. This charge is broken down to a £4.95 booking fee, as well as ‘a fee of £2.95 [which] will be added to each transaction’. Why?! Fingers crossed that the Office of Fair Trading succeeds in their quest to ban retailers from charging exorbitant booking fees and surcharges.
Despite this annoying fee, it is a great idea and promises to be one of the most cost-effective, and lively, places to stay over the Royal Wedding weekend.