Mark HM The Queen’s 70 year reign this coming Jubilee weekend, with our guide to the festivities in Central England.
Official royal celebrations
In the UK’s long tradition of beacon lighting that celebrates royal jubilees, weddings and coronations, across the country on the 2 June, 70 beacons will be lit in each county to mark the monarch’s 70-year reign. Leicestershire will be lighting up its National Space Centre and County Hall, and communities across the county will be lighting their beacon braziers at night.
Special Platinum Jubilee celebrations
The Severn Valley Railway’s 34027 Taw Valley steam locomotive engine is temporarily being renamed Elizabeth II and is being painted purple by the railway in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The first ever Cambridgeshire County Day (23 June) will feature a Jubilee-themed garden party, exhibitions, demonstrations and performances. The event is set to showcase key achievements in Cambridgeshire during the 70 years of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign.
In Leicestershire, the Lord Lieutenant is hosting a Platinum Jubilee Garden Party at Beaumanor Hall for 70 Leicestershire residents born in 1952, the year Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne.
A Platinum Jubilee Garden Party in Leicestershire
Set in 500 acres of Capability Brown parkland, Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray has heritage and history at every turn, both indoors and out. Throughout June, the historic hotel is offering a special Platinum Jubilee themed Afternoon Tea, with each exquisite item founded within a decade of the Queen’s reign – from 1950’s Coronation Chicken sandwiches to 1980’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake (£35 pp or £40 pp including a cocktail). The hotel is also hosting an afternoon party in its bucolic Rose Garden (£35 pp; 2 June), complete with brass band, bunting, picnic blankets and Pimms. An overnight stay at Stapleford Park costs from £190 per night (two sharing), including full English breakfast and use of the spa.
Rutland’s Royal connections
The picturesque county of Rutland was a traditional part of a wedding gift to Anglo-Saxon Queens. This started with Emma of Normandy, who was granted ‘Roteland’ on her marriage to King Ethelred the Unready in 1002 AD. Oakham Castle has a tradition of collecting decorative horseshoes from any visiting Monarch or Peers of the Realm. The Great Hall displays this unique collection of over 230 ornate ceremonial horseshoes, the oldest surviving one from Edward IV in 1470 to Queen Elizabeth II’s horseshoe taking pride of place. Stay in style nearby at Rutland’s most captivating hotel Hambleton Hall, an elegant country house hotel with glorious views over Rutland Water, beautiful flower-filled gardens and an excellent Michelin-starred restaurant. An overnight stay at Hambleton Hall costs from £295 per night (two sharing), including full English breakfast.
Royal lodgings in the Cambridgeshire countryside
Set in idyllic surroundings on the River Nene, the Haycock Manor Hotel is a stunning 16th Century Coaching Inn, set in the picturesque medieval village of Wansford with a curious royal past. Nestled within the heart of the Cambridgeshire countryside, it is thought that Mary Queen of Scots lodged at The Haycock on her way to her imprisonment and later execution at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. Princess Alexandrina Victoria, later to be crowned Queen Victoria, stayed at the Haycock in 1832 on her way to visit the Archbishop of York. During the 19th century, the Haycock was a popular hostelry for European royalty indulging their passion for the chase. Empress Elizabeth of Austria, the Prince of Liechtenstein and numerous other princes, princesses all stayed at the Haycock in season to ride to hounds. Today, a stay at the hotel is a rather more sophisticated affair – there are 49 stunningly designed bedrooms and suites, two restaurants, a cocktail bar, plus guests have access to canoes, paddleboards and bikes to explore the river and countryside. An overnight stay at Haycock Manor costs from £220 per night (two sharing), including full English breakfast.