On a recent 10-hour layover in London, I decided to skip the shopping or quickie tour and do something completely different. I signed up for a Royal Day Out.
I found Lauren and Max on AirBnB Experiences. Their experience said, “Come spend a day with us by dressing up in 18th Century costumes and wandering the streets of London.”
Strange, fun and unforgettable. What a perfect way to spend an afternoon in London! From the airport, I took the tube to their flat in Nottinghill and Lauren got me ready for my Royal Day Out.
While there, I had to ask Lauren how this idea came about. She told me, it all began at their wedding. They had held their wedding in an old chateau in Italy and had all the guests arrive in period ball gowns and suits.
“We – and our guests – had so much fun, we decided to recreate the experience with people visiting London,” Lauren told me.
Lauren is American and moved to London a few years ago so she knows what it’s like to see all the historical buildings and sights you’ve seen in movies for the first time. She wants to make the Royal Day Out experience as memorable for visitors as her wedding day was for her guests.
Lauren has over a dozen different gowns in various colors and sizes. She also has wigs, tiaras, globes and other accessories. Outfits and wigs for men are also available.
“The collection keeps growing. Max says our living room is now a wardrobe!” she said.
Your Royal Day out begins with British dainties and a champagne toast, while you slip into costume. From there the day can vary. With me, we strolled the streets of Nottinghill, the market and the parks around the palace, but Lauren says she has done other tours based on the groups and what they wanted to do.
“I’ve done a pub crawl with a small group, we’ve also gone antiques shopping, and on rainy days, we often stroll through the museums of the area,” Lauren said. “I’m open to ideas as well and because we’ve only been doing this for a few months, we are always experimenting with new tours.”
I admit at first I was nervous as I don’t really like to be the center of attention – and when you are the only person wondering the streets in a fancy brightly colored dress, you will be the center. All eyes are on you. But for some reason, once you put on the wig, you are immediately transformed into a different person. And the Brits are fantastic. Many of them bowed as I walked by or snapped photos.
Along the way, Lauren gives you a bit of history of the area and snaps photos of you looking lovely (or dapper if a guy) in your Royal outfit. The tour lasts around 4-hours.