It seems the UK is on the verge of a mass tourism explosion due to this year’s Royal wedding.
I know that Westminster Abbey is quite big but I can’t see the British economy being saved by the 8,200 American and Japanese visitors you might be able to get inside it (despite the extra sales of baseball caps and Fuji film). So if potential sightseers want some Royal connection with their holiday they could do a lot worse than visit the Isle of Wight (and I’m not just talking about the commemorative plates on sale in Island Co-op’s).
I have it from an extremely unreliable source that the stag do that precedes April’s Royal wedding is going to take place here on the Island in Cowes and its surrounds.
It’s not as farfetched as it initially sounds that these young gentlemen have dismissed the seedier and more scandalous resorts for the genteel, slow paced and laid back Isle of Wight and its rolling hills and splendid scenery, to tie the young Prince to a lamppost naked.
Royal family links to the Island are numerous. For starters it was the building of the ‘Rat O’ Wight’ for Queen Elizabeth I in 1589 that initiated Cowes as a boat building town. In 1826 George IV instigated the Cowes Regatta. More recently several local residents including Ellen MacArthur (Dame), Alan Titchmarsh (MBE) and Cliff Michelmore (CBE) have been to visit the Queen for tea.
Anyway, as I’m led to believe, as Harry and Wills mulled over where to go for the latter’s last night of freedom Grandma walked in and said they could crash at their Great Great Great Great Grandmother Queen Victoria’s holiday home, Osborne House at East Cowes, as long as the servants cleaned up afterwards and they laid a wreath at Carisbrooke Castle, a pre execution prison for their ancestor Charles I.
The Royal brothers having famously patronized the Anchor Inn in Cowes a few years back, and fondly remembering the general attitude they received there, decided to take Granny up on the offer.
The Isle of Wight is not as boring a party venue as you may have been led to believe, it has all the usual stag activities like paintballing, coasteering, water sports etc, plus lots of decent accommodation and a choice of pub crawls- so there’s plenty to keep the Royal party entertained.
Apparently the itinerary begins with Pimms in the Swiss Cottage, in the grounds of Osborne House, while the Royal groom dresses in his mankini with ball and chain accessory, before getting the chain link ferry across to Cowes for high jinks.
In Cowes they could indulge in a spot of yachting at the home of sailing, then take elevenses at the Royal Yacht Squadron. Cowes offers ideal shopping opportunities with some super boutiques as well as several prestigious sailing outlets and there’s even a shop that sells original Star wars figures and films on VHS.
For those refined characters certain to be in the group, Cowes and the surrounding areas provide a variety of activities. For the military men there is the Tank Museum on the Cowes Road (with moving tank displays on Wednesday’s!). There is the Cowes maritime museum for the sailors, Kendall’s Fine Art for the art connoisseur and for the big game hunter there is Amazon World (though elephant guns must be left at the entrance).
Cowes offers the drinker a variety of establishments from lively pubs through refined bistro’s, to elegant hotels for the lads to conclude the future kings last night of freedom.
The Isle of Wight is the destination of choice for Kings and Queens (even if some do end up behind bars or tied to lampposts).