Whether you’re a royalist, a history buff, or just looking for a taste of aristocratic life, here’s a handful of royal residences that any commoner can stay in, even if just for a few nights.
Balmoral Castle, Scotland
Every summer during her reign, Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family would leave London and head north to Balmoral, her estate in the Scottish Highlands.
King Charles, on the other hand, prefers his own house on the estate, Birkhall, which he inherited from the Queen Mother in 2002. While the castle is certainly the big draw, there are a handful of which cottages within the estate's grounds available to rent on a weekly basis. BalmoralCastle.com
Sandringham Estate, England
Like Balmoral, Sandringham Estate is one of the royal estates personally owned by the monarch. During Queen Elizabeth's time, it was best known as the place where the royal family spent Christmas every year, and King Charles looks set to continue the tradition, having spent the festive season there last year. Happily for us commoners, what was formerly the head gardener’s house is available to rent year-round. HolidayCottage.com
Restormel Manor, Cornwall
King Charles' Cornish home is Restormel Manor, a 15th-century house with cottages on the estate. Such is the house’s place at the heart of the community that, when the royals are not in residence, the manor - which has both an indoor pool and a tennis court in its grounds - is available to rent as part of the Duchy Estate. The clever part is that the nine-bedroom manor, which sleeps 18 people, encompasses three separate wings and can therefore be divided into three parts, each with its own kitchen and entrance.
The grounds of Llwynywermod, the King’s Welsh estate, are well supplied with places to stay. Originally built as a model farm, it now comprises three cottages and the main house for the use of the the King and Queen. Among the holiday rentals is the North Range, a converted barn. In line with his environmental commitment, it's almost completely sustainable, with a wood chip boiler and renewable electricity.
Castle of Mey, Scotland
Up until her death in 2002, the Castle of Mey - right at the very top of Scotland's north east coast - was a beloved home of the Queen Mother. Now, the trust that operates it opens it regularly to the public - and turned one of its cottages, the Captain’s House, into a rentable property. It includes a conservatory which overlooks an enclosed garden and offers wide sea views. The estate is also home to the Granary Lodge, a ten-bedroom B&B, situated between the castle and the shore, with traditional interiors.