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A weekend in Princess Margaret’s London

Our latest brand campaign celebrates Princess Margaret just in time for the release date of The Crown season 3. Arguably the UK’s most stylish royal, the Princess’s impeccable taste extended far beyond her wardrobe: some of her favourite social haunts are well worth a visit today.

 

We’ve put together a weekend tour that will take you from Kensington to the East End and see you try some of the best old-school food, drink and entertainment that London has to offer. Your best glad rags are encouraged; stamina is essential!

SATURDAY

Start your Saturday afternoon with a later lunch at Maggie Jones’s in Kensington. Originally called Nan’s kitchen, the restaurant was renamed after its most famous regular, Margaret, who used to dine here with Lord Snowdon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The restaurant is still a favourite with locals today, serving classic English and European dishes in a cosy, rustic setting. Like what you see of the area’s properties? Pop into Marsh & Parsons Kensington which is right next door.

You’ll need to work up an appetite for later, so walk across Hyde Park to Les Ambassadeurs, which has been open since the 19th century and was host to Margaret’s favourite club in the 1950s, the Milroy. Take in the building’s fabulous architecture- the library room is particularly worth a visit- before settling down for a few games and a drink.

It’s now time to head up Piccadilly to another favourite of the princess, Wiltons, for dinner. Wiltons is classy, discreet and traditional- it’s been around since 1742. You’ll be in good company while enjoying seafood and classic English meat mains. Not only did Princess Margaret eat here in the 1960s, but the restaurant also has a royal warrant for supplying oysters to the royal household.

Now for the final destination of the evening- you’ve got a choice! Head into the heart of the West End to cabaret club Café de Paris, host of Margaret’s 21st birthday party. It’s another London institution, open since 1924, and has accommodated a string of performers including Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra over the years. Today you can catch a disco cabaret show telling the story of the legendary Studio 54. If you’re not too full from Wilton’s there are bar snacks available, or take advantage of the cabaret happy hour.

Cabaret not your thing? Walk up into Soho to the renowned Ronnie Scott’s, and settle in for a night of jazz instead. The club manages to be both a barometer for the up-and-coming and a host to world-famous acts, so you’re sure to be in for a treat whoever you end up seeing- Margaret herself saw Kenny Clarke when she visited. The club’s open until 3am, and has an extensive drinks list, plus small plates and sandwiches, for everyone who’s in it for the long haul.

SUNDAY

After a sleep in, it’s time for Sunday lunch at Qualingo’s. Most of Margaret’s extended family have eaten here over the years, and the princess herself had a permanently-reserved table known as ‘The Royal Enclosure’. It’s undergone something of a revamp since her day but retains a buzzy atmosphere, helped along at Sunday lunch by a bottomless beverage option on the menu.

Finally, it’s time to leave central London and head to the East End for an afternoon at the Prospect of Whitby. It’s the oldest establishment on this list, dating back to the 1520s, and remains prevalent in English popular culture today. Margaret and her friends used to make an evening of it, although its views across the Thames to the City make it a wonderful place to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon.

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