Honeymoon Itinerary: England

The U.K. is all the rage, thanks to a certain couple (Will and Kate), a certain sporting event (the Olympics), and a certain PBS series we can't get enough of (all hail Downton Abbey). Here, a week of big-city and rural adventures across the pond

Photo: Getty Images


Day 1
Morning Skip the soulless, corporate behemoths and go for a boutique experience. Try the Charlotte Street Hotel, which is brilliantly located near Covent Garden, Mayfair, and Soho and has 52 brightly colored, cozy rooms—plus a stylish drawing room where you can help yourselves to wine and fancy Scotch from the honor bar. Rooms from $495; Another gem is Blakes, in cushy South Kensington, where the 47 rooms and Opium Den lounge have a sexy, Far East feel and you may bump into Gwyneth dodging paparazzi. Rooms from $338

Afternoon When celebrities want to be seen, they head for the Wolseley—a grand café on Piccadilly Road. Airline food didn't cut it, so dig into the sublime burger.

Evening After a nap, jump a taxi to Notting Hill and share the black-cod tempura with yuzu aioli and spare ribs at E&O—it turns into a real scene at night.

Day 2
Morning Lucinda Bredin, editor of The London Magazine, suggests a perfect pairing: art at the Tate Modern and a grazing lunch (baked pork pies, cheese nibbles) at the famous food emporium Borough Market.

Afternoon Tour the hottest royal attraction of 2012: Kensington Palace, Will and Kate's new home, fresh off a $19 million renovation.

Evening See Shakespeare's delectable A Midsummer Night's Dream at the intimate Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park. Afterward, go for dinner at quirky, romantic Odette's in nearby Primrose Hill.

Day 3
Morning Visit arty Shoreditch (think Williamsburg, Brooklyn), full of cafés, boutiques, and high-profile galleries like White Cube.

Afternoon Leave hipsterville for posh Mayfair and Claridge's hotel, which serves a champagne tea that's fabulously full-on formal.

Evening Go Italian for your last night (there's loads of English yumminess to come) at the River Café in Hammersmith, where the pastas are made fresh.


Day 4
Morning Pick up a rental car and drive an hour and a half northwest to the wildly picturesque Cotswolds, a 790-square-mile area of rolling emerald hills and honey-colored thatched-roof cottages. Village-and-pub-hopping has always been popular, but the area's profile has been raised in recent years thanks to famous residents like Liz Hurley, Kate Winslet, and Damien Hirst.

Afternoon Arrive in tiny Barnsley and unpack at Barnsley House, a 17th-century manor where the rooms are contemporary, not granny-floral-chintzy. Rooms from $365. There's also a sleek spa with a heated outdoor hydrotherapy pool.

Evening Enjoy a seductive dinner for two in the hotel's Roman-style temple, set in a gorgeous garden.

Day 5
Morning Explore Painswick's six-acre Rococo Gardens, home to scores of roses and a swirling hedge maze à la Alice in Wonderland.

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