After seven decades on the throne, it’s unsurprising that Queen Elizabeth II is not only the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch, but also the most well-travelled! From state visits and extended royal tours to off-the-beaten-track safaris and encounters close to the Arctic Circle, she’s well versed in complex itineraries. And although her travels have taken her all around the world – 117 countries to be precise – there are a few spots that are particularly noteworthy.
In celebration of the Platinum Jubilee, settle in - cup of tea in hand of course - as we unpack travel destinations synonymous with Her Majesty.
The only place outside the United Kingdom that The Queen has called home, Malta is a small archipelago in the central Mediterranean that boasts having 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. Then Princess Elizabeth, she lived here between 1949 and 1951 during Prince Philip’s stationing with the Royal Navy. Living a relaxed lifestyle, going shopping in her Morris Minor, taking boat trips around the sparkling blue waters of the islands and enjoying their sprawling 18th century mansion home, the Villa Guardamangia, it was an extremely happy time for the young couple. It also holds a particular poignancy as it was the last overseas destination the couple visited before Prince Philip’s passing in 2021.
The deep Kenyan forest is renowned as the place where The Princess became The Queen. As the first stop on a Commonwealth tour that Elizabeth had embarked upon with Prince Philip, they stayed in Kenya’s oldest safari lodge, Treetops, an elaborate treehouse on the edge of a watering hole in Aberdare National Park. The Princess spent her time capturing photographs of charging rhinos and migrating elephants which could all be spotted from the viewing platform amongst the upper branches of a giant fig tree.
It was also here that she received the news that her father, George VI, had passed away after succumbing to his long battle with lung cancer, which prompted a famous quote in the visitors’ book by the naturalist Jim Corbett: "For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and, after having what she described as her most thrilling experience, she climbed down from the tree next day a queen."
The Queen has made 22 official royal visits to Canada and as their head of state, it comes as no surprise she’s visited each and every province from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Her most in-depth visit was during the state tour of 1994, which included the undertaking of an intrepid trek just 400 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle to the Northwest Territories. Later on, in 2002 she toured the provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the territory of Nunavut, for her Golden Jubilee. She has a particular soft spot for the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, having stayed there every decade since she became Queen.
The Queen’s love for Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire is widely known. A place of refuge, to relax and enjoy the wild and remote landscape of the Scottish Highlands, it’s where the Queen goes to fully unwind with family. She owns the castle personally – as opposed to it being part of the hereditary Crown Estate – and has visited every summer since she assumed the throne in 1952. The Balmoral grounds, gardens and Ballroom are open to visitors for part of the year if you’re keen to see the Royal Family’s Scottish holiday home for yourself!
So there we have it, the top destinations around the world fit for royalty. Will you be adding any of these to you bucket list? If so, get in touch with your local Travellers Choice agent