Saturday From a morning pick up in your local area we travel by comfortable coach direct to Windsor where admission to Windsor Castle is included in your break. This 11th-century castle, set in 5,000 acres of deer park, has been home to monarchs for 900 years and has 500 staff, 1,000 rooms and more gilt, velvet and Old Masters than you can shake a tiara at.
Well over forty kings, queens and royal princes and princesses are interred in the Castle's St George's Chapel, from King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville in the 15th century, to Henry VIII and his wife Jane Seymour, to George VI and more recently the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
There are lots of state rooms and state apartments to visit, plus an astonishing doll's house, built by Britain's premier architect Sir Edwin Lutyens as a present for Queen Mary.
It's a 4-storey Edwardian mansion, beautifully furnished, with electric chandeliers, lifts, running water and flushable toilets, a secret garden, a wine cellar with genuine vintages, real oil paintings and a library with around 200 printed volumes specially written for it by, among others, Hardy, Kipling, JM Barrie and Conan Doyle. Only Bernard Shaw and Elgar refused to print miniature versions of their works for the library, grumpily considering the entire project ridiculous.
According to a weapons inventory taken in 1330, the castle grounds once contained a huge siege catapult ("una magna balista") called Lady Gunhilda (Domina Gunilda), which is thought to be the origin of the word 'gun' (for more on this see here: Online Etymology Dictionary).
In the late afternoon we continue on to the hotel for dinner and our overnight stay.
Sunday A princely full English breakfast first, then we travel into central London for our morning admission to Buckingham Palace. It's huge – there are carpets as big as cricket fields, state rooms the size of bus depots, and lofty vaulted corridors dripping with Holbeins and Van Dykes. After the long period when Queen Victoria shuttered herself and the Palace away, it was revived in the early 1900s when Edward VII and his fashionable Marlborough Set brought joie de vivre back to Buckingham Palace and he had the whole place done out in the latest Belle Époque colours; gold, cream, and a riot of reds and pinks. Things haven't changed since, and it remains the ultimate show home and an amazing place to visit. There will be plenty of time to look around the Palace and explore the souvenir shop before we set off for home in the mid afternoon.