The Electric Cinema, Notting Hill
St Andrews, Scotland
Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey
Notting Hill, London
Do you remember the photos of the late Princess Diana with William the schoolboy on his first day at school? He was dressed in the long dark socks and short trousers of a typical English school uniform, and sporting the red tie that identified his destination as Wetherby School, in Pembridge Square. If you saw the 1991 film Notting Hill you'll already know that the tree-lined streets and white stucco houses make this a lovely area of London to stroll around on a lazy afternoon. It's just a short walk westwards to the renowned Portobello Road market with its arcades, galleries and independent shops, and the specialist antiques market on Saturdays; there are plenty of bustling cafes and you can find all sorts of bargains and specialities including second-hand and vintage clothing and gourmet food. What's more, number 191 Portobello Road is the home of the Electric Cinema, famous for its romantic double seats – just right for a loving couple!
Eton College, near Windsor
Many of the recent generations of British royals have been educated at Gordonstoun in Scotland, but William broke with tradition and attended Eton, close to Windsor Castle and one of the oldest schools in the country. The school was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide free education for 70 poor children. Public tours can be booked at the Eton College gift shop in the High Street, where you can also buy souvenirs of the school, including the typical boater-style straw hat. While William was at Eton, the press agreed not to intrude on his school life in exchange for regular official updates on his progress. Back then, of course, Kate had no worries about evading photographers while she was at school at the prestigious Marlborough College, in the wonderful rolling green countryside of the Wiltshire Downs.
Clarence House, London
Built in the 1820s, Clarence House has always been the home of royalty. This was where William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth lived after her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, then, from 1953, it was home to the late Queen Mother. Now it is the official London residence of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and also of the Princes William and Harry. This is where the young couple gave their first interview together in November to announce their engagement, and after they marry they are expected to continue to use William's suite of apartments in Clarence House while in London for official visits. In summer, part of the house is open to the public, but at other times of year only the grand facade can admired, set back on the right hand side of the Mall as you approach Buckingham Palace. The entrance is guarded by imperturbable Queen's guards who stand outside their sentry boxes in full dress uniform complete with red tunics and bearskins.
Windsor Castle, Windsor
Another of the official royal residences, Windsor Castle is where William celebrated his 21st birthday party. Windsor is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, and when the Queen is in residence the Union Flag is flown above the magnificent round tower. Many parts of the castle are open to the public, including St George's Chapel which is a fine example of Gothic architecture. The castle is also home to the impressive Queen Mary's dolls house which took three years to build and boasts electricity, running water and even flushable loos!
Hammersmith and Chiswick, London
For a short time, Kate was a member of the Sisterhood, a high-profile women's rowing team who train on the stretch of the Thames between Chiswick and Hammersmith, so this part of London, one of the most beautiful – and expensive – residential areas of the capital, will be familiar to the young couple. The fine aristocratic houses of the area include Chiswick House, the spectacular neo-Palladian villa of Lord Burlington, and Syon Park, the London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Hammersmith, meanwhile, is famous for its riverside pubs, such as the labyrinthine Old Ship which dates from the eighteenth century and is a perfect place to raise a glass to the happy couple.
Kate worked as a buyer for the high-street fashion chain Jigsaw for a while; she was based in Kew but we recommend a visit to the store at 126-7 New Bond Street: designed by minimalist architect John Pawson, it's a haven of peace and tranquility. Once there, you can take a walk past some of the capital's most stylish shops to Garrard & Co on Albemarle Street. The world's oldest jewellers, this is the house who supplied Princess Diana's sapphire and diamond engagement ring. And of course that's the precious ring that William carried around Kenya in his backpack waiting for just the right moment to pop the question.
Opposite South Kensington tube station is the entrance to the discreet private club, Boujis where Kate and William have been known to start their nights out together. They might then head on to the tropical ambience of Mahiki, in Mayfair, said to be their favourite venue, where Kate would sit on the Princess's throne in the Aloha Room enjoying a Lovers' Cup or Honolulu Honey cocktail. The young couple have also been known to go on to the trendy Whisky Mist at number 35, Hertford Street, W1.
St James's Palace, London
If you're in London on a fine day, don't miss a walk in the gardens of St James's Palace, one of the most beautiful public gardens in the kingdom. The palace itself is not open to the public, and although the monarch now lives at Buckingham Palace, St James's is still the formal base of the royal court and comprises a whole complex of official apartments, offices and residences. It includes York House where William and Harry lived with their father. In the shop windows around the area, you can do a little royal-warrant spotting. At Berry Bros. & Rudd, the wine mercants, and John Lobb the boot makers, you will see the royal arms displayed. This fine recommendation means that the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or Prince Charles have been customers there for over five years.
St Andrews, Scotland
Not all the royal romance locations are in southern England, of course. The love story started up in the north at Scotland's University of St Andrews. Founded en1413, St Andrews is the third oldest university in the world. No visit would be complete without at least taking a look at the grand facade of St Salvator's, the student residence where the two lived before they shared a house on the delightfully named Hope Street. St Salvator's boasts fine views of the bay of St Andrews and out over the North Sea, and there can be little doubt that Kate and William enjoyed more than one romantic walk on the beach of West Sands. St Andrews is also known as the birthplace of golf, and thousands of golfers make their pilgrimage each year to play the Old Course.
After graduating from RAF Shawbury, William transferred to RAF Valley on Anglesey to complete his training as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. He's been living in a cottage off the base and for the moment, while the Prince continues at RAF Valley the young couple have announced their intention to make their home on the verdant island off the north coast of Wales. With few inhabitants, stunning countryside, a marvellous coastal path trail, and beautiful beaches such as Trearddur Bay, famed for its sweeping curve of white sand, it's a fine location for the newlyweds to start their married life.
All the news as Duchess Kate's due date draws close...