I’m not going to lie: I’m into all things ‘Royal’, and having the chance to attend a Royal Garden Party back in 2019 was a privilege and an honour.
We have a lot of traffic on this site to posts about the garden parties held at Buckingham Palace and similar venues. A question we’re asked quite a bit about is what’s the deal with Royal Garden Party attire? How should a guest approach styling for such an event?
Now that the future of the Royal Garden Parties under King Charles has been confirmed, people around the UK and Commonwealth have started receiving invitations! Exciting :)
Here’s what you need to know about the fashion dos and don’ts!
Royal Garden Party attire – what to wear to a palace
If you have been invited to a royal garden party, there is typically a specific dress code that you should follow. The dress code for a royal garden party is formal, but not as formal as a black-tie event.
Guidelines we adhered to:
A formal day dress, cocktail dress or a skirt and blouse is appropriate.
The dress or skirt should not be too short.
Avoid showing too much skin, so a sleeveless or off-the-shoulder dress is best avoided unless you’re balancing up your style in different ways. That said, over the past two years, ‘cut outs’ have been in fashion, so use your best judgement – if in doubt, don’t.
Hats or fascinators are traditionally worn, but it’s not mandatory.
A suit or a blazer and trousers with a tie is appropriate.
It’s recommended to wear a light-coloured suit, such as grey or beige.
A morning coat or tailcoat is also acceptable if you have one.
Top hats are typically worn but it’s not mandatory.
Here’s how we addressedit:
Wear comfortable shoes because it is a garden party, and you will be walking on grass. I wore low chunky heels which worked out well as the grass was a bit wet and soggy. Even the Royals can’t control the weather.
Speaking of, keep an eye on the temperatures. While England is generally cool, occasionally summer days can be extremely hot. If you strike one of those days for your visit, you’ll want to keep cool as well as classy.
Avoid wearing anything too casual or too flashy. Elegant is the way to go.
Many people stick to conservative colours, such as navy, black, beige, or grey, but if you can pull of classic red, blue or green, go for it – just keep it stylish and classy.
Overall, the dress code for a royal garden party is formal and traditional, but not as strict as a black-tie event. It’s important to dress respectfully and conservatively while still maintaining a sense of style and elegance.
Royal Garden Parties: a special and rare affair
Our Royal Garden Party experience was truly exceptional.
With the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022, I’ve been thinking back to the Royal Garden Parties she hosted. In 2019, Cooper and I were exceptionally lucky to be invited to attend a Royal Garden Party.
As it happens, this was one of the very last of these events the Queen actually hosted. The following two years saw this special event cancelled due to COVID. When the Queen’s Garden Party returned in 2022, she was already beginning to get quite frail and did not attend.
Royal Garden Parties: What does the future hold?
During the past week as the Queen’s funeral unfolded, I have been contacted a few times on LinkedIn with enquiries about our time at the garden party. Our Royal Garden Party experience was truly exceptional and we felt so honoured to be invited.
There’s a lot of interest around how to get an invitation to the Royal Garden Parties in England and Scotland. I was even approached by Business Insider to share my story about this!
Image courtesy royal.com
The question remains though, will King Charles continue the tradition of hosting such events? At the time of publishing, there’s not a lot of detail around how this will look in 2023.
What I can tell you, is to keep an eye on the Royal website for updates on events in 2023. As these are summer events, I would suggest that the schedule would be set around February.
You could also do a little research to see if your country’s High Commission or the like, extends offers to apply or be nominated to attend. The Mirror in the UK published a little advice on the topic in 2022 too, read here for more details.
You could also keep an eye on active ‘royal watcher’ blogs like this one that shares updates and goss as it becomes available. If you can find your way into a royal event, it’s well worth it. The Brits really know how to make an event fabulous!
While we will miss the Queen, I hope King Charles continues the tradition. I hope that you have the chance to attend too :) In the meantime, if you’d like a little more insight into what expat life is like in London, travel on over to our YouTube channel and look for the living in England playlists.
Important update: 2023 dates announced
This post was originally published in 2022. The dates for the 2023 Royal Garden Parties are Wednesday 3 May and Tuesday 9 May. This coincides with all the wonderful events that will surround King Charles’ coronation happening then too.
Many local councils and organisations across the UK have already nominated people to attend the garden parties this year, but you could do a little research in the area where you live to see if there are still opportunities available. Let us know how you get on!
Ibiza has struck something in us: there’s a magic here, and the Ibiza sunset certainly proves it night after night.
There’s an energy on this island, and it’s got nothing to do with the clubs or the music. Although I won’t lie, those are cool too. However, this is a place where people have gathered for a very very long time, to pursue a spiritual calling.
Around the island you’ll find mementos of times gone by: the Romans were here; we took part in a sunrise Yoga class by an ancient Phoenician tower… It’s rumoured the lost city of Atlantis is under Es Vedra which is just across the water. Ancient stories, tradition, culture – they all reference the sun as a source of energy. Here, there really is something very beautiful about the light, and everyone must see the sunset.
As the sun hits the horizon, everyone cheers. It’s fabulous. We’ve seen proposals happen at that moment, and a roar of happy energy as thousands of people from all corners of the earth relish in one special moment.
Where to experience this for yourself?
3 areas where you can see the Ibiza sunset: our favourite spots
Restaurant el Carmen or beach areas opposite Es Vedra
Many people go to this area to meditate as the sun sets. That’s pretty special 🌞
Head for the beach areas opposite Es Vedra. Here you’ll witness the sun set over the mystical island. It’s one of the three most magnetic places on earth (alongside the North Pole and Bermuda Triangle).
Sirens, UFOs, and more mysteries surround it. This blog writes beautifully about sunset here – worth a quick read.
Sunset Ashram or Kumharas beach bars
Two excellent places listed in our round-up of best beach clubs Ibiza: Sunset Ashram and Kumharas are on the same side of the island. They’re not too far from each other, and you need to get over to this side of the island to explore all its lovely secret beaches, but you’re best to have a car to get to them.
Kumharas is set right on the beach. Sunset Ashram is stunning, surrounded by aqua and deep blue coloured waters! Enjoy non-stop music, great energy and a spectacle you won’t forget.
While there are plenty of great venues along Ibiza’s sunset strip, all the way from Wi Ki Woo, Cafe Del Mar, and Savannah to bars like Ibiza Rocks and Tulip around the other side of Sant Antonio Bay (Sant Antoni de Portmany), our very favourite is Cafe Mambo.
Here, a tradition has unfolded, where hundreds gather on the shoreline to watch the sun hit the horizon. There’s cheering, and the music kicks in. Live DJs (some very big names, I might add) do their stuff right there for all to enjoy.
It’s a brilliant experience if you want to be around people and are partial to a bit of dance music at its best (me!).
Have a tip or questions? Let us know in the comments.
The White Isle, a magical place on the Mediterranean. We love it 😃 Here’s our pick of the best beach clubs Ibiza you need to experience!
Cala Conta, San Josep
We wandered up to the front entrance not thinking too much of it. Of course, we guessed it might be kinda cool – we were standing on top of a small clifftop and ocean surrounded us, after all. But, we had no idea the spectacle we’d receive inside! Crystal blue and aqua ocean all around; diners, drinkers, beach-goers. And a DJ playing sweet house tunes. Blissful.
Sunset Ashram is a little out of the way so you’re best to get there in a car. But, you have to go at least once. The location is stunning. Just have a look in my Ibiza Insta Stories!
Not for the expensive part, but for the stylish bit.
This is your stereotypical up-market Ibiza beach club. Beautiful people laze about drinking Moet. The beach is sandy white and spectacular. Inside the decor is classy and breezy. A nice experience, if you’re into this scene.
Babylon Beach Bar
When you’re done at Wednesday’s huge hippy market in Es Canar, pop into Babylon. It’s about ten minutes drive away. We got there at lunch time and to our happy surprise there were places to sit, have a cool drink and enjoy the view. You do have to pay for the day beds though, which is where it gets pricey.
Babylon is more of a laid back yet stylish beach club in Ibiza, set in a peaceful cove. Definitely one of our favourites.
San Antonio Bay
In a fun little corner of Ibiza, not far from Sant Antonio, Kumharas is set right on the beach. It’s known for its hippy-chic vibe. Prices for food and drinks are comparatively better than other Ibiza beach clubs.
This is one for a ‘lil dance on the beach as the sun sets.
Stylish, secluded with serene ocean views – this one is set on a hot sandy beach ⛱ Start the day with Yoga at the far end of the beach, then settle in for a relaxed day filled with good vibes.
This option is more private – if you too love a secret beach, have a read here for more of the world’s best.
Playa d’en Bossa
Some may say it’s over-rated, but we had a brilliant time when we inadvertently stumbled into this beach club.
Bright colours, even brighter personalities, music, great cocktails and all set on the beach.
It’s easy to while away a few hours in bubbly bliss here.
These are 6 of our favourites. We’re aware there’s plenty more awesome beach clubs in Ibiza though. Ibiza Spotlight highlights a few more if you’re keen to look around.
Have other tips or questions? Let us know in the comments.
Wherever we travel, it’s always thrilling to find a secret spot: a cave, forest, ruins and especially a secret beach.
Secret beaches are particularly great during holiday high season when it’s hard to escape people. If privacy is something you crave, opt for beaches that are less well-known or only accessible by boat. Narrowing the search for us, the Samboat.com team has compiled a secret beach list of just this kind of escape!
Ten of the best from around the world 🙌
Secret beach top 10
Es Portixol beach, Ibiza, Spain
Surrounded by hills, this small cove is a hidden gem located in the north of Ibiza. It’s usually only frequented by fishermen of the boat huts.
Perfect for those looking for their own little private beach, Es Portitxol features amazing turquoise green waters, creating your own mini paradise. The serene cove is protected from the elements. It’s completely surrounded by hills covered in pine trees, making the hike to get there totally worth it.
Known for its sparkling white sands that gleam a shade of pink in patches thanks to the vast expanse of seashells on the shore, Palm Beach is one of the world’s most spectacular secret beaches.
The beach is only accessible by boat, meaning it acts as a quiet escape away from the hordes of tourists and with nothing but sand and sea for miles it’s important to bring a sun hat and sun cream.
Take a visit to Palm Beach as the prefect opportunity to go swimming or snorkelling in the dazzling apple-green water.
Koh Lanta, Thailand
An hour’s speedboat journey from Krabi airport, Koh Lanta is home to nine secret beaches, all surrounded by the beautiful Andaman Sea.
Head to Lek beach (also known as ‘secret beach’ to locals) for perhaps the most beautiful beach on this island. Away from tourist hotspots, this quaint spot is typically only visited by those tipped off by Thai residents, exaggerating its ‘secret’ status.
Although completely undeveloped, there is a small wooden shack beach bar named by the synonymous Lek and a spectacular view of the sunset, what more could you really need?
Featuring a distinct heart-shaped coastline, this island is also known as lover’s island and it is one of the most popular islands in the world right now.
With no man-made features or tourist facilities, there are countless secret beaches to be explored, and the best bit? Seclusion is guaranteed as the island is only accessible by boat.
With a terrain empty of commercial infrastructure, the beaches here are indeed the perfect lover’s paradise, setting the stage for an idyllic and uninterrupted getaway.
St. Peter’s Pool, Malta
With crystal clear waters offering incredible snorkelling opportunities, the sea at St. Peter’s Pool is one of Malta’s most spectacular natural swimming pools.
Okay we’re cheating a little here as it isn’t technically a beach; however it is an experience second to none.
The pool is so remote that you’ll never struggle to find a spot, no matter what time of year it is and the surrounding rocks are perfect for some secluded sunbathing.
Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
Only a brief journey from the mainland, Flamenco beach is constantly ranked amongst various lists of the World’s best beaches.
The rolling hills in the background combined with clear waters and gorgeous white sand make this one of the most memorable beaches you’ll ever experience.
Salema, Algarve, Portugal
With dinosaur footprints embedded into the limestone, this is a palaeontologist’s haven. The half-mile-long beach boasts fantastic golden sand and seas that are perfect for swimming thanks to the strong waves and strikingly clear waters.
Seaweed is replaced by a variety of small shells on this beach, emphasising clarity. Free from tourists, this is the perfect secret beach to dig your toes into.
Praia Do Penedo, Portugal
Take a break from the big city in Lisbon and chase secret beaches around the country.
Located on the small Portuguese island of Porto Santo, this beach is covered in a layer of sugar-fine golden sand that have alleged healing attributes.
Due to its location at the furthest southern point on the island, this is arguably the quietest and most secret beach on our list but it is definitely worth the journey.
Kauapea Beach, Hawaii
You’d think tourists would flock here thanks to its breath taking beauty, however, with no public roads leading to it; Kauapea Beach is often referred to as ‘secret beach’.
Privacy is easy on this beach as it’s so vast that you often feel like you have the entire beach to yourself; however be aware that if you walk too far down you may encounter the unofficial part of the beach where clothing is considered ‘optional’.
Navagio Beach, Greece
An exposed cove surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, Navagio beach is located north of the Greek island of Zakynthos. The cove is more commonly known as ‘Smugglers cove’ as it is said to be the location of the shipwreck of an alleged smugglers ship many years ago.
Adding to its secluded status, the beach is only accessible by boat and the silvery white sand and clear waters are a must see if you’re on the island.
Following a surprise Royal garden party invitation to an event we attended this past week, here’s what it’s like at a Buckingham Palace garden party…
If you’re invited, you’ll need to know:
Buckingham Palace garden party need to know
When to arrive at the Queen’s garden party
What to bring to a Buckingham Palace garden party
What to wear to the Royal garden party
What to eat for afternoon tea
How to greet the Queen, the royals and make friends
We were so fortunate to get to attend the Queen’s Buckingham Palace garden party in May 2019. Thanks for all your kind messages on the blog and on Twitter. It’s a special privilege to be invited. We certainly had a lovely afternoon.
We were blessed with probably the best day of the year – sunshine and warm. No jacket or umbrellas required! But there’s preparatory work we’d recommend if you find yourself with a ticket to a Royal garden party.
When to arrive at the Queen’s garden party
We turned up at the time the ticket said the gates opened. That’s fine and we were inside the Buckingham Palace garden party within an hour, in time to see the Queen arrive.
However, getting there a bit early to be at the front of the entry line would have meant more time inside Buckingham Palace without the crowds.
The benefit of going in earlier might also mean getting in first for the food. Additionally, you may have a better chance to stand at the front of the line to see the Royal family when they emerge. I can’t guarantee you’ll meet them – that seems to be ‘pre-arranged’ – but a front row seat is always worth a shot.
So, if I had the chance at a Buckingham Palace garden party again, I’d be at the gate well before entry time.
What to bring to a Buckingham Palace garden party
There’s strict information on the ticket about what you can and can’t bring. It’s indicated that you can’t bring big cameras. I took this to mean DSLRs.
Phones are perfectly acceptable. Some people had smaller DSLR cameras though, including ones with zoom. Helpful if you want a close-up of the Royals or celebs (in a non-stalkery way, of course).
We have a camera that would have passed muster, but our phones were fine for photos.
In the event of rain at a Royal garden party, I’d advise taking as little as possible. I’m not sure there’s much cover except in the food tents which would get very crowded if the weather was bad. Apparently you can take umbrellas if you get unlucky with the English weather.
You’re on your feet for a good few hours, so avoid unnecessary jackets and extra items to carry around. It’s just easier that way.
What to wear to the Royal garden party (and ladies, tips on shoes)
Everyone is dressed up. A Buckingham Palace garden party is one occasion to plan for and go all out. We did, and I’m pleased we put some thought into it.
Plan for different types of weather – light jacket if it’s likely to be cold.
Hats and fascinators are the way to go. I had the chance to borrow a fabulous fascinator which had actually been to a Buckingham Palace garden party previously!
Shoes need special consideration, ladies. You need style and comfort. The grass can be squishy or wet. You’re on your feet for a long time too, both standing in the main garden party area and wandering around Buckingham Palace’s grounds. I wore mid block heels which were fine for a few hours, but started to cut near the end. I hadn’t taken flats for my commute home – definitely would if I had my time over.
View: behind the scenes – click ‘read more’ or the arrow top right to look at our photo story:
What to eat for afternoon tea
There’s plenty of food – sandwiches, sweets, tea, iced coffee.
The lines at the beginning can be long so wait a while until it calms down. You won’t miss out. Our invitation read a little like the food starts to run out after about an hour. It certainly didn’t appear that way to us.
You can go back for seconds too (just ask Cooper). Don’t feel like you need to pile your plate so high you risk spillage. That would be embarrassing 😁
How to greet the Queen, the royals and make friends
Get lucky enough to shake hands with the Queen? Start with ‘Your Majesty’, and subsequently ‘Ma’am’. Royal.uk offers a helpful guide on how to greet other members of the Royal family. Read more here
If you happen to speak to any of the royal family, stay away from personal questions.
We would have had a chat about how the Corgis must have loved playing around the palace grounds! 🐕
Of course, there’s thousands of others at the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with another interesting character who has received an invite. Start by asking if you can take a photo for someone, or accept their offer, and go from there. Don’t be shy – everyone’s in a happy frame of mind so you’re likely to make a new friend in the process.
Do you have other tips to share, or questions? Perhaps you have been to a Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace also? Drop us a line in the comments…
Welcome to Travel Live Learn! We are Sarah + Cooper, Aussie expats living in the UK with our Westie dog, London, along for the ride. Our most popular content here is about pet friendly travel, house + pet sitting, and designing a life as expats or digital nomads wherever in the world you want to be.