The entire world is excited for the royal baby to finally join Prince William and Duchess Kate. With all the excitement, we're just about ready to book a trip to visit the royal family in person. In preparation, we've highlighted some fun things to do in Reading, where the duchess herself was born, Bucklebury, where she grew up, and of course Anglesley, where the royal couple has been living until their apartment at Kensington Palace is complete.
Reading is a large town right on the River Thames. The city is a surprising blend of history with modernity.
- Museum of Reading: The perfect place to start, the Museum of Reading is free admission and outlines the history of the town and the surrounding areas in 11 fascinating exhibits such as an exhibit focused on the famous London artist John Tweed.
- The Hexagon: A well-established multipurpose venue used for classical music, comedy, dance, drama, pop, and rock concerts.
- River trips down the River Thames: The longest river entirely in England and the second longest river in the UK. Visitors can watch and participate in the endless sports on the river: rowing, sailing, skiffing (rowing a Thames Skiff- a traditional River Thames wooden rowing boat), kayaking, canoeing, and punting (boating in a punt-flat bottomed boat; different from a gondola because punting involves a pole rather than an oar).
- Reading Festival: The world's oldest popular music festival still in existence. This year the festival will be held in late August. Visitors are warned about "bottling"; it has been a long-standing tradition that viewers throw glass bottled onstage in order to get the acts offstage. Yikes!
- Sports: The professional football team, Reading FC, and the professional rugby union club, London Irish, are both headquartered in Reading.
Kate grew up in Bucklebury, a very small town of about 2,000 residents. Most attractions for the area are actually outside of the city, but we have found some unique options right within the city's limits.
- Paris Church, St, Mary the Virgin: This church was constructed Norman-style from chalk and flint in the late 11th century. Visitors can either attend regular church services or can call ahead to arrange a tour of the building.
- Bucklebury Commons: A woodland area stretching 860 acres, Bucklebury Commons is open for the public to enjoy hiking, scenic views, and beautiful ponds.
- Bucklebury Farm Park: Open from early spring to late autumn this four-acre park is perfect for kids with farm animals, a deer park, an indoor play area and tractor rides.
The royal duo currently lives in Anglesley; an island off the coast of the UK and straight across the Irish Sea from Dublin, where Prince William is stationed with the Royal Air Force as a helicopter search-and-rescue pilot.
- South Stack Lighthouse and Cliff: South Stack is an island right off the coast of Anglesley. The lighthouse has warned passing ships of the rock since 1809. 400 steps take visitors to the top of the lighthouse to tour the engine room and exhibition area. The nature reserve around the lighthouse is spectacular for seeing colonies of seabirds.
- Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens: This military museum contains remnants from the First Marquess of Anglesley, who commanded the cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo. A spring garden surrounds the house with gorgeous shrubs and wild flowers, a summer terrace, and a quick walk to the path beside the Menai Strait.
- Beaumaris Gaol: An unused, and potentially haunted, jail that has been turned into a museum that attracts about 300,000 visitors each year. Technologically advanced for its time, the prison has one of the last working treadmills in Britain. An older prison treadmill was made of a large paddle wheel with spokes that prisoners would climb like a modern day StairMaster. As the prisoners climbed, the treadmill pumped water to the top of the building for use in the prisoners' cells.
- Beaumaris Castle: The last and largest castle built by King Edward I in Wales and is the most sophisticated example of medieval military architecture in Britain.
- Anglesley Riding Centre: Five miles of private bridleways give beginners a safe and fun area in which to learn to ride. The centre also offers challenges for more experienced riders. Anglesley Riding Center is surrounded by the Menai Strait and offers some of the best views of the Caernarfon Castle and the Snowdonia Mountain Range.
- RibRide: Experience the Menai Strait right on the water on a RibRide with adrenaline-boosting turns and high speeds up to 50 mph. RibRide offers a wide range of adventurous experiences all with stunning scenery and unique views of the Snowdonia Mountains.
- Anglesley Walking Holidays: These tours can either be exclusively self-guided or guided walking tours around the island's 125-mile coastline. Tour themes include hiking, wildlife, historical, archaeological, and geological.
As soon as the remodeling is done, the royal family and the future monarch will move into Kensington Palace.