It’s been a year since the Olympics made London (and other UK cities that hosted games) the focal point of the world—and last month, the country got another jolt of attention with the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, the son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and the third in line to the British throne.
Naturally, tourism boards throughout the UK are celebrating the new heir. “The new addition to the Royal Family allows us to celebrate our rich heritage and highlight what families can enjoy on a visit to England,” VisitEngland said in a statement, noting that the birth will “heighten the profile of England’s royal attractions.” In 2012, 4.7 million holidaymakers visited a historic house, stately home or palace during their time in England.
We reached out to Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, and chairman of VisitEngland to get her insights on how the country is taking advantage of the increase in royal interest and family travel. “Lots of different places in the private sector are doing lots of displays and promotions,” she told Travel Agent. “But I think, fundamentally, what this does is to just add more glamor and excitement to 2013 and the next two or three years…2012 was not the final hurrah. Things will go on happening in this country that are fun, contemporary, and will add a lot to the attraction of coming here.” England may be steeped in tradition, she added, but as the younger generation of the Royal Family is proving it can also be young and contemporary.
Visitors can tour Kensington Palace, where the family is currently living. They won’t be able to see the private apartments or private gardens, but the public gardens have been renovated by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who also oversaw the private side. “You can imagine what the private gardens look like,” the Viscountess said.
Ultimately, she added, the new baby may well help the country show off its family-friendly side. “We will use this opportunity to promote family travel, and highlight places that are good for young children.” The Museum of London, for one, has a new exhibit called “A Royal Arrival.” It delves deep into the museum’s collection to showcase baby clothes and memorabilia worn by former royal infants.