Follow in the footsteps of Regency-era ladies and gentlemen…
There was always going to be some time to kill, living the life of a Bridgerton character. You can’t just sit at home waiting for ink to dry on the latest scandal sheets or a new courter to come strolling through the doors with a bouquet and promises. Instead, you can lace up your shoes and head off for a perfectly pleasant day out in the city: making social calls, taking leisurely strolls in pristine gardens and even attending an exquisite ball. Now that the second season of Bridgerton in sight, you’ll need something to tide you over until it debuts on March 25 – this utterly desirable day out will be right up your street.
Fancy getting a taste of the day to day life of the esteemed members of the Ton? We’ve put together some things to do in London that will make you feel as if you have stumbled into the show itself.
1. Take in the fresh air with a wander around Hyde Park
Often referred to as one of the ‘lungs of London‘, Hyde Park is the ideal way to blow away the cobwebs and begin your Bridgerton adventure around the city. In the warmer months of the Regency era, the picturesque park was heaving with well-heeled crowds strolling along the labyrinthine paths and soaking up the natural beauty. In winter, many would flock to the Serpentine, particularly when the cold weather froze it over and they could skate on the ice – although according to the Picture of London in 1810; ‘the English do not excel in this exhilarating and wholesome exercise’. I think the same might ring true to this day. No doubt the Bridgertons and Featheringtons would count themselves among the throngs, mingling with fellow members of the Ton. As you saunter around the gardens you can narrate your observations in the style of Julie Andrews.
2. Discover the styles of the season at the V&A Museum
While you were promenading around the park you may have been taking in the various outfits. Fashion was a pivotal part of Bridgerton-era society, influenced by the culture and politics of the time. It also was a great reflection of the characters, with the elegant Daphne Bridgerton gliding around in pristine powder blue gowns while the slightly louder Featheringtons would wear equally loud colours and prints. To see the silk dresses, velvet dinner jackets and frilly parasols of the time you can swing by the Victoria & Albert Museum, just a ten minute walk away. The amazing collection of ball gowns and intricate illustrations give a fascinating insight into early 19th-century style.
Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
All that strolling and style-searching may feed your cultural appetite but your stomach may start to feel neglected. We can’t have you swooning and ending up on the scandal sheets. Why not take a trip down to the Grand Saloon at Theatre Royal Drury Lane for a Regency-inspired afternoon tea from the mind of Instagram-famous baker Lily Vanilli? Sink into seats under glittering chandeliers and admire fine art as you are served up a simply divine selection of both sweet and savoury goods. Think pink lemonade tarts, glazed salmon topped with caviar, sticky toffee pudding, all of which can be washed down with a glass of English sparkling wine – or, for a slightly higher price, champagne.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF
Fortnum & Mason has been a London staple for decades, first opening its doors as a grocer in 1707. Even if you’re trying to save the pennies, a stop at this historic department store is worth it – just to get a little taste of what a Bridgerton character’s shopping exploits might have looked like. As you step onto the ruby red carpets and climb the winding stairs – inhaling the rich aromas of teas, cheese and truffles – you’ll be able to picture yourself as a customer in the Regency era, hunting for some treats to fill their picnic hamper so they’ll be well stocked for a long carriage ride. It might just be a tube journey or bus ride home for you on this occasion, but you could always indulge in a quaint gift box or some loose leaf tea as a memento.
181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER
While you’re in shopping mode, why not swing by Hatchards and grab a book from it’s well-stocked shelves? After all, if you’re truly looking to completely emulate the characters of Bridgerton, you’re going to need some entertainment to fill your leisurely days. Reading was a pastime of Regency ladies and gents, and Hatchards was a popular haunt, where they would pick up the crisp, leather-bound editions of the latest novels. It was founded in 1797 by John Hatchard and sits right next door to Fortnum & Mason. While the forest-green exterior is nostalgically classic, inside is quite unassuming, but a book-lovers wonderland nonetheless: filled with new releases, rare books and even first editions.
187 Piccadilly, London , W1J 9LE
6. Dig into some hearty food at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
A delicate spread at the Grand Saloon may not have quite been your cup of (ahem) tea, so we don’t blame you if you’re on the hunt for something slightly more stodgy to fill your boots. Thankfully, food and dining out in England has greatly evolved since the early 1800s, where meals served were more for necessity than the pleasure of eating. Now, you can swing by Ye Old Cheshire Cheese – a public house found on Fleet Street which dates back to 1667 – and pull up a chair by a flickering log fire in its dimly-lit but nontheless historically charming interior. It may not be the fine-dining experience the Bridgerton families are accustomed to, but it was later popular with literary figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain. Plus, it serves up classic pub grub like fish and chips, that will keep you warm and satiated on a chilly evening.
Now you’ve got well acquainted with the fair city of London, it’s time to debut your best garms, sterling moves and impeccable taste at a Bridgerton ball. Secret Cinema Presents Bridgerton With Fever is throwing the event of the season, inviting fans of the show (or even those who fancy stepping into the frills-and-lace world of Regency England for the evening) to an immersive experience. Taking place in a ballroom in Wembley, you’ll be whisked away into a soiree dripping in glamour: where scandals spread like wildfire through hushed whispers, liquers are always an arms reach away and a warren of rooms promise activities such as duelling, life-drawing and card games. All of which are, of course, complimented by a string quartet playing classical twists on modern songs. There’s even a rumour the Queen herself may be making an appearance. You most certainly can’t miss that.