DRIVING • May 2022
To mark the Platinum Jubilee celebrations currently racing around the corner, we round up five darling drives that have earned praise and patronage from one of the most well-travelled families: the British royals
The site of more royal processions than you can shake a sceptre at, The Mall is perhaps the most majestic road of all. Stretching from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace, this spacious, tree-lined avenue was designed back in the 1660s for Charles II, and derives its name from Pall Mall – a game resembling croquet that was played on the path during this time. In the 18th century, the regal road became the place to be seen and, in the 19th, the artistic centre of London. On 5 June this year, it’ll turn into a party promenade for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
Some 670m above sea level, Britain’s highest public road leads to one of its loftiest castles: Balmoral, the British monarchy’s Highland home. Once upon a time, this record-breaking stretch was known for its daring Devil’s Elbow, a double-hairpin bend that HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh themselves were photographed tackling back in 1967. Since then, the dangerous drive has been rather straightened out, allowing motorists to better take in the sweeping Cairnwell Munros and glacial valleys.
Known as the emerald island for its azure waters and leafy hillsides, Corfu is also famous for being the birthplace of our very own Prince Philip. For a proper patriotic road trip, set off at its capital, Corfu Town, where nearby Mon Repos Estate marks the very building in which the young prince was born (on a dining room table, no less) in 1921. Pass the sapphire seas and drive northwest onto the glorious Paleokastritsa road, where lush landscapes flank the tarmac. Soon you’ll meet the coast again at Paleokastritsa, set beneath slopes of olive groves and citrus orchards.
Named after the Malahat First Nation and first created as a cattle trail in 1861, this supremely scenic stretch of highway (in Monarch-beloved Canada) climbs along the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, former home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Begin your own trip at Goldstream Provincial Park to admire its 600-year-old Douglas fir trees, then wind through dense temperate rainforests before ending at the thriving town of Mill Bay. Popular views along the way include the Saanich Peninsula and Mount Baker, an active volcano in Washington State.
From Nairobi, make tracks north along Africa’s endless highways to reach not one, but two national parks held most dear by our royal family. Up first, Aberdare, where, at the Treetops Hotel, Princess Elizabeth learned that she had become Queen in 1952. And just beyond here, Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak, where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton using Princess Diana’s ring. There’s no shortage of beauty on this journey in the central highlands: expect to take in evergreen forests, mountainous valleys and, if you’re lucky, a jaw-dropping glimpse of something wild.
Words by Agatha Zarzycki; Illustrations by Edu Fuentes