Highgrove House, Gloucestershire
If London’s Clarence House is HRH’s formal residence, then Highgrove, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, is his personal retreat – the place where he and The Duchess of Cornwall spend much of their private time. Most of the year you’ll have to content yourself with just visiting the organic gardens – although they are in themselves a showstopping event. Guided tours are available on selected dates, allowing visitors to watch the luxuriant planting gear up for spring before bursting into flamboyance in summer and then burnishing into autumn.
However, if you want to look inside Highgrove House itself you’ll have to wait for a special occasion – this year that is Christmas dinner by candlelight.
Snag yourself a ticket and you’ll start with mulled wine in the ante-room, admiring watercolours painted by Prince Charles himself, before moving through to the Orchard Room to feast on a four-course dinner, with a digestif of Christmas carols and Highgrove organic sloe gin.
Highgrove House (0303 123 7310/ highgrovegardens.com) offers garden tours from £27.50. Christmas Dinner by Candlelight (December 18 and 19), £75.
Highgrove House, Gloucestershire
Dumfries House, located near the East Ayrshire town of Cumnock, is one of Scotland’s finest homes
Dumfries House, Ayrshire, Scotland
The Prince of Wales is so passionate about this property that he stepped in to save the house and its collection of Chippendale furniture in 2007.
It now forms part of the Prince’s Foundation, offering innovative skillsbased courses on site.
You can explore the picture gallery, tapestry room and formal dining room in the immaculately restored 18th-century house. There are guided walks through wild woodland, children can get lost in the maze and budding gardeners will love the Queen Elizabeth walled garden.
You can also stay on site in one of the 22 beautiful rooms in The Lodge.
Dumfries House (01290 421 742/ dumfries-house.org.uk). Doubles in The Lodge (01290 429920) from £120, B&B. Tours from £9.
Relax at Llwynywermod Farm
North Range, Llwynywermod Farm, Wales
Remote Llwynywermod Farm, set in 192 acres of meadow and woodland near Llandovery, might seem a modest holiday spot for the heir apparent, but he was so entranced he bought it in 2007.
Join him (sadly, not literally – you can only stay when Charles is not in residence) by booking the adjoining barn conversions to his farmhouse. North Range and West Range border an organic courtyard cottage garden, frothing with flowers in summer. Inside, there are Welsh slate floors, period furniture and warm local textiles.
In keeping with HRH’s environmental passions, there’s a reed bed sewage system and wood chip boiler powering the heating and water for a hot bath after a walk through nearby RSPB nature reserve Gwenffrwd-Dinas or striding up through the bleakly beautiful Brecon Beacons.
Duchy of Cornwall Holiday Cottages (01579 346 473/duchyofcornwallholidaycottages.co.uk) offers seven nights at North Range from £700 (sleeps six) self catering.
Poundbury town, Dorset
Poundbury Village, Dorset
With its graceful townhouses, shaded squares, cottages and local shops, you could think that Poundbury has grown organically over the centuries. In fact, this modern urban development on Dorchester’s outskirts was designed in the 1990s by the Prince of Wales, reflecting his passionate views about the threat of erosion to the traditional British village community. His 1989 book, A Vision Of Britain, outlined his progressive ideas and he set aside 400 acres of Duchy of Cornwall land to bring it to life.
Dismissed by some as “Toy Town” when construction began, it has grown into a thriving community against a selection box of architectural styles, from Palladian and Georgian to Victorian folly.
The Duchess of Cornwall Inn on central Queen Mother Square is a stylish place from which to explore the town up close – or head out to the nearby fossil-studded cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. Duchess of Cornwall Inn (01305 757569/duchessofcornwall.co.uk) offers double rooms from £95, B&B.
Charles stays at Restormel Manor during appointments in Cornwall
Duchy of Cornwall Holiday Cottages, Cornwall
Covering land in 23 counties, the Duchy of Cornwall is one of Britain’s oldest private estates.
HRH The Prince of Wales, the current Duke of Cornwall, is actively involved in running the Duchy, which converts redundant farm buildings on its land to alternative uses, including holiday cottages.
Choose from a portfolio of properties in Wales, the Scilly Isles and Cornwall.
The estate of Restormel in the Fowey Valley near Lostwithiel centres on gothic-style Restormel Manor, where Prince Charles stays during his Cornish engagements – and is also a holiday let that sleeps 18 guests.
For smaller gatherings, you can take your pick from six other barn conversions. All of them have use of the manor’s facilities, including an indoor swimming pool and sauna.
Duchy of Cornwall Holiday Cottages (01579 346 473/duchyofcornwallholidaycottages.co.uk) offers seven nights at Cardinan from £550 (sleeps six) self-catering.
Interior of guesthouse in Transylvania with bear watching lookout, owned by The Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales’s Guesthouse, Transylvania
Step back in time in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, dotted with onion-dome churches and wreathed in mist and woodsmoke.
Here, the Zalán Valley once belonged to a 16th-century Transylvanian ancestor of The Prince of Wales – and little has changed. Locals still travel by horse and cart through countryside straight out of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales – with wildflower meadows and dark forests roamed by wolves and brown bears, dotted with one of Europe’s rarest orchids, the Lady Slipper, in summer.
Once a year Charles visits his guesthouse here, which he restored using traditional methods and materials. And you’d be hard pressed to find more of a retreat: the nearest town, Barót, is 12 miles away largely down dirt roads and there’s no TV or radio on site.
Instead, days here are all about curling up with a book or exploring the scenery on foot or by horse and cart. In winter, wrap up in blankets and drink mulled wine.
The Prince of Wales’s Guesthouse (dialling from the UK: 0040 742 20 25 86/zalan.transylvaniancastle.com) offers one night’s stay from £105pp, full board, (sleeps 14) including wine, guided tours, activities and transport (not including transfers).