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Welcome to Day 8 of Janet and Randy's London Trip 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Took it easy this morning and took our time getting ready.  Decided to walk over to the nearby Science Museum and check it out.  Spent a couple of hours wandering around the museum.  Its a very cool museum with a number of interactive displays.  Around noon, we had seen enough, so decided to go have some lunch.  We went to Patisserie Valerie, and had Afternoon Tea (even though it wasn't technically the right time for afternoon tea).  We went with the option to have a glass of Prosecco with our Afternoon Tea as it was only an extra 5 GBP (Dennis and I shared Mom's glass as she didn't want it.  Score!). 

After lunch, we went back to the flat for a bit to drop some stuff off and relax for a bit.  Then Randy and I went out to do some shopping on King's Road.  We went into Peter Jones department store and found some shirts (and fun socks) for Randy.  We wandered through a few other shops and then got back to the flat just before 4:00pm.

My feet were a little sore from all the walking around, so we lay down for a bit of a nap before we had to go to Buckingham Palace for our tour.  I wasn't able to sleep, but it was good to be off my feet for a while.  Around 4:30pm we started walking towards Buckingham Palace.  On the way, we stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe, and Randy got some guitar pins and shirts.  We continued on to the Palace, arriving just before 5:30pm, when our tour started.

Buckingham Palace BallroomWe had booked an evening guided tour - which consisted of about 30 people.  You see the same rooms as the daytime tours, but the daytime tours are self-guided (and there are more people milling about).  Again, there is no photography allowed inside the Palace, so I've included a picture of the Ballroom I found on the internet. Also, here is a link to an article that has several pictures of what we saw on the tour. 

The tour was quite interesting.  We entered through the Ambassadors Entrance, and walked up the Grand Staircase.  At several points through the tour, the guide would stop to discuss specific pieces of artwork or furniture.  Along with the main guide that was leading us through the Palace, there were 2 other guide staff that would keep the group corralled at all times.  If we went into a specific room, one would make sure we didn't continue on to the next room until we were done.  The other would make sure that we linger in rooms after the group had moved on.  Which was probably necessary, as there were a few stragglers in our group.

Having champagne at the end of the Palace tourThe tour took us through the Throne Room, where the investitures were originally done. However, these are now held in the Ballroom as it holds more people.  The room also has thrones for the Queen and Prince Philip. We also went through a couple of drawing rooms, the 'picture' room (which was a long gallery filled with priceless pieces of art) and some displays of what is involved in preparing for a state banquet (food preparation, silverware, dishes and glasses required).  In various places, the guide would take the velvet ropes down so that we could get closer to a specific area or piece of art.  The highlight of the tour was the Ballroom, which had been set up as they would for a state banquet.  In the room they also showed a time lapse video of the ballroom being set up for a banquet.  Apparently it takes 3 days to set the room up - and incredible amount of effort.

The tour ended in the Bow room, where we were given a glass of champagne and then went out to the terrace overlooking the garden to drink it.  After our drink, we then went into the gift shop and picked up some souvenirs (with the tour, there is a 20% discount at the gift shop - woo hoo!).

Once we were done, we were driven out to the front gate of Buckingham Palace in a golf cart.  A person wasn't supposed to take any photos until you were outside the gates, but I secretly took a couple on the way.  Hopefully they don't hunt me down and throw me in the Tower of London for that. Thru the Traitors Gate with you !

By this time, it was getting close to 8:00pm, and we were a little hungry.  We walked back to the Hard Rock Cafe, but found out it was an hour and a half wait to get in.  We didn't want to wait that long, so we took the tube to South Kensington station and had supper at a place Randy and I had noticed before - Muriel's Kitchen.  Mom had the creamy fish pie, Dennis had the chicken and peach curry, Randy had the lasagna and I had the chicken schnitzel.  All tasted like home cooking and were really good (I had a taste of each).  Along with a bottle of Red for the 3 of us.

We walked back to the flat, and just took it easy.  It had been a long day, so it was pretty early to bed for most of us.


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