Buckingham Palace

We walked through the neighborhood and down the hill to the train station and rode to Victoria Station.  Today we have tickets to tour Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews.  After walking over from the station,  we walked around the front of the palace and took it all in, the statue of Queen Victoria, the guards, the lovely gardens.

 Because of 9/11, there is a long line and a security check we have to go through. It was surprisingly efficient given that it’s only the day after.

The palace is beyond imagination! Silk wall coverings, huge crystal chandeliers, and beautiful carvings everywhere.  Paintings on every wall, every artist well known.

Here are a few interesting facts about the palace:

The Buckingham Palace Garden is the largest private garden in London

Buckingham Palace didn’t become the official royal palace of the British monarchy until the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837

The balcony, where the Royal Family acknowledge crowds, was an add-on in 1847

At one time, The Marble Arch was the ceremonial entrance to the palace

The palace was bombed 7 times in World War II

The Victoria Memorial was erected in front of the main gates in 1911

After walking through and trying to take in as many details as possible, we walked around to the Royal Mews for more amazing history and beauty.

The Royal Mews is where the Queen’s horses and carriages are kept.  I loved the museum cases of the livery uniforms,  through the years.  The carriages are just so stunning.  I was blown away by the the way they are painted, the Moroccan leather bridles and fittings, and the wonderful painted panels.

 We head across the street to The Rubens Hotel for afternoon tea. 

What a pleasure after being on your feet all day to sit in the windowed area, looking across at the comings and goings of the Royal Mews and be pampered by lovely people.

The food was really good, all of the traditional high tea goodies.  Assorted sandwiches, scones, and pastries, and of course the never ending pot of hot tea.  I’m not sure, but I think there were at least 27 different teas to choose from! I may be exaggerating but I’m not that far off.  We relaxed and were never rushed, writing in our journals and numerous post cards, it was heaven.

We’ve gone a few times and it’s funny but I’ve talked to random strangers on more than one occasion that have said they always have tea at Rubens!


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