I am so behind with my travel updates that I decided to start with the most recent and work backwards and see how far I get. So first (or rather last) stop: London.
The reason for this trip was simply that there was a show that I really wanted to see. I’d had tickets to see it in June but hadn’t been able to go so when a second run was announced (this time in the West End), I consulted my calendar, found a gap and made my plans.
It’s been a while since I’ve been a tourist in London and even rarer for me to visit in the summer(ish) months, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and booked a tour round Buckingham Palace (big tick for the bucket list). Lots of lines, and queuing for security but I’d just done the tourist thang in New York so that was nothing new. The Palace itself is spectacular. Sumptuous and colorful and, to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, there was a display of her frocks and hats through the years. I wish that I had lived in the era (and the circumstances) to have my clothes designed by Norman Hartnell. Throughout the exhibition I could always tell which were his designs because they were the ones that took my breath away. I’ve never envied someone else’s clothes so much. No photos allowed but images that will stay with me for a long time.
As my favorite part of any stately home visit is the garden, I figured that the gardens at Buckingham Palace were something I had to see and I wasn’t disappointed. The guide was hugely entertaining and did a great job of sharing the history of the various parts of the garden and the reason for the various planting choices. Again there were no photos allowed in the private parts of the garden but I took plenty of the public areas.
Even though London is full of parks, it was amazing to be in such a tranquil environment right in the center of London. At the end of the tour it seemed like tea and cakes would be the thing to do, especially as the cafe is catered by the same company that provides the delectable delicacies for the Queen’s garden parties. I wasn’t blown away by the lemon drizzle cake but, as I had learnt through the audio guide that in the calculations for a garden party each guest is allocated 8 pieces of cake, I won’t be rushing to turn down an invitation.
So if you are in London in summer, I highly recommend visiting Buckingham Palace. There are beautiful houses and castles all over the UK but the main residence of the royal family does have a certain something special about it. Information about visiting the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace can be found here and, for me, the bonus is that if you get your entry ticket validated it becomes a one-year pass so I can visit again when I am in London next July.