FROM GOANNA: The morning rain cleared as we emerged from the Tube at Green Park, just in time for us to enjoy an early morning stroll through the lovely fresh, wet, greeness past Clarence House towards Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard parade. We found ourselves a perch at the side of the road, and settled in for the spectacle of the Queen's House Guards and Household Cavalry on parade.
Afterwards, we had a quick picnic in Green Park, then walked around to the Royal Mews, where we took an audio guide tour through and got to fantasise for a little while about being Princes and Princesses in our royal coaches. Little Cocky was intrigued to learn that there is a school within the mews for the children who live there. We all swooned at the Imperial State Coach, and wondered why they didn’t build a bigger place to store it, given it takes two days and the partial removal of the mews wall to get it out.
Of the other coaches, Goanna’s favourite was the Glass Coach (because that’s the one used for royal weddings…), while Little Cocky and Cocky liked the Australian State coach best as
it is the only one with air-conditioning and power windows (typical boys…).
Leaving the mews behind, we walked down Birdcage Walk towards Parliament Square and Westminster, where we were treated to our first sight of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Our first sight of Westminster and Big Ben got us all really excited, what an amazing feeling to be standing at the base of Big Ben!
We walked around Westminster Abbey, the Jewel Tower and into Victoria Gardens, snapping about a million photos and giving ourselves a crick in our necks as we walked. Once in the gardens, we stopped to give Possy a feed and a change by the Thames. That done, we headed off down Whitehall for a peep at No. 10 Downing St before stopping in at the Household Cavalry Museum. Little Cocky in particular enjoyed the museum, as it is full of military armour and uniforms, dating from the middle ages right though to the present day. He had fun with Cocky trying on a Household Cavalry ceremonial uniform (dating from Victorian times), as well as their modern field uniforms, and comparing the differences in weight and comfort.
Moving on again,
we walked down to Trafalgar Square, where we hunted out the London Brass Rubbing Centre, located in the crypt of the St-Martin-In-The-Fields Church. Here we spent a happy half hour or so making our own brass rubbing prints. Little cocky chose a medievil knight, while Goanna's was a print of Queen Elizabeth I. Cocky and Possy helped.
As we emerged from the church back into Trafalgar Square, the late afternoon sun (yes, SUN!) cast a glow over the Trafalgar Square fountains that had us entranced. We happily joined in with the other tourists snapping ourselves and the fountains before heading off to Embankment tube station and back to our hotel.
LITTLE COCKY’S COMMENTS: The changing of the guard was a big parade, there was a marching band and soldiers on horses. They were all dressed up in special uniforms with helmets, swords, machine guns and lots of gold braids. Most of the soldiers wore red coats, and some had big bearskin hats called busbys. Others wore white helmets with gold spikes and red feathers on the top. These are the Queen’s special guards.
We went to the Royal Mews which is where they keep the royal horses
and carriages. We saw the Australian State Coach which is the newest coach and the only one with electric windows and air-conditioning. Mum’s favourite was the golden Imperial State Coach, it was massive and is only used for coronations of kings and queens.
We also went to the cavalry museum which had lots of armour. Dad and I tried some on. The old fashioned armour was made of metal. It was very heavy and uncomfortable. The new armour is what the soldiers wear in Afghanistan today, it was quite light and much more comfortable.
We made brass rubbings using special crayons and paper over brass etchings. Mum made a queen and I made a knight.
At Trafalgar Square, we liked the fountains. I climbed up on one of the big lions. It was so big I couldn’t reach to put my head in it’s mouth. I sat on his paws, they were all shiny and smooth from people sitting on them.
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