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Published: August 28th 2019
Today was Buckingham Palace day. The State rooms are only open 10 weeks a year and a friend told me there was an Exhibition called QUEEN VICTORIA'S PALACE on at the moment so I booked online before I came over and off we went. I love the show Young Victoria so I was really looking forward to it.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, a special exhibition, Queen Victoria’s Palace
, tells the story of how the young queen transformed Buckingham Palace from a private house into a working royal residence. Together with Prince Albert, she made Buckingham Palace a rallying point for the nation, a powerful symbol of the British Monarchy, and a family home for their nine children. You can see more of the exhibition here
As we arrived about an hour early we picked up our tickets and wandered over to where a few thousand people were milling around the front of the palace and discovered they were there for the changing of the guard. We found a spot just near the Australia Gates (I didn't know we had gates there!) They are part of the Dominion Gates (Canada Gate, Australia Gate and South and
West Africa Gates) which are part of the The Queen Victoria Memorial which is located in front of Buckingham Palace. We found a great spot on Spur Rd near Wellington Barracks which is where the new guards march up from. Quite a spectacular sight seeing them march past. I must say machine guns on the shoulders just doesn't look the same as rifles but it is the sign of the times I suppose. So all in all that was an added bonus.
Off we then headed to line up for our tour.
We chose a time when we booked and were ushered into a holding area, then through a very thorough security check then into the rooms, we were then free to take our time and take as long as we wanted. All very efficiently organised. The State rooms are the working rooms of the Palace. You receive a set of earphones and a multimedia guide to tell you about each room and give you highlights.It was a great way to explore it but it did make it a bit of a solitary experience everyone walking around with headphones on. It took about 2 hours and saw so
much more than I expected to see. The opulence of the rooms was a bit overwhelming. The amazing detail in all the decorations was spectacular. There was gold everywhere! There is a great video at the top of this page
which gives you a great look at the rooms.
As were were towards the end Jim said to me "when we come here we come in this door then up the stairs then out that door to the gardens" "Sorry??? When you come here??? Is this a regular thing?" Poor thing then got embarrassed thinking he was bragging, but nothing of the sort, it was lovely to think of him here and see where he comes and goes. He and Janet have been to the Garden Parties 4 times due to the fact he is a Wandsman for the Queen's Maundy Service
. Six Wandsmen, who are present at the service, guide the recipients to their places and render any other help which is needed. Jim's dad was one and it is passed to Jim. Very special. How cool is that!
Once you finish the tour you end up at a very expensive tea shop on the edge of the garden and then you exit through an even
Changing of the Guard
The detachment of the Old Guard marching out
more expensive gift shop that has everything you can think of with Buckingham palace on it. There was also a fine china section where you would be ushered into a small sitting room to chose your items if you were deemed posh and rich enough.
On to lunch then filled in time in the heat by taking a bus ride and a couple of beers until the final part of Harry Potter! Truly fabulous day.
Things I observed from visiting London:-
• London or its buildings or buses or the tube are not designed for heat!
• English people love to queue and are very good at it
• Beer is never cold enough
• Gin and tonics are served in bucket size stemmed glasses - I like it
• London bus drivers all deserve medals! narrow streets, tight corners, crazy drivers - wow
• The tube is very claustrophobic
• Any building looks pretty with hanging baskets full of blooming flowers in front of it
• Love London and it would take months to really explore it
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