Sunday, July 1, 2012
A Royal Day Out
Today we had a Royal Day Out. When I asked my friends what to do in London, visit Buckingham Palace was at the top of the list and we were incredibly lucky that our final full day in London coincided with the first open day of the summer season.
Our pass got us into the palace, the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews. The Mews were first up. They hold the collection of royal carriages as well as the horses that pull them and house those maintain and drive the carriages. We saw a great range of carriages including instantly recognisable ones such as the gold carriage of state and the glass carriage that has carried royal brides.
Also there was the Australian carriage, the only one to have been built in modern times and therefore the most comfortable with proper suspension and things like heating and airconditioning and automatic windows.
After the Mews we had to wait to get into the gallery, so we headed to a close pub for another fish and chips lunch. It wasn't quite as good as yesterday's - so the tip is get your fish and chips at the Borough Market.
The Queen's Gallery was hosting a special exhibition - all of Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical drawings. They reside in the royal collection, I didn't realise that they hadn't really been published before the 60's. It was brilliant seeing them in real life. Interestingly the fact that he wrote in mirror writing was actually because he was left handed and nothing to do with it being secret research - he had always intended to publish it.
Our final part of the journey was to visit the state rooms of Buckingham Palace. Unfortunatly no photography is allowed, but they are magnificent. From grand gilded staircases, to each colour decorated room, the rooms are designed to impress and they really do.
As it is the year of the Queen's diamond jubilee, there was a special exhibition of diamonds from the royal collection. It included things like Queen Victoria's tiny crown, Queen Alexandra's tiara of verical rows of diamonds, the diamond corination necklace and earings and the diamond diadeum that we are so used to seeing as it is the one the Queen is wearing on all our coins. It was a seriously sparkly room to put it mildly.
The tour finished up with a walk through the magnificent park like grounds of the palace. One thing is for sure, it was a royal day out indeed.
Our visit to London has been just lovely. Mostly the weather has been incredibly kind, showers have been brief and the sun has mostly shone, even if the wind has been a bit cold. But tomorrow we move on, Austria here we come.