Monthly Archives: April 2017

England – Day 3, Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards and Hampton Court

This morning our day began with  a walking tour in the Westminster area, We took a stroll past Westminster Abbey  and the adjacent square to view the statue  Sir Winston Churchill. Stopped for a photo opp at the iconic London Phone booth then continued along the avenue into St James Park to view the Queens Royal Horse Guards. The spring flowers are in full bloom, wisteria vines, tulips and various blossoms

P1160011 P1160013 P1160015 P1160021 P1160024 P1160030 P1160029 P1160042

P1160047 P1160046

Continuing our walk through the spectacular St James Park we arrived at the barracks of the Queens Royal Horse Guards and on to the barracks to view the spectacular changing of the guards..The crowds were intense due to the fact that is was May 1st holiday weekend . Our guide Sue was on top of it and took us to the barracks area to observe the band and the changing of the guards. We were able to get right up to the gate area to view the ritual, versus being in front of the palace where it was at least 10 deep in a  crowd of thousands.  We followed the guards from the barracks area over to the palace area and moved hillside to have a birds eye view of Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately the Queen was not in residence today.

P1160052 P1160051 P1160065 P1160068 P1160067

Our exploration continued with a visit of England’s largest and grandest Tudor palace. Built in 1514 and extended by Christopher Wren in the 17th century, Hampton Court Palace is a beautiful blend of Tudor, Georgian and baroque architecture with 24 hectares of riverside gardens, including a 300-year-old maze. Home to many kings and queens such as King Henry the Eighth and King William and Queen Mary. The opulence of the rooms, gardens and entertaining areas was a site to see. Especially the large kitchens where they prepared the meals to feed the many guests that stayed at the palace.  King Henry’s main entertaining hall was a large quite large and the tapestries and art work some of the best in the world. The collection of priceless artifacts and art work are some of the best in the world.

P1160073 P1160075 P1160078 P1160077 P1160076 P1160086 P1160097 P1160096 P1160100 P1160111 P1160110 P1160109 P1160122

P1160143 P1160142 P1160141 P1160152 P1160151 P1160162 P1160169 P1160168

We ended the day with a fabulous Italian meal at Antico, located across the street from our hotel.  The meal was excellent. I had an aspargus salad to start then a delicious slow roasted beef pasta for the main course. Others enjoyed a salmon starter and perfectly grilled ribeye steak. Dessert was delectable!

Overnight: Bermondsey Square Hotel

England – Day 2, Kensington Palace, Diana: Her Story exhibit, Tower of London and St Pauls Cathedral

After a sumptuous English breakfast we began our day with a tour of Kensington Palace, home of the Royals. Then a special visit of  “Diana: Her Fashion Story” exhibit at the Palace. What a treat!  A quick photo stop at an iconic London telephone booth and the Prince Albert Memorial located on the edge of Hyde Park.

P1150891 P1150897 P1150906 P1150911 P1150919 P1150922 P1150925 P1150928 P1150927 P1150926

P1150932 P1150939

This afternoon we visited the Tower of London.  The buildings date back centuries but the most impressive part of the tour was the crown jewels.  The bejeweled crowns, swords, ornate cape and much more are only used during the coronation of a king or queen.  The last time they were used was for the crowning of Queen Elizabeth. Unfortunately there are no photos of the jewels as cameras were not permitted.  The Kings chambers were on display as well as the royal Ravens.  It is said that when the ravens are gone the dynasty will fall. There was a spectacular river view, and tower bridge from the top of the castle wall.

P1150959 P1150958 P1150957 P1150961 P1150960 P1150966 P1150969 P1150968 P1150978 P1150977 P1150974 P1150973 P1150975This evening we visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most majestic buildings where Lady Diana and Prince Charles were wed. We enjoyed the Evensong service. The choir was a treat to the ears and the sounds of the organ filled the great hall.
It’s spring time in the city , the tulips are in full bloom.  We took a short stroll from St Pauls to Haz Turkish Restaurant for dinner. The food was fabulous. Starters withe falafel, samosa, tabbouleh, calamari with hummus and tzitziki dips. Then a choice of main course: lamb shank, salmon steak or chicken shish.  Delicious! A feast fit for a queen.
After dinner we took a leisurely stroll back along the river to the hotel. It was wonderful to view the city by night.

P1150984 P1150982 P1150988 P1150995 P1150994 P1150999 P1150998 P1150997

Overnight: Bermondsey Square Hotel, London

England – Day 1 Arrival London, panoramic tour

Upon our arrival at London Heathrow airport we were met by our guide Sue and transferred to the Bermondsey Square Hotel. Our home for the next 4 nights. The hotel is quite modern and the rooms a bright and comfy.   After freshening up and a quick lunch we headed out for a panoramic tour to see the main sites of London.
This evening we enjoyed a welcome dinner at the hotel.  The private room was inviting and the food and service were excellent.

London day 1 tower bridge

 London day 1 dinner room

Overnight: Bermondsey Square Hotel, London