A Travellerspoint blog

A Visit to the Palace

London

semi-overcast 21 °C


I've been to London tonnes of times over the years, but always as a day trip - it's less than an hour away so I've always seen it in small bitesize chunks. Therefore I've never blogged about these trips before as they've not been a 'holiday'. But the most recent visit was very much a tourist day out, so here's the story!

We had originally planned to visit on the Saturday, but for the first time in years, the middle weekend of July had atrocious weather - Friday being a complete washout, and Saturday even having a weather warning for extremely gusty wind, so we cancelled our trip. It was only on Saturday itself that we decided to resurrect our plans and go the following day instead.

The benefit of going on a Sunday was that we could see the Changing of the Guard, which I'd always missed before, as I'm never there at the right times.

We made sure we got an early train so that we'd be in London in time. After swapping to the Underground, we arrived at Victoria, and had a quick look at Westminster Cathedral.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

This is the mother church for English & Welsh Catholicism, and arriving just after 10am, a service was in progress. The building has a very unique design, and inside had a very dark ceiling. Quite bizarre for an English building.

We then made our way around the corner to Buckingham Palace, which was already packed. Changing of The Guard wasn't for another 40 minutes, but already we had to make do with standing behind several people.

The weather was nice, a little too hot when the sun did come out, but cooled by the passing clouds. It didn't take too long before the preparations for the parade started in advance of the actual ceremony

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

The guardsmen came over from St. James' Palace, marching to music and then performed a ceremony at the very front of Buckingham Palace. It was interesting to watch, but with the additional 45 minutes needed to get a pot to view it makes it quite a long time to stand in one space. Nice to see it but I wouldn't rush back to see again!

Our next activity was to go inside the palace itself. We'd managed to book some tickets for 11am, and the entrance was just around the corner. We headed over, went through the security search, picked up our audio guide and then were inside.

The palace is only open in the summer months when the royals are in Scotland, and this year featured a fascinating additional display of the outfits and items involved in May's Coronation.

We took a look at those, as well as the beautifully decorated rooms. The most shocking thing is just how small the palace actually is. We got to look at around half of the back of the palace, and yet we were only inside for around 90 minutes.

We headed out into the garden, and after popping into the gift shop, walked through the Palace Gardens, exiting through the back entrance.

In the Garden

In the Garden

We then caught a bus from Victoria and headed across the river to Battersea, where we walked over to the Power Station. This art deco building was constructed in 1929, and powered up to a fifth of London before it was eventually closed in 1983. Due to the architectural value, it was Grade II listed, despite no one knowing what to do with it.

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

After many years of hopeless proposals, in October 2022 it was finally reopened, this time as a mixed use development of flats and an entertainment complex. We took a look around the vast space, both outside and in, before getting on the newly constructed Battersea Power Station tube station, and heading north towards to Archway.

I normally spend all my time in Central London, having seen places like Tower Bridge, Covent Garden and Westminster loads of times. But rarely if ever have I seen any of the sights just outside.

Once we arrived at Archway, we took a bus up the hill and walked through Waterlow Park before arriving at Highgate Cemetery. This cemetery is the final resting place of many famous people, and is separated into two different sides.

We started at the older and quite landscaped West side. It's quite hilly, and as we walked through the trees, we passed George Michael and Alexander Litvinenko's graves.

Alexander Litvinenko's Grave

Alexander Litvinenko's Grave

We then arrived at the Egyptian Avenue - a vaulted gateway, which leads on to the grand Circle of Lebanon, a circular sunken tomb complex.

Circle of Lebanon

Circle of Lebanon

Having looked around this side, we then made our way back to the East side, the newer and more structured part, which bizarrely includes the Tomb of Karl Marx. The tomb is also many times larger than those around looking completely out of place!

Karl Marx's Tomb

Karl Marx's Tomb

By now it had been quite a long day, so we decided to head back to King's Cross to grab some dinner, before we then made our way home.

With many more places in London to still see - particularly on the south side of the river, I'm sure there'll be another visit sooner or later!

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Posted by kmmk17 16:20 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged palace cathedral royal macabre

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