Sunday, September 7, 2014

London & Brussels 2014 {Day Six}

Sunday was my last day in London.   I had been on the fence about whether to go to Buckingham Palace or not, so I weighed out the Pros and Cons.


Pros:
The Royal Childhood Exhibit
You Only Have the Opportunity to Tour for a month every year
I haven't done the tour since 1996

Cons:
I did the tour in 1996
It isn't cheap
I could spend the time doing something I haven't done before

Then I got in a twitter conversation with Victoria Arbiter, CNN's & ABC's Royal Contributor, and daughter of Dickie Arbiter, the longtime Press Spokesman for Her Majesty the Queen, about the Royal Childhood Exhibition.  She highly recommended it, so I booked my ticket for a 9:30 tour.  

I'm so happy that I did!  It was really great.  The tour has come a long way since 1996 (of course that was only the 3rd year that they had done the tour, so they may have still been figuring it out).  I really enjoyed the tour of the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace, and I thought the Royal Childhood Exhibition was charming.  Photos of the interior are not allowed, and I wasn't going to risk taking illegal photos in the palace, but if you want to see some pics of the Royal Childhood Exhibition you can click HERE.  

As soon as I was done in the palace, I hit up The Garden Cafe
I didn't really have a game plan for lunch, and figured that the Queen wouldn't serve dodgy food, so I decided to eat there.
I had a Ham & Cheese sandwich, tea, and dessert.
And it was really good!
P.S. How adorable is the Garden Cafe?  The pink and green color scheme? LOVE!  And that tray was so cute.  I had hoped they were selling them in the shop, but sadly they weren't.
{all food pics are iPhone pics}
This Strawberry Fraisier was to die for.  Yep, I was right...no dodgy food here!
After lunch, I hit up the gift shop and I tried buy them out.  Not really, but I did buy an adorable ornament and Buckingham Palace advent calendar that I can't wait to bust out during the holidays!

They have you walk through the palace gardens, and exit way in the back.  After that, I walked back around to the front to take pics.







Turns out the Mall is closed on Sundays!  It was super cool to walk down it and be able to take pictures and glance back and absorb the sights.
Big Ben peeking out over St. James Park.
And then the bottom fell out and it started raining cats and dogs.


I sought shelter under some trees for the worst of the downpour, and then continued on to Trafalgar Square...
Nelson's Column and the Lions


I had really been wanting to take some great photos of Big Ben from Trafalgar Square, but the rain kind of thwarted my plans.
I went down into the underground right there at Trafalgar Square to get out of the rain.  I took it toward Oxford Circus.  My afternoon plan was to get my shopping on in London!

Liberty of London was one of my stops...



Another stop was Hamley's toy store.  I went to see if they had any unique gifts for little people in my life, but I didn't find much (and honestly, it was so loud and crazy, it was kind of torture even being in there!).  They had life size royal family lego sculptures though!
The Queen was fun, but the corgi...I just about died over that cuteness!
After that I hit up Cath Kidston (I mean I hit them up hard, but then you know that I just about bought them out if you follow me on instagram), and Fortnum & Mason.  These hydrangeas were outside of F&M, and they were killing me with their beauty.  I have never seen ones these colors before!
{iphone pics}
After shopping hard all afternoon, I took a cab back to the hotel to start packing.  I had some plans to go to the observation deck of the Shard, but it closed earlier than I thought.  I was really worn out by that point, so I decided room service sounded like a fine idea.

I got a burger with grilled onions, streaky bacon (that's normal bacon over on this side of the pond), and Stilton cheese (a strong British cheese).  It was actually divine!  Great decision!

And just like that, my trip was over.  Much too soon.  I left the next morning on the 11:55 a.m. flight to Dallas.  The flight home was it's own special kind of hell, but I'm choosing to try to block that part of the trip.  I'm so happy that I got the opportunity to indulge my inner anglophile for a week!

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