With the organized tour portion of our British trip behind us, today's pace was a little less hectic. I had booked a tour inside the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, which luckily for us, are only open between late July and September when the Queen is on holiday! Our hotel is conveniently located just east of the River Thames and 2 tube stops from the Palace.
Thanks to all of you for reminding me to "mind the gap" while riding the tube!
We had been so lucky weather-wise, up until today, and of course trying to pack light I did not bring with any rain gear! Fortunately, it was a light drizzle during our walk through Green Park to Buckingham Palace. We arrived early, giving us time to shop before touring the palace. Not only was I able to get some gifts for friends and family, we were able to purchase a couple small umbrellas to get us through the day, with the "Buckingham Palace" emblem on them no less!
With so many trying to escape the wet weather, the queue to get in was pretty tight. No pictures are allowed inside the Palace, same as the White House, but they are allowed outside, so I did snap many pictures from every side of the Palace!
Buckingham Palace is a working Palace, where Her majesty The Queen carries out her official and ceremonial duties as head of State of the UK and Head of the Commonwealth. The palace has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms! Some 450 people work in the palace. It is furnished with more than 20-thousand pieces of art.
Buckingham Palace's garden covers 40 acres. It is home to 30 different species of bird and more than 350 different wild flowers.
After the tour, which included the special exhibit "Royal Childhood" - a display of toys, family gifts and childhood outfits of the royal children, Sara and I had lunch at the Garden Café on the Palace’s West Terrace. We took a few more pictures, and if you look closely, we positioned our "selfie" with the open door giving you a glimpse into the palace behind us!
We decided to walk back, since the rain had stopped and traffic was light, as a bike-a-thon was just finishing.
Walking is always better than driving/commuting, because you can see so much more - like a clothing shop unique to the UK! (Yes, I bought her the dress!)
By the time we left the store, it had started raining again, so walking around Piccadilly Circus didn't seem so appealing. At least we had those umbrellas now!
We opted for a tube ride back to the hotel, had light snacks for dinner, watched a movie and made a chill night of it!
Tomorrow, London's version of the Willis Tower, and a night at the theatre!