Thursday, 13 October 2016

Day 5: Buckingham Palace Tour & British Afternoon Tea

16 Sept 2016 - Friday

For 2 months every summer, Buckingham Palace opens its doors to thousand of tourists wanting to take a peek inside one of the most famous palaces in the world, where it is also the London royal residence for Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family..

I did not think twice because I know this is something I will do only once (ultimately if I ever come back to London, I will not redo this tour).. I also add in the afternoon tea to have tea much like the English do, and for it in a 5-star London hotel, what can be better?

Except - it rained that day..

Admiralty Arch

I did not bring the umbrella I bought in London, I left it to chance as the morning started well when I left home, it soon got heavier by 10am as the tour was about to begin from Duke of York column.. Some gentleman offered to share his umbrella with me..

My tour guide was Augusta (yay if you also went on one with her before - she's perfectly brilliant and wonderful!).. I was educated about the monarchy and the afternoon tea practice, from a local, rather than reading it myself..

Standing at Duke of York column looking ahead towards Regent St & The Guards Crimean War Memorial

The Queen's Guards did a full change that rainy morning, apparently, they decided it was not raining, but it was a Wet Change, so I am not so sure what I missed, I certainly did not miss how a Wet Change is, after all, how often can you see a Wet Change?

We got to the best spots, thanks to Augusta, who told us where to stand for the best views, and the rushed off to the Wellington Barracks where we caught the glimpse of the new guards coming out and the old one going back in..

Horse Guard Parade

I had to take cover under this umbrella shared by this gentleman

Walking towards Buckingham Palace through St Jame's Park

Buckingham Palace from the side

This is Augusta
Loved her English accent.. so sexy! HAHA!

Soon it was noon - it's time to enter Buckingham Palace.. Augusta led us to the security checkpoint where we went though security screening much like in the airport, except they are stricter, to empty all pockets and belt, and to check in all bags, umbrellas and before entering the inner courtyard (which was after the security checkpoint), phones must be switched off..

No photos allowed..

The security checkpoint inside Buckingham Palace..
Sorry no phones allowed after this point...

The tour of the Palace began from the inner courtyard where the Queen receives guests, and through a few of the Staterooms, the Grand Ballroom, the Throne Room, the Coronation Room, the Blue Drawing Room, the Green Drawing Room, the Music Room and a few more other rooms, before finally exiting through the back to the lush gardens and the beautiful back facade of Buckingham Palace..

Some of the rooms which I saw 
(these pictures were taken from the Internet - I do not own the pictures)

The Palace Tour route:
1. Entrance
2. Security Checkpoint & Items Deposits
3. Inner Courtyard - where the tour actually began after collecting audio guide sets
4. After going through the maze, you exit at the back towards the gardens.

The Inner Courtyard

The Grand Staircase.
We walked through here from the top floor to the ground floor almost towards the end of the tour.

The current exhibition going on (which I happened to see)
The Queen's Wardrobe Over The Years

The Throne Room
(same room as when Prince William & Kate had their family photo taken)

The Blue Drawing Room

Focus on the left huge mirror & fake cabinet - it's a secret passage to the private apartments area

As shown here, the secret door opens

Like magic, this is where the Queen emerges to meet with her guests..


The garden behind Buckingham Palace

The back of Buckingham Palace after exiting the Palace

The back of Buckingham Palace

The temporary toilet feels quite luxurious ok!

Buckingham Palace souvenir shop - I bought quite a bit of chocolates here.. hahaha

From there, we trekked through the gardens and exit through the rear and walked along the walls towards St Ermin's Hotel where afternoon tea was served, each one of us have a piece of all the scones, cakes, macaroons, sweet savouries and tea..

The tour ends here..

But not my day..

Entrance of St Ermin's Hotel

Grand Staircase of the lobby

"Tea Reception"

Outside the tea room

Reception area of the tea room


History of Afternoon Tea


Om nom nom

Lovely beautiful tea set

A photo with Augusta before she left

I continued on exploring London and decided to go shopping instead at Oxford Street but I was quickly drawn to Superdry and Hollister along Regent Street..

Even after converting to ringgit (in case of Superdry in Malaysia) and USD (in case of Hollister online and in the nearest Hollister store is in Hong Kong), it is still so much cheaper in London.. So I went on a shopping frenzy, spending about £100.. and the best part is, I shopped enough to claim VAT refund (I'll write about the refund part when I come to departing from Heathrow)..

And then I shopped more before meeting my friend for dinner..

Regent St

Piccadilly Circus

Must selfie at Piccadilly Circus

Statue of Eros (Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain) built in 1893

Harry Potter at the Palace Theater

This was dinner.. £8.95 including a pint of beer

M&M World beside W Hotel London

M&M colours you probably have not seen before

I didn't go to Abbey Road so this will do..

ok M&M!!!

I returned the next day anyway to take more pics of M&M

Personalise your M&M.. Write your greetings, name etc on to each M&M
100g from £8 if I remember correctly..

The full range of M&M colours

Next: Greenwich Prime Meridian Line and The Book of Mormons! 

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