Sunday, August 31, 2014

London on a Sunday, the last day of an English Summer

The guest blogger from yesterday has handed the reins back to me.  This snap from yesterday shows he has been around a while.  At this establishment anyway.  (Pawn brokers!)

Of course London is famous for many things, the old red telephone boxes being one of them.

There are still heaps of them about, (have not seen one being used though), but modern times have caught up.  There are now plenty of black ones about which are WiFi hotspots.

Our night out last night to see the Lion King was great.  A short walk to our station, then virtually out the door of Covent Garden Station, around the corner and our Theatre was there.  
A predinner drink at The Coach and Horse, then off to the show.  The Lyceum Theatre holds 2100 people and it was full.
The show was great, even though we were up in nosebleed territory.

Our station wasn't open to take us home, (due to works), so around another corner to Leicster Square with thousands of others.  All the Theatres around here and it was a Saturday night.  Crowds everywhere.  Good train trip back.
This morning, we decided we would rock up for the 11.00 Fat Tyre Bike Tour around London.  It was meeting just near our station. As we were the only ones who rocked up, they asked if we would join the 3.30 tour as they had quite a few already booked.  Yep, no worries.
So we tootled off for a walk around Kensington Park (just at the end of our street.  This really is a fantastic location.  Thanks Tabi.)

We also took in Kensington Palace.  

This has been the home to many a Royal dating back to the 1670s (William). His wife, Queen Caroline, had 17 pregnancies but only 1 lived past infancy, and he died at age 11.  Their being no heir (who wasn't Catholic) a distant cousin (George 1) was invited to come over from Hanover (Germany) to be King.  This began a long line of George's to live at Kensington Palace (including the current little one, belonging to Wills and Kate).  
Some impressive rooms and gardens to be seen here.
Russell on the King's Grand Staircase.

The King's Gallery below

Below, after a big night out in the Palace!

The Queen's Bedroom (not the current one, though.) the current Royal apartments are. OT open for public viewing.  These are from the oldies.

Prince Albert and Queen Victoria outfits.  She was a shortie.  About 4ft 10

Of course, This was the home of Princess Dianna.  Some of her dresses are on display.  Dianna lived her until her untimely death, 17 years ago today!

Because it is the anniversary of her death, there were plenty of people at the Royal Gates commemorating the occasion.

Stunning Garden, titled the Sunken Garden.  Gardners do a great job here.

So later in the day, we joined our bike tour around London.  Much of it was through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park (which is next door), but it took in the Royal roads right into the middle of London.

Now Kensington Gardens covers quite a massive area.  When King William had Kensington Palace built, he chose the location because it was away from the city.  He had asthma/respiratory issues and wanted the fresh air away from the city. This stretch right into Buckingham palace is the garden.  

It is used by everybody for recreational purposes.  Being a Sunday and a fine day, there were thousands upon thousands of people enjoying this vast area.

The Duke of Wellington is well respected for his defeat of Napoleon Bonepatre in the Battle of Waterloo.  After leaving the gardens, his memorials greet you as you enter the traditional centre of London.  He used to live at number 1.

On with our ride to Buckingham Palace.  The benefit of doing our ride today (on a Sunday)
is that the Royal roads are closed (every Sunday and special occasions).  Our bonus.  Not having to deal with too much traffic is great.

Looking backwards from the bike at BP


These guys weren't guarding Buckingham Palace.  This was only Clarence House.  (Home of Charles and Camilla).

Pretty boring photo below really, but just to the right is the rear of #10 Downing Street.  Underneath is the Cabinet war rooms (which is now a fascinating museum which we will visit tomorrow). It is also the site where they held the Beach Volleyball during the Olympic Games!

We rode around the corner and then we were in Trafalgar Square.  A little further on and we got different views of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

Our guide Rhys, who is Australian, explained the attempt to blow up Parliament by Guy Faux way back.  His explanation of how he was executed (hung, drawn and quartered) was pretty graphic!

The majestic Westminster Abbey.

We headed back to the Royal roads, where we stopped for a short break.  A local cold beer (London Pride) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (£10.50!!!). Expensive city!  Should have had the cup of tea.  That is usually under £2.
Through a quiet inner city street.

Into St James Park.

Some of the local wildlife.  Squirrels everywhere.  Just like those damn possums Janet!

Back past  Buckingham Palace with impressive Royal gates.
Beautiful gardens everywhere.
Along back through Hyde Park, Serpentine Road and the lake used for the Trialthlon leg during the Olympic Games.  A very pretty location.

Once again, we have had a great day.  Doing a cycle tour is such a great way to see a city.  The commentary from our guide was fantastic, they know the best ways to go to avoid most traffic and a pretty good at adding some humour.  Well done Fat Tyre Bike Tours.  We look forward to doing another in Barcelona next week.
Bye for now.  

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