Results tagged “Palaces” from UK and Japan 2010

Got up fairly early and the SUN was SHINING!! In our windows and bright blue sky and everything.  So gently encouraged the sweetie to get up so we could go see white cliffs in the SUN!


Sunrise over the English Channel
Sunrise over the English Channel

Headed off around 8:20 and went up to St Margarets Bay.  On the way the clouds started rolling in from the west.  I did the only appropriate thing - burst into tears.  Because I was so completely sick of cloudy and rainy weather.  But the clouds passed a little way north of us, and when we got there it was still a bit sunny on the cliffs.  The view wasn't hugely great - you really need to get out on a boat for the best views.  But hopefully got some ok photos.


Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Entrance to the tunnels at Dover Castle
Entrance to the tunnels at Dover Castle

Buildings under the White Cliffs in Dover
Buildings under the White Cliffs in Dover

White Cliffs of Dover
White Cliffs of Dover

These clouds made me cry
These clouds made me cry

Channel ferry
Channel ferry

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

Second stop was at Samphire Hoe, which is an area of reclaimed land they created by using the diggings from the Channel Tunnel.  The view wasn't great there either - all the cliffs were covered with plants around there.


Heading down to the tunnel to the Chunnel landfill
Heading down to the tunnel to the Chunnel landfill

Going through the tunnel
Going through the tunnel

White Cliffs of Dover from the Chunnel landfill
White Cliffs of Dover from the Chunnel landfill

Chunnel landfill
Chunnel landfill

Dog Poop bin!
Dog Poop bin!

Heading back out
Heading back out

Reminding Europeans to drive on the left
Reminding Europeans to drive on the left

So then we drove on to London, hoping we'd see a roadside Maccas where we could have breakfast.  Except we didn't find any.  We found a Burger King but bypassed that in hopes of a Maccas.  So suddenly we were in London and we hadn't had breakfast :(  Note to self: don't try to attack driving through crazy busy big city streets on no breakfast.  It makes for unhappy campers :(  Stoopid traffic jams too which added to the stress levels.  We'd allowed heaps of time to return the car, but in the end only *just* made it back in time :/  


Naughty person on board!
Naughty person on board!

Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station

So jumped on a train (15 min wait) to Earl's Court to stay at the *other* Earl's Court Best Western - on the north side this time.  The room wasn't ready so left all the bags with the sweetie and headed into town to see Buckingham Palace.  

It was about a half hour queue to get tickets, then the entry was 45 minutes after that, so wandered around Green Park for a while.  They've also resurfaced the road in front of the palace in the past two weeks.  This spot I've been to three times in three weeks, which is all a little odd.  So went back at 2:45 and accidently ended up in the 2:30 queue .. oops.. didn't mean to.. oh well .. 


Gates open at Buckingham Palace
Gates open at Buckingham Palace

Canadian War Memorial in Green Park
Canadian War Memorial in Green Park

Queen Victoria statue from Green Park
Queen Victoria statue from Green Park

The palace state rooms tour was actually pretty good.  Of course you can't take photos :(  But the audio guide was pretty decent.  Lots of very beautiful rooms and only one thing that was too crowded (too much commentary for such a small space).  Quite enjoyed it overall.  Took around an hour and a half to do the whole thing.  Then headed back to the hotel.  


Rear of Buckingham Palace
Rear of Buckingham Palace

Rear of Buckingham Palace
Rear of Buckingham Palace

Pond in Buckingham Palace grounds
Pond in Buckingham Palace grounds

Security at the back of Buckingham Palace
Security at the back of Buckingham Palace

Went for a wander and had a pint at the Kings Head (one of about a billion Kings Head pubs in England - either that or Red Lions) and then across the road to a French restaurant for a very yummy three course meal for £9.95 each.  


Geotagging - Day 29
Geotagging - Day 29

Photos on the Canon: 142
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Video: 1
Videos on the Video: 7
Steps walked: 10086
Pounds Spent: ?
Woke up by Stu's phone buzzing at 5:30 and couldn't get back to sleep :/

Breakfast - same.

Today we decided to go our own separate ways for the day. The sun was out so I wanted to do some touristy things while Stu had a relaxing day off.

So my first stop was Buckingham Palace. I considered going in, but the sun was out! So decided to go down past Westminster station to photograph the barriers (a la Order of the Phoenix), across the Westminster bridge, and up the London Eye.

Buckingham Palace in sunlight
Buckingham Palace in sunlight

Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight
Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight

Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight
Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight

Westminster Station, as seen in Order of the Phoenix
Westminster Station, as seen in Order of the Phoenix

London Eye
London Eye

London Eye
London Eye

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Had about a fifteen minute wait in the queue to get tickets, then a fifteen minute wait to get on. There were some pretty annoying people (a couple of girls and also a bunch of guys that just wanted to pose for each other non stop through the whole ride). The view was decent enough and the clouds parted enough for me to get some ok photos.

Charing Cross station
Charing Cross station

The Thames
The Thames

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

At the top of the London Eye
At the top of the London Eye

Guys taking photos of themselves
Guys taking photos of themselves

Government buildings including 10 Downing Street and Treasury
Government buildings including 10 Downing Street and Treasury

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Tower of Big Ben
Tower of Big Ben

Clock tower and Westminster Abbey
Clock tower and Westminster Abbey

Hopped on a train (when I eventually found the right line at Waterloo station) to London Bridge. And from there went across and up Tower Bridge. You go up in a lift in the north tower, then you walk across to the south tower across the top. There are all these info boards setup to read. Then you can go across the top on the other half as well - this part was only opened a few months ago. Then you take steps most of the way down the south tower (there is a toilet near the top of the south tower you can use - this would be one of the cooler places I've gone to the toilet :) ).  After the bridge tour you can also go see the old steam engine rooms that were in use until 1976. They were pretty cool to look at with lots of useful info.

Waterloo Station
Waterloo Station

Crossing Tower Bridge I had to stop because it was opening!
Crossing Tower Bridge I had to stop because it was opening!

Interior of Tower Bridge
Interior of Tower Bridge

Tower of London
Tower of London

London office buildings
London office buildings

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Looking up the Thames
Looking up the Thames

Inside the top of Tower Bridge
Inside the top of Tower Bridge

Looking down on the road
Looking down on the road

Furnaces
Furnaces

Engine room
Engine room

It was pouring with rain at this point. !? So walked across the bridge and it was already clearing up again.

Tower Bridge, with tide as high as I ever saw it
Tower Bridge, with tide as high as I ever saw it

At this point I didn't know what to do next. Stu would have been interested in the Tower of London. But it was just there. Or I could have gone into Buckingham Palace. Either way I was going to miss out on the Monument because it was getting too late in the day. Even considered doing the Monument and the Belfast. So sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide what to do. In the end I went to Tower of London.

Went in around 3pm and stayed til closing at 5:30. And probably only saw half of it - and a lot of that was rushed :/ The place generally works pretty well in terms of crowd control - everything has an entrance and an exit so you're not battling through people going the other way. However some of the rooms are quite small so it's still a people battle that I find quite stressful. And that was late in the afternoon when the numbers were dwindling - I'd hate to see the place in the morning!! Anyway the main thing I wanted to see were the crown jewels. Which are spec-fricking-tacular :) The Cullinan I diamond in the sceptre is truly a sight to behold. Would loved to have been able to take photos, but alas not. Did a bit more wandering until closing time.

Tower of London
Tower of London

Traitors' Gate from the outside
Traitors' Gate from the outside

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Traitors' Gate from the inside
Traitors' Gate from the inside

State room
State room

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Buildings in the Tower of London
Buildings in the Tower of London

Buildings in the Tower of London
Buildings in the Tower of London

The Crown Jewels are in there!
The Crown Jewels are in there!

Model of the Tower of London
Model of the Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

The Rack!  Part of the torture exhibition
The Rack! Part of the torture exhibition

Canons
Canons

Tower of London
Tower of London

Obligatory me in front of Tower Bridge shot
Obligatory me in front of Tower Bridge shot

Last stop of the day was The Leaky Cauldron!!! This was the first one in Leadenhall Markets. Extremelly squee :):):)

The Leaky Cauldron!
The Leaky Cauldron!

Harry and Hagrid walk here in the Philosopher's Stone
Harry and Hagrid walk here in the Philosopher's Stone

And then back to the hotel to collapse.

Last night of guaranteed internet for who knows how long.  So I've been trying to do things that require internet.  And not succeeding very well and doing any of it :/

Geotagging - Day 13
Geotagging - Day 13


Photos on the Canon: 443
Photos on the Sony: 40
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the iPhone: 2
Steps walked: 16056
Pounds Spent: 148.57
Sleep - same
Breakfast - same

So there was a tube strike planned for today.  While there were some services still running, we decided we'd have a day of "local" to the hotel things. ie, things we could walk to from the hotel.  

So we headed in the general direction of what we thought was the Natural History Museum, but the road curled around to the north instead of staying going north east, so we decided to have a look at Kensington Palace first up. Just the exterior, didn't go in.  Went down to the pond where The Birds were gathered.  Got some way cool photos of some starlings on a dude's hand.

Doggy poop bins in Kensington Gardens
Doggy poop bins in Kensington Gardens

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace gardens
Kensington Palace gardens

Geese in Kensington Gardens
Geese in Kensington Gardens

Swan in Kensington Gardens
Swan in Kensington Gardens

Starlings in Kensington Gardens
Starlings in Kensington Gardens

Starlings in Kensington Gardens
Starlings in Kensington Gardens

Starlings in Kensington Gardens
Starlings in Kensington Gardens

Swan in Kensington Gardens
Swan in Kensington Gardens

Feeding the geese
Feeding the geese

Kensington Palace gates
Kensington Palace gates

Then we meandered through Kensington Gardens, and had a look at the Albert Memorial, and the Royal Albert Hall.

South Flower Walk
South Flower Walk

Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial

Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall

Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial

And then down to the Natural History Museum.  It wasn't as good as I thought it would be.  Maybe it was trying to cover too much.  I was expecting it to be choc-full of stuff, but it was a little bit spartan, representing whole swathes of things (eg all of mammals or all of fish) with just a few cabinets.  Actually one of the best displays in terms of sheer volume was the mineral displays.  It took up a whole big room!  Stu also liked the contents of the cocoon (some detail on the scientific and museum process), but by that time we were exhausted on our feet and didn't really have the energy to look at it on more depth.

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

Amazing stone carvings were all over the building - inside and out!
Amazing stone carvings were all over the building - inside and out!

Central Hall
Central Hall

Moose I think
Moose I think

Whales
Whales

Whale
Whale

Sensory and Motor models of the body
Sensory and Motor models of the body

Dinosaur
Dinosaur

Dinosaur
Dinosaur

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

Central Hall
Central Hall

Giant Sequoia cross section
Giant Sequoia cross section

Giant Sequoia cross section
Giant Sequoia cross section

Mineral hall
Mineral hall

Iridescent Stalactites
Iridescent Stalactites

Mocha Stone
Mocha Stone

Fluorescent diamonds
Fluorescent diamonds

Agate
Agate

This looks like a cityscape or something
This looks like a cityscape or something

Side of the cacoon
Side of the cacoon

Genes V!  I had this book in uni!
Genes V! I had this book in uni!

Petrified wood
Petrified wood

So at this point Stu headed back to the hotel and I decided to go to Harrods (just to say I'd been).  Oh. Fricken. Dear.  First of all you need a map to find your way around (and even then you still got turned around and upside down).  I was constantly trying to figure out how to get out of where I was.  The whole bottom floor of course is the super exclusive perfumes and handbags.  With an Egyptian theme (!).  Went up to the fourth floor to look at toys.  Had to walk through the childrenswear section.  £300 for an outfit?? hrmm.  They did have RC which I'd not seen in stores (only online) for £79.  Lego was comparable to our pricing (perhaps more with the dollar the way it is).  Went downstairs to have a look at electronics stuff, but if they had memory sticks I didn't find them.  TinTin books were £7. The coolest part of the whole store (that I saw) was the fossil and mineral gallery.  Having literally just seen some of this stuff at the museum, to see it for sale was super cool.  Horrendously expensive, but super cool :)  I didn't find the statue my parents found last year, or the Dodi and Diana one (I didn't even know it existed til just then), but did find a gold Egyptian thing.  At this point I figured any exit was a good exit, so bolted for the door before I got lost again!

Harrods
Harrods

Rhodocrosite
Rhodocrosite

Petrified wood
Petrified wood

Shells
Shells

Gold Egyptian thing
Gold Egyptian thing

Harrods
Harrods

Twenty five minute walk back to the hotel, then went out again to get dinner (KFC - I know, lame) and back to *sit*.  Another ten kilometre walking day today, not including walking around the museum or Harrods or the walk to KFC and back.  Feet. Very. Sore.

Geotagging - Day 11
Geotagging - Day 11


Photos on the Canon: 320
Videos on the Canon: 5
Photos on the Sony: 88
Photos on the Blackberry: 2
Videos on the Video: 13
Steps walked: 18836
Pounds Spent: 28.53
Had a pretty good sleep last night. Woke up at 7am :)

Breakfast much the same as yesterday. Got out the door closer to 9:30, slightly later than I wanted.

Headed to Victoria (the station was open today). Had a quick look at Westminster Cathedral (not the abbey).

Victoria Station
Victoria Station

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral

Then headed to Buckingham Palace. There was the mayor's bike ride so The Mall and the roads in front of the palace were closed to traffic. This meant we were able to wander around the whole area that would normally be teeming with cars. Was very cool.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Beefeater
Beefeater

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Palace gates
Palace gates

Victoria Memorial
Victoria Memorial

Looking down The Mall
Looking down The Mall

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Canada Gate
Canada Gate

Victoria Memorial through the Australia Gate
Victoria Memorial through the Australia Gate

Next we had a bit of a wander through St James's Park and saw lots of birds and SQUIRRELs.

Flowers in St James's Park
Flowers in St James's Park

St James's Park
St James's Park

St James's Park
St James's Park

Geese in St James's Park
Geese in St James's Park

Heron in St James's Park
Heron in St James's Park

Seagull in St James's Park
Seagull in St James's Park

Swan in St James's Park
Swan in St James's Park

Seagull in St James's Park
Seagull in St James's Park

St James's Park
St James's Park

Squirrel!
Squirrel!

Got to the end of The Mall to Trafalgar Square.

Looking up The Mall
Looking up The Mall

Duke of York Column
Duke of York Column

Admiralty Arch
Admiralty Arch

Looking up The Mall
Looking up The Mall

Mounted police coming through Admiralty Arch
Mounted police coming through Admiralty Arch

Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column

Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson

Then down Whitehall and across to the Ministry of Magic's visitor's entrance (they've repaved the bit of footpath they used in the movie and the rest of the street is a bit of a mess too). Up past Northumberland to Strand then around the back of the National Gallery to Leicester Square.

Visitor's entrance to the Ministry of Magic
Visitor's entrance to the Ministry of Magic

Me standing where the visitors entrance was located
Me standing where the visitors entrance was located

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square
Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square

At this point we decided to stop for a pint and a rest.

Decided to go to Notting Hill and the Portobello Markets, thinking it might be better on a weekend.

It took five trains to get there due to line closures :/

The poms are mental.  You have to keep left basically everywhere *except* on elevators.
The poms are mental. You have to keep left basically everywhere *except* on escalators 

Same station, but keep left on the paths.  Make up your mind England!
Same station, but keep left on the paths. Make up your mind England!

When we got to Notting Hill I saw an O2 store so went in to see if I could get a sim (and see if my phone was unlocked). Well surprise surprise it's not unlocked. Whether it's Optus or iTunes I don't know but it made me pretty depressed :/

Wandered up Portobello Road and had some lunch (nice lunch but $60aud :/ ). Then basically just came back to the hotel to try and do some planning for the rest of the week.

Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill
Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill

I thought this might have been some dealer in antique sewing machines, but no actually it's a clothing store!
I thought this might have been some dealer in antique sewing machines, but no actually it's a clothing store!

Earl's Court Station
Earl's Court Station

Geotagging - Day 9
Geotagging - Day 9


Photos on the Canon: 329
Photos on the Sony: 60
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Videos on the Video: 23
Steps walked: 12594
Pounds Spent: 66.39