Wednesday, October 16, 2013

London Sightseeing

This trip was a quick three night visit, so I packed as much as I could into our first full day in London.

We stayed at St. Ermin's in Westminster which is an historic hotel with an ideal location for sightseeing.  It's just a minute or so from St. James's Park and right near Scotland Yard.  We walked to The Goring for afternoon tea the day we flew in, and enjoyed nice walks to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament the next two days.  We found the St. Ermin's staff to be warm, welcoming, and very helpful - and we were able to book a family room for five. The history of the place is quite interesting - you can read a little about its past involving spies and covert operations during WWII here.

In the morning we toured the state rooms at Buckingham Palace and saw the special exhibition of the Queen's coronation.  Buckingham Palace is only open certain dates in the summer and the Royal Collection Trust website says 2014 dates will be announced shortly.  I see there will also be a special winter guided tour December 6th - February 2nd - information here.  I did not reserve tickets in advance and our hotel did not have any available the morning we wanted to go.  They advised us however to try the walk-up and happily we were able to get tickets that way.

After the state rooms and coronation exhibit (and cappuccino, profiteroles, and a pricey gift shop visit), we found a cozy English lunch at The Colonies.  It was a classic English rainy day and this was a great spot to dry out and warm up.  I had fish and chips, of course, and also had to try the special "It's a Boy!" celebration IPA they had on offer.  After lunch, we were on to the Royal Mews.  Snapshots below.  We went out to Leavesden for the Harry Potter tour in the afternoon.  That post up next.

in the hotel lobby

perfect, rainy London

No photographs in the state rooms but here are some profiteroles and my son's hot chocolate from the outdoor
Buckingham Palace cafe.

fish and chips
My 10 year old had them with the mushy peas and she is now a fan.

"It's a Boy!" celebration IPA.

one of the signs posted around town

My son's new souvenir bear "George" joins his Danish friend, "Soren".

This sign rotates.  We had fun doing spy poses and taking pictures in front of it.

audio tour at The Royal Mews

I liked these framed maps folded into a dress and shirt at St. Ermin's.

A St. Ermin's signature cocktail at The Caxton at the hotel.