25 August 2015

Whitehall & Windsors


WHITEHALL WANDERING

We weren't able to get tickets to tour the Palace until the afternoon, and we discovered the hard way that NOTHING IS OPEN ON A SUNDAY MORNING. I kid you not, OXFORD STREET TOPSHOP WAS CLOSED! I am still recovering from shock. Instead, what some stores do is a preview hour, where you browse the items between 11-12. No wonder our economy isn't recovering faster - first people aren't paid properly and now they can't spend! 

We cheered ourselves up with a breakfast stop at the holy grail, Pret, than took ourselves on a stroll up Whitehall. Westminster was calling and the weather was balmy; it was the perfect remedy for deprived shoppers. 
Then came my 2nd discovery of the day (well technically the 3rd - the 2nd was Pret's tropical green tea, aka paradise in a cup). There are NO BINS in this area of London. I walked from Buckingham Palace to Wesminster Abbey, empty prey cup in hand, without spotting a single bin. Mum told me this is due to bomb risks; one of those things that makes complete sense when you hear it, but never would have guessed.  

Dad would have been thoroughly disappointed if we'd  returned from our trip without a selfie, so here was the only acceptable one (aka both of us being in the frame). We felt slightly deflated that we couldn't go inside Wesminster to see Poet's corner, but the sign below kept us entertained … 
Just me whose thinking Osborne got a bit carried away with the Tory victory? Now we know where all the construction investment's going. By George, clearly no SW1 is safe... 
Before we knew it, the clock stuck lunchtime. It's a bit of a Harrison family tradition to go to Carluccio's when in London. Now of course it is one of the most well-known chains in the country, but we went when you could count them on one hand! I must have been 5 or 6 when we first went; 15 years on the love is still going strong.



WE'RE OFF TO MEET THE WINDSORS 

From parliament to palace, it was a very official day. So it seemed fitting to channel my all-things-England with Wimbledon white and Royal blue, which just so happened to be identical to my Wearing Wimbledon outfit. The English rose look was complete with my Hattie brogues and takeaway green tea… unlike the Queen I don't have Messrs Fortnum and Mason on speed dial, but with a Pret on every corner I'm content. 

The Buckingham palace tour was brilliant; it's been another little bucket list item for mum and I. When we found out from a family friend that the current tour - A Royal Welcome - shows how they put on a state banquet, we knew we had to go. This could be the closet we ever get to Downtons, let alone the Windsors! 

You can't take photos inside the Palace, but I was glad of this as it made the Downton fairytale far more realistic (let's overlook the walkie talkie). Unexpectedly, my favourite part was the art gallery. I was blown away by the extent and calibre of the Royal Collection, especially those amassed by Charles I. With 7,000 paintings, artists range from Raphael and Titian, to Reuben and Van Dyck - not the Mary Poppins one, although that would have been the berry on top. Speaking of berries… 
This might possibly be one of the happiest photos I've ever seen of my mum; it's clear the Royal magic took over! We ordered tea - obviously - which came in Fortnum & Mason style blue cups. We actually still have the cups, and have kept using them, although mum was slightly crestfallen when she couldn't purchase the tea tray in the gift shop!
The tea tent is just outside the back of the palace, where you can also get cakes and pastries perfect for afternoon tea. Mum and I tried their version of a victoria sponge, mostly because of the golden raspberry. Confession time, it tasted more Mr Kipling than Masterchef! 

But it was part of the experience, and with crown-stamped chocolate /gold-dust you're practically eating ambrosia. Shame about the rope in the background. Nonetheless, as my next post on Matilda the Musical will spotlight, imagination is one of the most powerful things… 

In my royal blue I was feeling quite regal indeed, and every girl deserves her Princess moment. Mums included. 

Have you ever been to Buckingham Palace?

Did you know all shops are closed Sunday Morning?!

What is your favourite breakfast stop in London?

Matthew Crawley (alive) or Prince Harry?
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