As the sun dawned on the 30thof September, the final day of the month, the feeling sunk in that today was going to be our “final” day in London. First, the pangs of regret poured within my heart: “What if we could have gone to one more place to make the trip more fulfilling?”
Well, in the next moment, I remembered that we were going to return in a mere 8 days! All the things I wished I could have done, I would be able to do, when we returned! No more pangs of regret after that!
Post-recovery, we made our way out of our hotel and double-checked our planned itinerary. On the sightseeing platter for the day was the following: Kensington Palace, the Thames River Cruise and a bunch of small museums (such as the Guards Museum)!
Excited, we set off for our first stop of the day: Kensington Palace. But before that, we marvelled at the (nearly) autumn foliage on display at the park where Kensington Palace is located!
(This looks as if it would fit right in with an emotional scene from a rom-com! Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating a little, but it still looks gorgeous!)
After soaking and breathing in the sights and smells, we approached the entrance for Kensington Palace. They have an elegant-looking statue of Queen Victoria plonked right in front of the entrance!
(Gotta get that shot of the folks in front of a star attraction (not to mention, Queen Victoria as well)!)
At the entrance, though there was a similar situation to the Churchill War Rooms, whereby there were separate walk-in and timed ticket queues, we managed to get in rather quickly – even though we were only a couple minutes early!
Inside Kensington Palace reside three wings, one featuring Princess Diana and her many dresses, one where the Queen stayed and the King’s State Apartments! Let the “tour” begin!
(The resplendent décor which envelops “The King’s Grand Staircase” simply adds to the sense of grandeur!)
(One of the first rooms we entered just seems right at home, well, in a Palace! What some people might not know if that Kensington Palace was where the Kings and Queens used to live at, before they shifted to Buckingham Palace. Given the sheer popularity of Buckingham Palace, especially obvious when we went for the Changing of Guards, one can be forgiven for thinking that the royals only ever lived at Buckingham Palace!)
(In the same room lies a large clock, with a map of the United Kingdom and surrounding states. London lies right smack in the centre, as if the Brits were subtly hinting how the world revolved around them. Or maybe I’m seeing details that aren’t there! Maybe…)
(This is just one of the many murals that lie on the ceilings of Kensington Palace! I wonder what it depicts? Apologies in advance for the dearth of information on the paintings, I’m simply not one who knows how to truly enjoy Art very much!)
(This one probably depicts interaction between man and God?)
(Ah, this one I know more about! The male elite used to don such garments when attending royal events. The very materials used for the piece made it clear that the person wearing it was affluent, as not everyone could afford to make such a beautiful piece of clothing!)
(And this is what the women wore! Notice how the skirt seems very flat? Well, it is! The flat surface allowed other courtiers (people who went to royal events) to appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of the silk dress! The fact that it so wide also bolsters the fact that someone of great wealth wore such a dress!)
(A precious piece of royal jewellery! Previously belonging to the famous Queen Victoria, these pieces were created for an event which celebrated her husband, Prince Albert’s appointment as chancellor!)
(A dollhouse which the children who roamed the halls of the palace used to play with!)
(Just one of the many famous dresses which Princess Diana wore!)
Wrapping up our time at Kensington Palace, we trawled the gift shop in search for some nice souvenirs. If you come here with a London Pass, you’ll be pleased to discover (like we were), that it entitles you to a discount on the gift shop items!
Riding on the high which came with viewing such a majestic place, we were quickly mildly disappointed – well more of me than my family really – that since we went to St Paul’s Cathedral on a Sunday, the entire day was devoted to worship. I really wanted to climb the 528 steps to take in a supposedly amazing view! Well, more for the next time I come to London, I suppose! (Since this was a paid attraction which we could have gone for free with the London Pass, we decided not to waste our money coming back here again when we arrived back in London over a week later.)
Keen to satisfy our rumbling tummies with some quality food, we hopped over to Padella, the most famous restaurant at Borough Market (which was closed; wow, Sunday is really a bummer day for some tourist attractions huh?). It’s so popular, by the time we sat down, they were close to shuttering for the day! We spent an hour and a half in the queue!
(Our “really hungry, yet happy” faces while waiting for the food)
(My plate! Pappardelle with 8 hours Dexter beef shin ragu! It tasted just lovely, if a little uninspiring.)
(The mum’s choice! Stracci with sweet onion, thyme and gorgonzola fonduta! It was quite pleasing and interesting, much more vivid than mine!)
(The dad’s pasta! Pici cacao and pepe! Don’t be fooled by its simple looks, it was the best-tasting of the bunch!)
(After filling our tummies, we made our way to this shop selling kitchen goods at Borough Market – aptly called “Borough Kitchen”. They have some high-end stuff here! I bet my friend Jonathan, an avid cook would simply love this place!)
(Having gotten rather tired after the walk around Kensington Palace and a heavy lunch, we decided, rather impromptu, to take the Thames River Cruise that came with our London Pass! We boarded at Tower Pier, heading towards Westminster. Come take a look at what we saw along while aboard!)
(First up, the Shard, which we went to the day before, and the HMS Belfast right in front!)
(The Tower Bridge! Talking about this, I suddenly remember how, when we were on the Bus Tour, we had to wait more than 45 minutes while the Tower Bridge platforms were raised to let a tall boat pass through. Let me give you a tip, if you don’t want to waste your time like we did, you can check when the bridge platforms are going to be raised! Or you can use it to get that photo/timelapse video of the platforms rising!)
(If you can look closely, you can spot Shakespeare’s Globe!)
(The Tate Modern! Being the art-adverse individual I am, I decided against visiting this while in London.)
(The aptly named Vase!)
(Cleopatra’s Needle! It was made around 1450BC and gifted to Britain in 1810 by Egyptian leader Muhammad Ali Pasha)
(A rather self-explanatory “Pub on the Thames”!)
(The London Eye! With Singapore having the largest observation wheel in the world, we saw no need or value to spend money to get aboard it!)
(Capping off our river cruise, was a rather shy Big Ben, so shy in fact, that we could barely make it out as Big Ben! The giveaway was that it was near the Houses of Parliament and well, that huge clock face!)
To cap off our trip, we made a visit to the Household Calvary Museum, which I do not really recommend, unless you do like dressing up!
(We look so goofy, with the costumes being either too big or too small for us!)
Well that ends our time in London, for now!
Next stop, Paris, the City of Love!