on August 8, 2012
The past couple of years have been a period of great pomp and circumstance in the UK. 2011 saw the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and 2012 saw the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrating 60 years on the throne. Naturally, the centre of this splendor has been Buckingham palace. The nation and the world witnessed the royal couple on the balcony at the front of the palace echoing the Prince’s parents just less than 30 years before. Because of the recent Royal renaissance and the history in which the palace is steeped, my girlfriend and I decided it would certainly be worth a visit during our trip to London.We made our way to Buckingham palace via Victoria underground station and Buckingham Palace Road. Because of this we approached from the rear. Therefore, our initial view was not so impressive. We passed lots of high walls and intense security before we were able to turn a corner and be greeted by the giant façade of Britain’s most regal building. As part of this approach we were able to pass the royal stables, but these lacked the overt splendor we were in search of.A far more dramatic approach is to walk along the Mall, the road that leads from Trafalgar square to the Palace. This was originally constructed for monarchs to make the journey from the Place to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The Mall is surrounded by lush parks and allows the palace to gradually hone into view, which makes it one of the most spectacular strolls in the world. The mall is also well known as being part of the course for the London Marathon. Sadly, as we visited London just before the Olympics, it was closed as part of the preparations.As you might expect, the façade of Buckingham palace looks impressed on first glance. Not only does it look bigger than it might on TV, the red courtyard at front seems to extend for miles to create a wonderful sense of perspective. The building really is stunning. Despite the scale it is possible to appreciate the detail in the way it was crafted. I also very much enjoyed seeing the guards who were resplendent in the bearskin hats and red tunics (not real bearskin) patrolling outside. We spent a good hour taking hundreds of photos.After quite a bit of walking during the day – we had visited the museum district in Kensington in the morning - I was pretty tired. Therefore, I appreciated the statue and fountain that sits outside the palace and is often circled by the cars of various royals when they are televised at public events. It was great to dip my feet into the cool – although slightly dirty – water to relax whilst gazing at the palace. It is also possible to take a tour of Bucking ham palace. This costs 16GBP and is apparently well worth it. However, as we were on a strict schedule we did not have the time.
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