Andrew Abbott's Blog

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Queen’s Palace Bucks the trend.

To London last weekend which is something of a departure for us these days. There was a time when I went to the capital as much as I could and saw my future there or if not possibly Nottingham. Anything to get away from parochial Lincoln. I wouldn’t thank you these days and of course Lincoln has certainly pulled itself up by the boot straps these last few years. Now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

However it’s still nice to visit London for the day (Nottingham too for that matter) and it’s so convenient from Newark Northgate particularly if you live to the south of the city. If you book early enough first class travel is doable and makes a slightly decadent day of it. You get fed on the train too.

The occasion was a visit to look round Buckingham Palace followed by afternoon tea at the Grosvenor Hotel which was bought as a present. I like having a Monarchy though I’m not an ardent Royalist but, having been round Windsor Castle and Sandringham House a visit to the London home of the Queen appealed. As The Palace is where most visiting heads of state are entertained by the Queen I was full of enthusiasm.

We arrived at the station, a mere fifteen minutes from home, tickets bought well in advance to secure the best price. We were soon speeding south scoffing our breakfast. Kings Cross station is such an experience to arrive at since it was refurbished at great expense. We’re not regular visitors but knew the drill, it was straight to the machines to get one day travelcards. I showed my ignorance by remarking there were no manned booths at the Underground. I do remember the uproar when they were done away with come to think of it.

We had a bit of time to spare so it was Harrods first to marvel at the er prices. Somehow we ended up at Jimmy Choo. I can’t think why. My personal favourite is the food hall. I could spend all day in there but the Palace awaited.

We were delighted that the tour started at the actual point where the carriages and cars drop off their passengers and we had seen this so many times on TV it felt a real occasion to actually be at the spot where visitors are greeted.
The interiors are sumptuous to say the least and visiting heads of state are left in no doubt what a historic and important place this little island of ours is. The tour is made all the more relevant by the fact that this is a working environment as well as the home of the Queen. Most visits to stately homes are snapshots of the past. Not this one.

You float through the place almost in a dream to be honest, fabulous furniture and paintings as far as the eye can see. Of particular interest, to the ladies in particular, is a large exhibition of the Queens outfits over the years. There was a considerable crush there.

Onward to a glimpse of the salon where the Queen holds audiences and I could just imagine our nervous new Prime Minister meeting the Queen for the first time in there just a few days earlier. A stroll round the garden completes the tour. This will be the nearest I get to a Palace garden party that’s for sure.

On to the Grosvenor, just down Buckingham Palace Road, for our tea and a very grand occasion that was too before a stroll round curiously car free streets, closed for the Ride London event and then a pint and glass of wine in the pub at Kings Cross Station. Very nicely done out with railway memorabilia. £9.90. Get me back to Lincolnshire as soon as possible!

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