We arrived at 12:00pm in South Kensington, and checked into our hotel, which I learned was the former residence of the Earl of Strathmore. Polished chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and the carpet looked like Christmas wrapping paper. Brilliant!
Mom and Dan arrived about an hour later, and it was pure joy and excitement to see them again and in London, of all places! Heading out, we visited the Churchill War Cabinets (fantastic!), Big Ben and Parliament, the V&A and Harrods.
On the same day we walked through the majority of London’s parks.. the sore feet were worth it!
Naturally, I spotted the boutiques where Kate Middleton shops, and I had to take a picture. Within seconds I was thinking like a teenager, obsessed with her idol. (The dialogue in my head went something like this: “OMG, like, totally, Kate Middleton and I have been in the same store!! I wonder what she bought.. like ohmigoddd!!”)
After passing a hip Burberry Britt store, Simon and I came upon a wonderful antique market called, The Apple Market. Located inside Covent Garden, (which by the way really reminded me of South Street Seaport in NYC), the market was a treasure chest full of watches, rings, necklaces, paintings, and the odd kitchen ware. I was really pleased with my antique watch purchase, for the low-low price of ten pounds!
On our last day in London, we had tickets booked for Buckingham Palace, which included (drumroll): Kate’s royal wedding dress! Tears came to my eyes as I entered the palace and set eyes on the grand staircase, and the throne room. Handel’s Zadok the Priest, filled my ears via the audio guide, and visions of the movie The Young Victoria brought the glorious state rooms to life in my head. All the regality, glamour, and history of the English monarchy was represented here in this magical palace.
Then, as if that could possibly be topped, came the dress.
I must have stood for at least 25 minutes, smiling in admiration. Before you enter the ballroom to see the gown, tiara, shoes, earrings, and even the cake, Sarah Burton (the gown’s designer) has a 5 minute video explaining the concept behind the dress, and it’s elaborately detailed construction. If you look closely at the lace, you can see the design incorporates rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock, which are the classic symbols of the British Isles. The design of the gown includes references to Victorian corsetry and bustling, there are weighted panels that help the train maintain its lightness and shape, and (this was shocking) 58 organza covered buttons! In essence, the gown is a nod to the past, as well as the future.
The palace trip was enjoyed by everyone, our only complaint was that we were herded in a very unorganized fashion through high security into the palace. We felt slightly like sheep. In any event, our trip to London was coming to an end after the palace visit, and upon finding a very authentic pub to have a last supper, we clinked our pints together, and sung Merry Poppins on the way home. It was the perfect ending to a wonderfull visit. Thanks to my travel partners for making it so memorable! xx Helen