“Let’s do London” says the TV ad …. That’s just what my partner and I did last weekend!
With international travel still fraught with restrictions, it’s a great opportunity to rediscover London and see the places that we’d been meaning to visit. We even triumphed over the dire weather forecast for thunderstorms which failed to materialise!
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace was one of the places I always wanted to see but never got round to it. Thanks to my daughter’s organisation, I was able to explore this wondrous place on a sunny afternoon with very few people around due to the pre-booking system!
Once passed The Tudor Great Gatehouse, I was enveloped by a sense of history and the dramas associated with the flamboyant life of Henry VIII …. and the brutality of medieval history.
Henry VIII’s Kitchens
After going through a few arches, the buildings, magnificent though they were, began to look like … Not so Henry VIII’s Kitchens! It’s huge, interesting and different. I especially liked the little room with the projected images of what looked like clerks at the office
Henry’s Great Hall
The chapel Royal
The ceiling of The Chapel Royal is an amazing work of art
The new palace on the south front built for King William III and Queen Mary II
This part of the the palace is totally different from the Tudor style in the front.
The Lower Orangery Garden & Terrace
These gardens opposite the Orangery were not open to the public, but what lovely views they were to behold!
The King’s staircase – an ostentatious display of extravagant splendour!!
We certainly saved the best till last visiting William’s III’s State Apartments at the end of an exhausting couple of hours. I reckon it would take a whole day to fully appreciate this magnificent palace and its grounds! However I was well contented with what I saw!
There’s nothing special about this park, except that we parked the car there while visiting Hampton Court Palace. What’s amazing was to see deer grazing happily on the grass in a London park, oblivious to passers-by and people stopping to take photos!
Morning walk along the Thames at Richmond
It was not as bright and sunny the next day. Despite the leaden sky, it was a very pleasant walk through the park to the Thames at Richmond for breakfast on a Saturday morning with few people around
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral was our main event of the day and thankfully the day brightened up! ! It was great to finally visit the cathedral after passing by it so many times over so many years!
The exteriors were as imposing as ever – an iconic and familiar sight in London
But the interiors left me speechless! It’s amazing and awesome, absolutely stunning, especially the ceiling!!
London skyline from the Stone Gallery of St Paul’s Cathedral
After spending considerable time at the crypt, we climbed the 376 steps to the Stone Gallery. We would have gladly climbed 152 more steps to Gold Gallery at the very top. Unfortunately with only 8 people at the time being allowed up and a long queue waiting, we were told that the viewing at the top was finished for the day. We had to content with admiring the amazing skyline of London from the Stone Gallery
Spot the iconic buildings!
There’re a lot of building work going on, so perhaps the skyline will change again in a couple of years!
Random words around St Paul’s Cathedral
On leaving St Paul’s Cathedral to go towards Millennium Bridge, some bright yellow random words appeared!
Apparently there’re other words, which I didn’t have time to find out, that make up the question: “What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?” But I reckon my version of “You are what you are” is more philosophical!!
It’s amazing that the bridge has already been open to the public for over 20 years and it’s the first time I walked across it! Again the view from it was dominated by the Shard!
We planned to have a drink at the Hutong Bar and admire the views from up thereafter our visit to St Paul’s . It normally required no reservation but we were told that there were 2 private parties there so we couldn’t go in. And by this time all the tickets for the viewing deck was fully booked. Oh well, there’s always the next time! We had to make do with having a drink at a nearby pub.
It was the first Saturday of the school summer holidays; there were a lot of people enjoying drinks and refreshment outdoors again. It’s great to see life returning to some sort of normality.
Athenaeum Hotel in Piccadilly
To round off our lovely weekend in London, we had a pre-booked 5-course tasting dinner at Athenaeum Hotel. The food was great and the portion size not intimidatingly large!!
There were a lot of photo opportunities in London as expected. However, to traipse around London for a day, sensible shoes, albeit a little incongruous with a dress, were a must!!