Thursday, 28 April 2011

A grand day out

We're very lucky to live only a short train ride from London - all the benefits of village life with the opportunity to see the city when we can. On Easter Monday we decided to be tourists for the day and headed down to have a look at the preparations for the Royal Wedding tomorrow. We thought a good plan might be to start at Buckingham Palace and walk the route, along with many many other people who had the same idea!

The first thing we noticed was the stunningly large TV presence - I was expecting cameras but for some reason the scale of it all amazed me.

I did feel like a bad mother when my little ones told us we'd never taken them to see the Palace before - we've done museums galore but not "the sights". Time to set that right with a look at the balcony - and an explanation that the next time they see it on TV there will be lots of people in big hats standing on it.

We had a quick whizz round the Royal Mews to look at the horses and carriages and take bets as to which coach will be used - I'm pretty sure it won't be one of these:

or this one (though the girls think it should be!)

A march down a refreshingly traffic free Mall took us to Horseguards Parade where even our equine companions were suffering from hay fever. (Did I mention the pollen? And the dust? Blimey.)

We tried to show the girls 10 Downing Street - and I'll show my age my revealing that one of my earliest memories is of being taken to stand outside the house itself where I'm sure my parents gave me exactly the same serious description of its importance as we gave our girls. I think they took about as much notice as I did ...

Can you believe we've never even taken them to see Big Ben? What kind of monsters are we?!

And then what was, for me, the highlight - going in to Westminster Abbey which I have not done since I was a teenager taking a German pen pal to see the sights. It is a glorious place - the building itself is stunning but it's filled with so many gems - and we were lucky enough to be shown some extra special highlights by a friendly verger - he allowed the girls to climb through the Queen's own special door to her seat in the choir stalls (complete with embroidered booster cushions) , showed us Dick Whittington and his cat in one of the stained glass windows and even let us under the rope in front of Isaac Newton's memorial to show us the details of the carving you can normally only see from 20 feet away. Be still, my beating geek heart!

Sadly no photography allowed inside, but when we see this shot from these cameras on Friday, we can say - we were there! The girls said it was their "best day ever". It was certainly one to remember.


To those of you who are planning to watch, have a lovely day - we have our wedding feast planned! - and I hope that those of you who have no interest in it can spend the day doing something you enjoy too.

32 comments:

  1. We shall be watching and yes Em and I did a similar thing last week. It was so busy it was difficult to move.
    Jane x

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  2. I will be watching! I hope you will all have a wonderful day!

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  3. I cannot wait (such a wedding saddo!). I have even contrived to rid myself of the boys so I can cry without anyone laughing at me.

    Roll on Friday

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  4. Great that you did the sights before the crowds descended and you really did do the sights - what a lot you packed into one day! Will be watching tomorrow with Amy and drinking tea and juice in our commemorative mugs. Enjoy the feast you have planned.

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  5. What a fun day! Love all the pics. Very much looking forward to tomorrow!

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  6. Eldest used to have a thing about Big Ben. The last time I was there I took a photo for her and took it home - she'd grown out of it. Pah.

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  7. Must do a sightseeing trip to London. You've talked me into it. Got the bunting up and a wee street party planned on the pavement for tomorrow afternoon. The blinking council didn't get back to us about a proper do in time. Have a great weekend, Ax

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  8. What a super day, you have really set the scene for your girls. It will make tomorrow all the more interesting because they can now relate to all the places they will see over and over again! Have a great celebration, I will be raising my glass too.
    Jenny x

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  9. I am going to show my age, too: I remember walking up Downing Street and looking at the door - the father of a friend of mine worked at the Foreign Office and we just wandered around and were taken into the Foreign Office and up some big stairs - no security at all it seemed! It's a bit sad about the gate now - it made quite an impression on me as a teenager, actually see where it all happened!

    Pomona x

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  10. Oh what a wonderful Grand Day Out! And how lucky to see all the extra bits in Westminster Abbey. Happy Royal Wedding!

    K x

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  11. It is often the case we never visit what is on our doorstep. I am going to take a peek and eat a cupcake with a union jack flag but mostly I will be gardening!
    have fun
    love
    Lyn
    xxx

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  12. Oh, you lucky girl! I LOVE London. I didn't know you could tour the Royal Mews -- note to self for next trip. Thanks for sharing your pictures -- how fun. Not really sure what I think about the Eye peeking out behind that beautiful old building though -- definitely mixed feelings. Wedding coverage starts at 4 a.m. here, with the big event at 6 a.m. I could watch an hour before I go to work, but I'm recording it so I can watch in all it's glory! ;-)

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  13. what a great day out! I was rather mortified last year when we took our two for their first ever trip to London, all the sights were firmly associated with Dr Who episodes, I think E was actually suprised there wasn't a big hole in Big Ben where a spaceship crashed into it!

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  14. Wow - you've walked the route! This is the kind of trip your girls will always remember. Isaac Newton's memorial? Now you've got me excited.

    Thanks for your lovely lovely messages yesterday. How are you fixed next week?

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  15. Sounds like you had a lovely day! I'm ashamed to say my children have never been to London at all let alone to see the sights! One day I'll take them there.........I think! Lucy xx

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  16. As we watched today Stewart admitted he's never been inside Westminster Abbey and I've not been since I was a child (so obviously didn't take my children!)Something on the list!

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  17. Don't feel bad, I haven't taken my kiddies to London yet either :-( The thought of taking a 10, 9 & 3 year old kind of scares me, trying to get the pushchair onto the undergroudn etc etc.

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  18. what a lovely day.

    Must take the boys to London again...

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  19. Oh, thank you for sharing this! It's almost as good as having been with you. ALMOST. Speaking of which, next year's Chelsea Flower Show, anyone???

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  20. We didn't make it to the big smoke on our last trip back to the UK, but I look forward to showing my children all the sights. They were gripped with Royal Wedding fever yesterday and I shed a tear or two, partly homesick for all the pomp and ceremony and partly because it was just seemed such a wonderful, happy occasion!

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  21. What a fantastic day! London has do much to offer. The Abbey is one of my favourite places, so much to see there, never gets old. Sounds like you had a wonderful guide. Now you just have to book in another visit to see the Tower, Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum, Kew, The V&A.............:)

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  22. I have been promising a trip to London for ages. Will have to follow through soon I think.

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  23. We really enjoyed doing the sights when we visited in the autumn, so many striking and wonderful buildings, my daughter liked Big Ben best.

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  24. What a wonderful day out! I am sure the girls will talk about it for a long time to come! Wasn't The Royal Wedding wonderful? I keep watching it over an over and love it each and every time!

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  25. Aww, what a great idea. We haven't taken the boys to do the sights yet, maybe it's something we should do this summer?

    Last time we went was on the Anti Iraq war demo - which Jonny (4 at the time) thought was the queue for the London eye. It would have been a bloody big queue, as we were on the North bank!

    He's 14 this summer. Must. Try. Harder.

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  26. I live in Austalia and can't imagine how wonderful it must be so see such amazing sights locally. You are very blessed xxBrenda

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  27. Oh, what fun... How I miss London! Still basking in the glow of the Royal Wedding...*swoon*... ;o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

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  28. Such a beautiful city -- I'm dying to go there someday! I loved watching the wedding and sharing in your country's celebration, and I don't care what some folks might say, I think the pomp and circumstance and tradition are wonderful and even reassuring somehow, in this ever changing crazy world of ours.
    Blessings,
    GG

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  29. I've just popped by to say hello Val.When you came to the shop with Gina I hadn't realised you were Dotty Cookie. It was lovely to meet you. I love you DNA post.

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  30. Looks like you had a lovely day!
    I am very impressed with your jewelry-making, Mrs.DottyCookie, especially the DNA strand :-)

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  31. Oh, I'm dying to go to London some day. Such a beautiful city!
    Blessings,
    GG

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