Lazing Around London

That title may be a bit of a misnomer – I wasn’t THAT lazy today! However, I did have a nice, relaxed day where I didn’t do a heck of a lot. And that’s okay. 🙂

So, first full day in London on this trip. To start the day, I was very happy to not have anything to wake up for. Mind you, I’m not someone who needs (or, generally, wants) to sleep in very late, but it was nice to not have any place to be this morning. Apart from a couple of brief wake-up moments, I didn’t properly wake up until 9a. Glorious! Bill was nearly ready to head out to start his journey to the airport then, so I’m glad I got to see him off. For those curious to know, he made it to the airport just fine and got the fancy business class seat he wanted. Not that I’m jealous, of course. And I’ve already heard from him on the other side – he had a good flight!

With Bill out of the way…I mean, on his way home, I lounged around for a bit before heading into the city. Today was the only dreary, somewhat rainy day of this trip, but that didn’t stop me from going right to Trafalgar Square and snapping a photo as it’s one of the most London-y views for me. As I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I realized I’d never been to Kensington Palace and figured today would be as good a day as any to change that! While definitely smaller than Buckingham Palace, Kensington is still a beautiful home and a nice place to visit with a price tag that’s not too terrible (£16.50/$26 USD). Because this is an actively-lived in (some of the time, at least) royal residence, only the state rooms and old royal apartments are available to be toured, in addition to the gardens and Orangery.

After the palace, I headed straight for Tortilla, a delicious Chipotle-like restaurant chain with a location just across from Charing Cross station. Yes, I realize it’s another chain restaurant, but their food is so tasty that I just don’t care. Plus, it’s not something I can get back home (just like Pizza Express), so that has to count for something! While enjoying my meal there, I did some googling and found my next destination – Westminster Cathedral. Don’t confuse it with Westminster Abbey as this is a completely different church. To be honest, I’d never heard of it before, but it was easy to reach (just down the road from Victoria station), had free entry, and offered a tall observation tower. I was hoping to “get to the church on time” (see what I did there?) to actually use the observation tower, but alas, it was nearly dark when I arrived, so it didn’t feel like it was worth the separate entry fee (£6/$9 USD). If the weather is indeed drier and sunnier than today’s (as the forecast predicts) and I can get there during the day (shouldn’t be a problem), I may make a return visit. Watch this space!

By the time I was done at the church, it was about 5p (it’s getting dark really early right now!) and I hemmed and hawed about what to do next. I considered going to The Who Shop (never been there before!), but they were about to close and then I thought about grabbing a ticket to a West End show, but nothing struck my fancy (and I didn’t find any deals anyway), so I just decided to call it an early night and head home. I do intend to hit up The Who Shop tomorrow and I may end up catching the 230p matinee of The Book of Mormon as well. We shall see! I do know I’d like to get back home somewhat early tomorrow night, both so I can get all my stuff together and also so I can get up stupid early on Thursday morning for my flight. I have to be up before 5a so I can get showered and to the train station in time for my flight. Ugh. Such is the travelin’ life!

Ready for pictures?

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Trafalgar Square – a perennial favorite for me.

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I hadn’t taken any pictures of Underground signs yet, so naturally I had to fix that.

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Ditto for directional signs, so I snapped this picture on the way to Kensington Palace.

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Swans swimming around in front of the palace.

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This well-known statue of Queen Victoria looks out over the palace grounds and was designed by Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise.

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Kensington Palace. And of course, there’s scaffolding on it!

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Bust.

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One of the many very well-done ceiling paintings inside the palace.

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An example of a dress the women of the aristocracy wore in the mid-late 1700s.

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The King’s Staircase.

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One of the dresses worn by Princess Margaret, on display in the palace as part of a fashion exhibition.

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The Queen’s Staircase, which had softer features (carpet) and shorter steps as compared to the King’s Staircase.

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Fireplace in the queen’s apartments.

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The bed in the queen’s bedchamber.

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There wasn’t much to see in the gardens at this time of year, but this green space was great!

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The glockenspiel in Leicester Square, which was previously inside the Swiss Centre that was torn down several years ago.

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Lots happening in Leicester Square at the moment. Definitely not a place you can sit and relax right now!

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Westminster Cathedral.

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Looking towards the main altar just inside the cathedral entrance.

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Very colorful altarpiece from one of the side chapels inside the cathedral.

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A closer shot of the main altar.

So there we are – a (relatively) quiet day in London. As compared to the rest of this trip, I’m getting to bed early tonight, so I expect to get an earlier start to my last day here tomorrow. See you then!

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel and horror. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey of travel and horror (though not necessarily in that order).