If you have visited a train station over the past few months, I would be surprised if you had not seen the huge posters advertising the Summer opening of Buckingham Palace. As I switch platforms every morning on my daily commute, I pass the angelic looking Princess Elizabeth with her younger sister, the Princess Margaret riding their rocking horse. We get this glorious insight into their lives as this year the Palace’s exhibition is on Royal Childhood.
When I found out that my friend Philippe was flying over from Canada, I knew that a trip to the Palace would be the quintessential English day out.
First on the list was the Royal Mews. A little bit down the road from the Palace are the Royal Stables that house the iconic carriages, cars, and horses that all are used for iconic, national occasions.
The Queens Gallery is in between the Mews and the Palace and currently displays the exhibition The First Georgians. If like me, you don’t know much about art in this period, you may not be able to appreciate it as much who someone who does.
I fell in love with the term Wunderkammer which means cabinet of curiosities. Queen Caroline was fond of such cabinets and filled them with natural wonders and small objects made of exotic materials.
Photography is prohibited in the state apartments. I was a little underwhelmed by the entrance hall, I thought the ceilings were too low. However the Grand Staircase is spectacular and makes up for it. Buckingham House was gradually enlarged into the Palace by the Georgian Kings and is therefore relatively new compared to other royal residences. This is why a lot of the interiors appear quite similar as the Palace doesn’t have the same extensive history as somewhere such as Windsor for example. Don’t get me wrong, the State Apartments are impressive, I just found other residences more interesting as there is far more variety in their interior design.
The Royal Childhood exhibition was adorable, my favourite being the typical art piece seen on a parent’s fridge, signed ‘Prince Charles’ in scrawled writing on the bottom.
Outside the Palace is a quaint café, albeit a tad expensive but what do you expect from a major tourist attraction? Continuing with indulging Philippe in everything English we ordered a scone with strawberries and cream, and profiteroles which looked too delicious to refuse.
Once stuffed with afternoon treats we chose to wander through the gardens. You have to keep to one path but it is well worth doing as it is a very pretty walk considering you are in central London and gives great glimpses back of the Palace.
As a day out, the whole shebang is pretty pricey. The Palace is worth it but I’d recommend going as out of peak time as possible (which is difficult considering its only open over the Summer) but as its open till the end of September, perhaps now is a better time than mid August. The Mews I wouldn’t revisit and the Gallery, I guess you just go if you like the look of the exhibition. I’m looking forward to the next one which is simply called Gold, it starts November time if you’re interested.