We set out today, a sunny but very windy morning, off for St Paul's Cathedral, but before we got to the tube, we were stopped by this view at the fountains by Marlborough Gate of Kensington Park - what light on the clouds! Photos had to be taken of course...
Kensington Gardens in the morning light
When we got to St Paul's around 10:15am, there were police everywhere, and signs that there was going to be a 12:30 memorial service for victims of Hurricane Katrina, so no tourists inside until after 2pm. I've never seen inside St Paul's myself, so we'll try again tomorrow...
St Paul's Cathedral from the side - the giant dome
I wanted to try seeing the Nelson Funeral Flotilla re-enactment that was scheduled to row under the Westminster Bridge around 1pm, so I suggested Westminster Abbey. Good timing on our part, since when we left the abbey just in time to get to the flotilla, there was a huge line to get into the abbey! Ben was frustrated no photos allowed inside again, but that's the way it goes. My favorites are Shakespeare and Handel, since both memorials have actual words on a carved scroll for Shakespeare, and real music & lyrics on Handel's. :)
The Front Entrance of Westminster Abbey (the exit on the tour)
I don't have any still photos of the flotilla since I was videotaping the entire time. It was late, and it was VERY windy so I was just about freezing, but we did get to see the whole thing. The original funeral flotilla was 200 years ago, and this is the first time it has ever been re-enacted, so I thought it was great we had the chance to see it.
We strolled down Whitehall, eating at a little cheap cafe along the way since all the pubs were full to bursting, to Trafalgar Square, where since I was in a skirt I did not brave climbing up to sit by the gigantic lions, but Ben climbed up for a few photos.
Trafalgar Square from Whitehall
After that, it was already 3pm, so we decided to hightail it over to the British Museum so we could still make it to Kensington Palace before it closed. We finally saw the Rosetta Stone and made our gift shop purchases we had eyed before when we had been evacuated from the museum with everyone else the other day.
The REAL Rosetta Stone! Can you read it? ;)
We made it in the wind over to Kensington Palace by 4pm, getting through all the exhibits before they closed at 6pm, including many dresses of the Queen's as well as Princess Diana's, plus royal apartments that hadn't been seen by the public until 2004. No, Diana's apartments are not open to the public since they are still used by the royal family we were told.
The rear of Kensington Palace
Thankfully we were very near our hotel, since even after the burst of energy from Ben's squirrel attack (see his blog!) our feet needed breaks plus we had purchases to drop off. Then came the decision what to do for dinner. My only requirement was that we not stay in our hotel room from 9pm on a Friday night! Ben tried choosing some possible restaurants in the Notting Hill area, so we started walking, but alas, the place closed a year ago. After at least an hour of strolling we started back the way we came, then ended up at a French/Italian/Lebanese restaurant that was very good, so all's well that ends well. Since no Addlestones tonight, I've already told Ben I'm insisting on one last pint at the Windsor Castle pub sometime on Saturday! ;)
We'll try St Paul's again tomorrow for sure, hopefully check out the Portobello Road market, then see what else we can fit in our schedule...until then!