I am lucky to be able to get up to Victoria within 30 minutes from my local railway station. Buckingham Palace is only a few minutes walk from the station.
I arranged to meet my Mum and my Aunt at Victoria at 10.15 am so that we would have plenty of time to arrive for our 10.45am slot at the Palace, they are all timed tickets.
As we made our way past the gates of the Palace we saw lot of a adverts for the opening of the State Rooms. It was very busy in the area.
Eventually we found our way to the correct gate and then had to queue to get through security.
Once through security obviously (sadly) we were unable to take any further photos so I will give a written guide to what I saw.
Everyone was given a free audio guide which worked really well as it kept the crowds moving all the time. Several of the State rooms in all their glory were open to the public. We entered and walked up the red carpet of the main staircase. Even the decoration of the bannister's were dripping gold leaf and intricate designs. One of my favourite rooms was the Throne Room where the formal photos of William and Kate's wedding were. The decoration in there was just magical.
After meandering through the opulence of the different reception rooms we arrived at where "The Dress" was on display. There was almost a hush from the crowd as we approached. Then everyone seemed to gasp. The dress is in the centre of the room with special netting around to protect it. In the flesh it is just stunning. The detail of the back of the dress which has folds like a flower bud are wonderful. Every piece of lace was made by hand and stitched on by hand. It is a very pale ivory colour. The needlewoman used new needles every 3 hours to keep them sharp. Also on display was Kate's diamond tiara, a replica of her flowers, her diamond earrings and her lace covered shoes. I was surprised to see that she wore very high heels for the day...."killer heels" as my daughter would describe them. The same lace was used on the shoes as on her dress.
Through in the next room was their wedding cake which I thought was as spectacular as the dress and a joy to see. Here is a link to it. As a fellow cake maker I could see the skill in making all those wonderful flowers in sugar paste. The attention to detail was phenomenal.17 different flowers and leaves were included which all had special meanings in the "Language of flowers".
After finishing our tour we were able to sit outside and have lunch in the garden cafe, and also take some photos!
With my zoom I managed to get a photo of one of the chandeliers through an open window. The lights were an exhibition all of their own. They sparkled brilliantly and were so large they hung like huge dripping waterfalls of gems from the ceilings.
On the left below is the garden cafe where we enjoyed some lunch. I had a smoked salmon bagel, cup of tea and.................
No less than Buckingham Palace strawberry ice cream....yum!
We then were able to stroll round the footpath of some of the garden towards the shop
We then headed further round the garden and enjoyed some splendid views of the back of the Palace.
and some of the garden and the lake..
So what did I bring home...well I bought the post card which I have shown a photo of at the very beginning of this post, here is it's reverse...a "real" Royal postcard..
and as I bought a CK tea towel at the time of the wedding I though I would buy one at the Palace too.
It's very pretty and will also be useful, I do like souvenirs that I can actually enjoy using. Much better than something sitting in a cabinet or hidden away.
If you get a chance, do go to see "The Dress", it is worth the time. One other thing, if you buy your tickets on line and "gift aid" the money (if you are a UK tax Payer) you can get your ticket stamped at the exit and it becomes a whole year pass. Seriously.....I can go back again, as many times as I want, before 18th August 2012. My daughter really wanted to come today but work commitments stopped her. However I can now wait until she can take a day off and I can go back with her before the exhibition shuts in October. I can also go again when the State rooms re open next Summer, how good is that?
I hope you enjoyed you visit with me. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, we're nearly there again. It's been quite dull weather wise this week here in Surrey. We are off to a family and soon to be "In Laws" barbecue on Saturday. It will be fun, what ever the weather.
Enjoy your weekend and thanks always for your visits and comments.
Bye for now,