Mon 1 Oct to Sat Oct 6
Palaces are where Kings and Queens lived, and we visited two of the biggest in the UK: Buckingham Palace (which is quite new in the current design) and Blenheim Palace.
Blenheim was where the Dukes of Marlborough were born and there were many famous members of the family over the years – all connected with war. The Ist Duke won the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 – a famous fight with the French. He was given the land as a gift from the King and built a huge palace and massive gardens and even a man-made lake. Winston Churchill was related to the (later) Duke and was born and got married at Blenheim Palace. There were lots of exhibitions relating to Churchill and his role in WWII.
The next day was something we had booked up before we came: a tour of Buckingham Palace. (Mum and Dad told us they have been here before, to a party years before we were born.) We took Grandma with us and, because she is disabled, we were allowed to drive in and park on the front courtyard inside the Palace gates (lots of people outside must have wondered who we were).
The Palace is amazing. You aren’t allowed to take photos. so Mum told us how to ‘take pictures with our eyes’ – where you stare at something for ages, looking at all the details, so you can recall it later. The Grand Ballroom is where they knight people and give out the medals – it is massive and had these huge chandeliers. There are about 9 of them, and they are 11 foot tall and have 160 light globes each. Each of the rooms has a name, such as the White Room, the Green Room, East Gallery, etc. There are so many valuable paintings. Mum said to remember that we have seen a Rembrandt up close.
We had lunch in the garden. Not with the Queen, because she was out for the day, but just us and the other visitors. Ed and I were cold, and one of the staff brought two of the Palace uniform capes for us to wear to keep warm while we ate our lunch. People kept looking at us. I think they thought we were really young to be on the staff! (We gave the capes back as soon as we finished lunch) Then we went to the Leonardo da Vinci anatomy exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery while Dad and Grandma did the Garden Tour. (Ed took a lot of notes in the Da Vinci exhibition. What’s he planning?)
Afterwards, Dad took us on the Tube (London Underground) on the Jubilee Line from Westminster (near Big Ben and Parliament) to Canary Wharf and to near where the Olympics were held a couple of weeks ago. Dad was one of the engineers responsible for building the new Jubilee Line stations. Canary Wharf was a place of big skyscrapers and lots of new buildings.
Then we came back to Holland Park and met up with Grandma and Mum, and then we went to JC’s restaurant again and had another great meal!
It was an exciting week, but had a sad end as Dad had to fly home on Saturday, because he goes back to work next week.
We are staying on with Mum for another three weeks and she has promised some more exciting things to see and do….