Home > Vacation > London – Day 2: Kensington Palace

London – Day 2: Kensington Palace

October 19, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

My first full day was going to be very busy. The concert started at 7:30, so I had a firm deadline to meet. My plan was somewhat ambitious: Kensington Palace in the morning and Windsor Castle in the afternoon. With so much to do, I needed a decent breakfast. Hotel breakfasts are usually obscenely expensive and I wanted to get out more, so I walked the short distance to Patisserie Valerie and ordered the Full English Breakfast (sorry for the quality; new phone is much better).

Breakfast

Added a latte as well, since I was a bit short on sleep.

Latte

The US could definitely stand to learn something from the UK here.

Kensington Palace

My new best friend, Victoria Station

My new best friend, Victoria Station (a small portion)

A quick ride on Circle line to High Street Kensington got me to where I needed to be. More or less. It was still a half-mile walk to the palace.

Kensington High Street - This is what I expect London to look like.

Kensington High Street – This is what I expected London to look like.

I must admit to being a bit fuzzy on the history of the palace. I purchased the Official Illustrated History while there, but at over 120 pages, it will take awhile to read. Kensington has been used as one of the residences of the Royal Family. Most recently, it was the home of Princess Diana and is now occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate).

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

The current exhibit is, Fashion Rules, featuring dresses from “HM Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales.” Admittedly, not really up my alley. But with not much else to see, I took many photos. My 6D SLR and 24-70 lens came through in shining fashion here, as it was very dark. There were a few dresses that did look familiar, mostly the ones from Princess Diana.

Princess Dianna dress from 1991.

Princess Dianna dress from 1991.

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens

Covering 270 acres, the park requires more time than I had to commit. However, I did want to see the Albert and Diana memorials. The Albert Memorial is about half a mile from the palace. It is huge! Wiki states it is 176 feet tall, 15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty without its base. This memorial of Prince Albert was commissioned by Queen Victoria after his death in 1861.

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

Note the size of the people compared to the memorial:

The Albert Memorial

The Albert Memorial

The memorial is seated directly across the street from Royal Albert Hall.

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

One of the best things about spring is of course the flowers, but I did not expect to see cherry blossom trees, too! Unlike say, Crape Myrtles, cherry blossoms only flower for a couple of weeks. It was pure luck I was there to witness this. This was easily the highlight of the morning.

Cherry blossom trees

Cherry blossom trees

It was very peaceful and not crowded at all, which made it even more perfect. To top it off, an occasional wind would blow blossoms off. That’s a hard experience to capture, but I am pleased with the photo, nonetheless.

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms!

I also spotted a very large bird. It took some stalking to get a photo if it. Apparently it is just a Common Pheasant, but having never seen one before, I was still excited.

Common Pheasant

Common Pheasant

Finally, I walked to the Diana Memorial. I will say it’s not what I expected at all, and leave it at that.

Diana Memorial Fountain

Diana Memorial Fountain

Faced with a choice of stations, I took the long walk back to High Street Kensington. This was maybe not the best choice, because it took a long time. I probably should have taken advantage of the bike-share program, assuming I can still ride one; that was a longer time ago. But I made it and proceeded on to Paddington to catch the train (a real train!) to Windsor.

London telephone booth

Granted, this wasn’t the most interesting stop. While the park is great, it is probably not a typical tourist attraction. I wish we had something like this in Austin, though. There’s dozens more photos in the gallery and they definitely look better there than the tiny ones here in the blog. Especially the cherry blossoms!

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