Westminster


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The most well-known portion of the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on the Buckingham Palace grounds. But this is just the middle part of the ceremony, and the hardest to watch due to the crowds that form well in advance. Better views can be had of the guards marching to and from St. James’ Palace and Wellington Barracks before and after the ceremony. And you might also catch the Queen’s Life Guard riding horseback en route to their own Changing of the Guard ceremony.

With snow falling on London, we spent much of the day in Westminster. There we watched the Changing of the Guard, visited the excellent Churchill War Rooms museum, and passed 10 Downing Street. And not to have too much fun, we capped of the day with a visit to the ophthalmologist.

Below are trip highlights from February 26th in London, UK. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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Snow

Snow started falling around 8am this morning and by 9:30 was starting to build up on the boats and the walkways. St. Katharine Docks looks beautiful with a dusting of snow.
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Spitfire

Spitfire out on the boat deck eating snow. He eventually gets annoyed by constantly having to shake the snow off his paws, but otherwise quite likes being out in it.
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Buckingham Palace

At Buckingham Palace about an hour before the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. The crowds already are building on this February morning, despite near-freezing temperatures. It must be crazy busy in the height of summer.
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St. James’ Palace

The off-watch Queen’s Guard soldiers, wearing their grey winter coats, in Friary Court at St. James’s Palace a few blocks from Buckingham Palace. The guards work in two-hour shifts, with those off-watch stationed here.
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Pipers

Pipers leading the off-watch Queen’s guard soldiers from Friary Court at St. James’s Palace to Buckingham Palace.
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Guard

The off-watch Queen’s Guard soldiers following the pipers from Friary Court to Buckingham Palace where they will join the on-watch group. In the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, the entire group of Old Guards will swap with another group of New Guards who will subsequently share 2-hour watches.
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Queen’s Life Guard

As we followed the off-watch Queen’s Guard down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, we passed a group of the Queen’s Life Guard (on horseback). They were en route to their own Changing of the Guard ceremony at Horse Guards, the official entrance to St James’s and Buckingham palaces.
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Changing of the Guard

The New Guards in the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace. On the right is a marching band that led the New Guards to Buckingham Palace from nearby Wellington Barracks.
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Crowds

Crowds against the fence watching the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The little guy with the British-flag toque and the polar bear is pretty cute.
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St. James’s Park

Looking east across St. James’s Park from Spur Road with a dusting of snow in the foreground. In the distance is Horse Guards, the official entrance to St James’s and Buckingham palaces (click image for a larger view).
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Victoria Memorial

Looking north along Spur Road to the Victoria Memorial at the end of The Mall between Horse Guards and Buckingham Palace.
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Wellington Barracks

Once the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace is complete, the entire group of Old Guards followed a marching band along Spur Road to nearby Wellington Barracks. At the next Changing of the Guard two days from now, another New Guard group will form at Wellington Barracks before marching to Buckingham Palace to replace the current guard group.
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Big Ben

Big Ben clad in scaffolding as part of a four-year renovation. We can’t see the tower, or hear its bells that have chimed regularly for over 150 years. For the safety of the workers, the bell will not ring during the renovation.
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St. Stephen’s Tavern

We had a great meal under the ornate high ceiling of St. Stephen’s Tavern, originally built in 1873.
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Churchill War Rooms

During World War II, Winston Churchill and his staff largely directed the war through an underground command center in Westminster that included living quarters and a BBC radio broadcasting station. The bunker complex remained largely intact following the war and now has been converted into a fascinating and excellent museum. We very much enjoyed our visit.
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Horse Guards Parade

Looking across Horse Guards Parade, the parade ground of Horse Guards, the official entrance to St James’s and Buckingham palaces. The southeast corner of the parade abuts with the back entrance to 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s residence.
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Life Guard

A member of the Queen’s Life Guard on duty at Horse Guards.
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Downing Street

Downing Street is double-gated and heavily guarded, so we can’t get anywhere close to see the door of number 10. But we did get a glimpse down the street as a car passed through.
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Old War Office Building

The War Office administered the British Army between 1857 and 1964 and was housed in this purpose-built complex starting in 1906. In 1964 its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defense, who took over the complex, calling it the Old War Office Building.
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Trafalgar Square

Nelson’s Column, a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson mounted high up on a pedestal in Trafalgar Square. Nelson was an acclaimed Royal Navy officer who was killed in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar.
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Horse Guards

The east side of Horse Guards. Beyond is The Mall that leads past St. James’s Palace to Buckingham Palace.
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Canada House

Canada House on Trafalgar Square has housed the Canadian High Commission since 1925. Diplomatic missions between Commonwealth Nations generally are called High Commissions rather than embassies.
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Piccadilly Circus

The famous video displays at Piccadilly Circus.
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Regent St.

Looking down the major shopping venue of Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus. If you want to spend a lot of money on clothes and accessories, this is the place to be.
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All Souls Langham Place

All Souls Langham Place was consecrated in 1824. BBC often broadcasts from the building, as it is very near BBC Broadcasting House.
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Dr. Sharma

A brief interruption to the days’ fun to have a complete eye exam with Dr. Sharma at London Opthalmology Center.
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Regent’s Park

Bundled up at the south end of 410-acre Regent’s Park, one of the Royal Parks of London. It was getting dark, so we just passed through a small section en route to dinner.
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Sunset

Sunset over Boating Lake in Regent’s Park.
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The Volunteer

A great meal at The Volunteer pub on Baker Street to finish off the day.
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221B Baker St

Sherlock Holmes fans will recognize 221B Baker Street as the London address of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective. Although the Sherlock Holmes Museum bears 221B with city’s permission, we’re actually standing at 239 Baker Street.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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