Europe has a long history of kings and queens ruling the lands with large palaces and castles. Few in the world though are as iconic as those in England including Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. Known as the main royal palace for the English monarch, Buckingham Palace was built in the 1700s. Since then the ground have expanded, gardens within and outside have been extended, and area businesses have thrilled. Located in central London (just north of Westminster Abbey), touring the area around Buckingham Palace on Day 4 of our broader trip of London was so much fun! With only 24 hours in Buckingham Palace and the surrounding area, we set off to see all the main sites.
24 hours in Buckingham Palace
We set aside 24 hours in Buckingham Palace and the surrounding area. This was more than enough time to see the changing of the guards, the palace itself, and the gardens surrounding the palace.
Changing of the Guards
We woke up later than usual (around 9AM) and headed out from our hotel passing by Westminster Abbey on the way to Buckingham Palace. Our first item on our agenda for the day was watching the changing of the guards and we got to the main square in front of Buckingham Palace with plenty of time to find a great spot to watch.
We arrived about an hour before the change began; however, the square was already packed with other tourist who wanted to watch. The procession began around 11AM with the incoming brigade proceeding in with a marching band and horses. The whole change took about an hour to take place and it was such a cool experience to watch!
After watching the changing of the guard, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local pub and headed into the palace for a tour of the state rooms (~25 pounds). The staterooms inside were even more impressive than they looked outside. Lined in the finest gold and richest colors and artifacts, the rooms sparkled with the wealth of the monarch. Passing the white drawing room, throne room, and ballroom, we marveled at the stunning palace.
St. James Park
After exiting the palace and the private garden, we headed to the public garden near the palace called St. James Park. We walked through the stunning park and rested a while at the lake in the park. On the lake, we watched the birds and ducks play in the water and splash around. We continued on our walk till we reached the end of the garden.
West End Show
We knew we wanted to see a show in the evening in the famous West End of London so we headed for the TKTS booth near Leicester Square. Similar to the TKTS booth in New York City, the one in London also offered discount tickets to theater shows that evening.
With time to spare before our 7:30PM show, we grabbed a bite to eat in SOHO. There are numerous bars and restaurants in the SOHO area. We choose to eat at the famous (and Michelin star rated) tapas restaurant called Barrafina. They did not disappoint and the tapas were beyond amazing! We had plenty of time to eat before dashing off to the theater for an amazing show!