Tuesday, January 18, 2011

London - Hyde Park, Kensington Palace

As promised, here we continue our journey. We picked up our Great British Heritage Passes near Picadilly Circus and then continued on our way to Hyde Park. I had an appointment to go for a ride through the historic park! (Are you surprised? lol)

From Picadilly Circus, we went through this gate and I just can't remember what it's called. But it was pretty!

And we walked towards Hyde Park. I believe this is the Royal Mile.

I must mention something else, it was SO INCREDIBLLY HOT when we were in London. You might notice how brown the grass is. It was just sweltering, at least 30 celsius with a huge amount of humidity.
My lack of planning led us to do a LOT of extra walking this day. I a) didn't realize how big Hyde Park was, b) didn't have any sense of direction in London and c) had no clue where the stables were. I think even if you know where they are, they are a bit tricky to find.
On a positive note, we got to see a lot of Hyde Park that we might not have otherwise. It really is a beautiful, beautiful park. It's easy to picture it 100 years ago, I doubt all that much has changed.
Here's Buckingham Palace and by the flags flying, the Queen was in that day.

Our timing couldn't have been better, we walked by just as the changing of the guards happened.

I'm not sure how all these flowers were still alive! It was so hot and everything else was crispy! This is also our first view of the Canada Gate.

It's part of Queen Victoria's memorial scheme and behind the gate is a memorial to all of the Canadian Soldiers that died in WWI and WWII. And it's all GOLD.

The first and very blurry view of the famous & historic "Rotten Row".
It's amazing to me how it doesn't appear to have changed in 100 years.

After walking a large portion of Hyde Park and asking many people, we FINALLY found Hyde Park Stables. Aren't the flowers growing on the side of the stable buildings nice? Had I realized it was going to be so hot, I probably wouldn't have chosen to go for a ride that day. But since it was booked, I figured I should go.

And here I am, riding in Hyde Park on the historic Rotten Row.

To be honest, I don't know that I'd recommend a ride through Hyde Park. It was very expensive and not overly exciting. I wasn't allowed to go above a trot and to get a trot from my trusty mount meant a LOT of work! He was a wee bit lazy, but a good boy. The park is gorgeous, no complaints there but it was very busy and it felt like riding in the city. There was so many people everywhere. It was a neat experience though. (I think it'd be more fun with a group of ladies riding sidesaddle dressed in their finery!)

After my ride, we grabbed a nice cold drink and walked back across Hyde Park (my feet hurt!!) and saw this neat little cottage in the park.

And some lovely water gardens. (very tempting to take a swim!)

We finally made it to Kensington Palace. They had transformed it into an "Enchanted Palace" when we were there, it sort of showcased all of the famous princesses that lived there; Diana, Victoria etc. Unfortunately we couldn't take any photos inside.

And this is the "Orangery" across from Kensington Palace. It's a restaurant now. Wouldn't that be a great building to have a bit party in?

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