London Interlude

Clive at Windsor Castle

London, always a great city, has a special buzz this year with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Olympics. We spent a couple days here en route to the U.S.

Walking for miles tops our list of favourite activities. No shopping this time, as we’re travelling light, but we gazed into many shop windows, enjoyed a browse at Waterstone’s, and admired the city’s great architecture. Sadly, unsightly tents and porta-loos still mar the area around St. Paul’s Cathedral.


Tents around St. Paul's

Australia House, a grand building in London.

Australia House

We happened to be in London on Valentine’s Day. On an evening walk near our hotel, an intimate brasserie drew us in with its set-price menu, each copy tied in satin ribbon; complimentary flutes of Prosecco;  and a red rose and glowing candle on each table.

Usually we dine at home on Valentine’s Day, so lingering over a candlelight dinner in London was an extra-special treat.

Valentine's dinner in London

A classic black comedy, ‘The Ladykillers’ — tickets purchased at a discount booth in Leicester Square — entertained and amused us at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End. 

A Day at the Castle

St. George's Chapel, WIndsor Castle

For the better part of a crisp, sunny day we explored the grounds and interior public areas of Windsor Castle, my first visit to the castle that’s been a home of the sovereign for over 900 years.

Many family groups were at the castle as it was half-term school holidays, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Boys and girls alike, including two groups of French schoolchildren, ooh-ed and aah-ed over Queen Mary’s dollhouse. My favourites were St. George’s Chapel and the wonderful exhibit ‘The Queen 60 Photographs for 60 Years’  in the Drawings Gallery.

In one of several gift shops on the castle grounds, we bought a Jubilee gift book for my mother, who loves the Queen and always reminds Clive of our family’s English ancestors.

Windsor Castle is trialling a simple café within the castle walls. After admiring the many grand rooms of the state apartments, we were ready to relax with the all-important coffee.

Coffee at Windsor Castle

We left Windsor Castle and London eager to return, as always — maybe next month, on our way to Paris. In the meantime, we’ve been having a great visit with my mother in the U.S. and will soon return to England.

Me at Windsor station

Cheers for now and more soon.

15 Responses

  1. I love the coffee! And the second time I went back to Windsor Castle, after more than 30 years, I STILL loved Queen Mary’s dollhouse.

  2. Nice photos. Visited Windsor six years ago. Have to get back. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Aussie in France, hello and great you’ve been to Windsor Castle twice! That dollhouse is truly amazing and just magical for all ages.

    Daniel, welcome and thanks for stopping by — we too really want to get back to Windsor.

    Cheers and happy travels.

  4. Thankyou for sharing your visit to London and Windsor Castle, reminded us of our own tourist trips. Love the coffee markings!

  5. Thanks, LindyLou! The coffee was good, too 🙂

    Cheers and happy travels.

  6. What a wonderful little side trip! I love that you got to do Valentine’s Day dinner in London. How special. 🙂 I have a real fondness for that city and hope that one day I can return. I though the same thing as LindyLou about the coffee markings! What a nice touch.

    Thinking of you and Clive and hoping that your travels go well.

  7. I love London. It’s such an interesting and beautiful city.

  8. Paris Karin, hope you get back to London, too – am sure you will! It’s so different from Paris but a great city too as you know — as Linda says (hi Linda!) – interesting and beautiful.

    Cheers and happy travels – maybe see you on this side of the Channel one of these days! 🙂

  9. Cute! Though Clive looks a little wooden standing beside you at Windsor station.

  10. Hi there, Paris Paul P! and cheers from me and my friend at Windsor station 🙂

  11. Hi Carolyn & Clive,

    Bonjour! How are you doing? I am hoping that you are both doing well. I am OK. I am hoping that your US trip is/was a good one. It is always so good to return back to the US and to special people in our lives.

    Hoping that life has been kind to you both and you are happy and healthy.

    Cheers to you!


  12. I love London and take the Eurostar across the Channel as often as possible. Lovely blog entry and photos. Marilyn

  13. Barbara, greetings and yes, all is well, in the U.S. and back in the UK. Hope to catch you in person on one of our upcoming trips to Paris!

    Marilyn, welcome! It’s great to see you here and thanks for your kind comment. London is definitely worth that trip across the Channel — in the same way for you coming from Paris, I think, as Paris is for me the ‘as often as possible’ destination 🙂

    Cheers all.

  14. Sounds like fun! The tents around St. Paul’s were from the Occupy London movement; they’ve since been made to abandon that location. Hope you have a wonderful time in Paris!

  15. Thanks Tara, and likewise to you with your own lovely trip to Paris!

    We knew what the tents were about — have to say from what we saw on TV the area looks much better now it’s cleaned up.

    Cheers and happy travels!

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