Monday, 7 July 2008

Tourist Walk In London 3

After graduating from Music College I accepted a part-time job at a Royal office in Buckingham Gate. Therefore my knowledge of the area proved useful when I couldn’t take the straight forward route to the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews. I walked the familiar path to the nearest pub where my leaving “do” had taken place, down a couple of small, quaint Olde London streets and arrived by the Buckingham Palace gift shop (not your average tourist souvenirs!) directly opposite the Royal Mews. A quick glance down Buckingham Gate confirmed that the road was still blocked and access to the Queen’s Gallery was prohibited. So I went into the Royal Mews, using my London Pass for the third time that day.

According to the lady in the ticket office, the road had been blocked off since 7.30 that morning after a delivery lorry tipped over when leaving Buckingham Palace. They had been told the Queen’s Gallery would be opened about an hour late but, since then, had heard no more. As it was now lunch time it seemed as though this accident was being treated more like a security alert but, thankfully, the Royal Mews was open for business as usual.

An hour later I left the Royal Mews hoping that the Queen’s Gallery would now be open but the road was still out of bounds with yet more police men and women. It was a shame but I re-traced my steps and headed for Birdcage Walk and the Wellington Barracks, home to the Guards Museum. There was quite a crowd gathered around the railings in front of the Barracks enjoying the wonderful sounds of the regiment band. As I approached, the band were rehearsing but, even to my musical ears, I couldn’t hear any mistakes being made in their wonderful rendition of “Bread Of Heaven” (I’m sure this is not the correct title but, for the life of me, I cannot think of the hymn’s proper name!) but every few bars, they stopped and started again. Chances are that it was the complicated choreography that needed to be repeated over and over. Still, it looked and sounded fabulous to me! The impromptu audience of tourists, holiday makers and sightseers were clearly thrilled and applauded enthusiastically! There is something very special about regimental bands and the British Armed Forces certainly know how to do it properly!

Having spent an enjoyable half hour watching and listening to this free military pageant, I moved on to the Guards Museum with a spring in my step!

The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace is open March – October, 11am-4pm
Adult Entry: £7.50

The Queen’s Gallery is open is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm
Adult Entry: £8.50

The Guards Museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm
Adult Entry: £3

All of the above sightseeing attractions are included with the London Pass and entrance is free for pass holders.

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