Sometimes living in the country, I find myself wanting to escape into the city for a few days to explore, shop and spend much needed time with friends.
Since my friends live all over the place, finding time to meet up can be tricky, especially when we’re flying around the globe to see each other, so a few months ago, two of my best x-uni friends and I decided to spontaneously book a trip to Buckingham Palace, followed by spot of afternoon tea!
Having never visited the Palace before (surprising I know), I was excited and had no idea what was in store for us – except lots of pretty rooms and trinkets! It was Lena’s first visit too & Nati’s of these areas so we were bursting with excitement!
On arriving at the ticket office situated to the side of the palace, we were met with queues that trickled back to the road being advised the wait time was over an hour to pick up a ticket we had booked!
So.. in typical Lucy style – Lena and I got to the front of the queue and spoke to a chap at the office within minutes who told us we weren’t collecting our tickets because they were waiting for us at the front gates with a golf buggy & driver!
Nati, in her usual fashion, came bouncing up to us through the queues with a big grin on her face, having just flown in from Germany. She nearly fell backwards when we told her the entrance was through the front of the Palace!
Well… never did we expect to enter Buckingham Palace through the front entrance (where all the guards are and photos are taken), the same entrance the Queen uses and important people from all over the world use when they visit her. It was amazing and whilst we didn’t do it in a carriage, we had the next best thing, Stephanie our driver and guide!
On arriving in the quad of the Palace we exited the buggy and made our way to the start of the tour which began with a little history of the Palace buildings and area we had just driven round.
Since we couldn’t take any photos inside the palace, you’re going to have to take my word for it that the visit was spectacular.
Once you get over the fact there are crowds galore, you really start to appreciate and love the beautiful history and interiors that surround you and if you looked up the most sparkling chandeliers getting bigger and sparklier as you explored the palace (not to mention the odd Rubens painting or 5…).
Exploring the palace with these two was perfect, even with Lena wizzing off everywhere and us chasing after her. We spent a lot of the time drooling over the sparkly heirlooms and wondering just who had walked and danced these halls before us!
Think about it… Just how lucky are we to be allowed entry to Buckingham Palace as tourists? That just wasn’t the done thing when our grandparents or parents were our age so I suggest making full advantage of it whilst we can (or becoming besties with Liz & Phil).
After our trip throughout the Palace, swooning over the pretty paintings, dresses, diamonds and handsome portraits of Princes & seeing Queen Victoria’s throne, we headed off to our own private gift shop where we met an amused (at us) young man who worked there. We had so much fun exploring all the royal souvenirs on offer and ended up being treated to a tiara each by Queen Nati.
The tiaras she got us are so beautiful that I believe they’re too good for a princess and only fit for Queen’s, hence HRH Queen Nati & HRH Queen Lena.
After the excitement of the palace we sauntered off (literally) back the way we came out the front of the palace in our little golf buggy (that was a once in a lifetime experience we want to repeat next year haha) and headed off for a royal afternoon tea at The Royal Horseguards Hotel.
Upon arriving at the hotel we were blown away by the kindness and warm welcome we received on entrance. The team had already set everything up for Lena (& her Wheelchair) and helped us from the moment we entered.
After some minor confusion with the location of our afternoon tea (because we were still buzzing from our Buckingham Palace tour), we settled down to what turned out to be one of the most incredible teas we had ever had!
A Royal Afternoon tea
Well, we might not have been able to take photos inside the palace, but we certainly made the most of it whilst enjoying an incredible selection of sandwiches (vegan, pescatarian & standard) with bread flavoured depending on the filling which you can see in the picture below. Throughout our afternoon tea we were served by the lovely and attentive Jungha who knew everything about the tea, hotel and catered our order to us perfectly!
Whilst I love afternoon tea, sandwiches aren’t often the part I rave about as there isn’t a whole lot of choice when it comes to fillings (especially for veggies), by my gosh did the Royal Horseguards Hotel change my mind! I had a curry chickpea sandwich, salad, olive tapenade & hummus and pepper. The Queen’s had some fish & other variation of sandwiches they loved and we were all genuinely thrilled at the quality of these yummy sandwiches (I want one now).
We moved onto the scones and our conversation drifted to the age old, cream or jam debate. After little discussion however we all came to the opinion that cream goes first and after trying it could safely say we would always choose that! After which we moved on to the yummy cakes!
I absolutely loved the hotel & afternoon tea setting. We could relax, sip our teas (Jasmine / Earl Grey & Chai) and gossip, catch up and put the worlds to right as well as chat about future plans to meet up all in the heart of one of London’s top 5* Hotel.
To us, it really does make such a difference when you’re out as friends somewhere and just want to be in your own bubble together enjoying each other’s company. I can safely say we had the best afternoon together thanks to the cosy seating, yummy treats and lots of good company and of course the hotel! When we sat down to tea, the little girl and her mum on the table opposite pop over to ‘meet the princesses’ and asked us where we got our crowns. It was so lovely to be in the centre of London and have people feel relaxed enough to talk to us, which just shows how great the hotel is!
We are really looking forward to next year, returning to the palace and reliving our afternoon tea experience at The Royal Horseguards Hotel. We were so blown away with the quality of food and service that we are likely to stay for a few nights on our next royal visit!
Thank you for joining us on our adventure this week, I look forward to bringing you more fun filled adventures soon.