Tuesday we spent a drizzly final day in London visiting the Globe Theater, tea at Fortnum and Mason department store, and finished with a tour of the Buckingham Palace State rooms. Spent a quiet night in with an order of fish and chips and some British tele so that we would be ready for an active travel day on Wed.
Woke up to light drizzle that continued throughout the day but didn't seem to cause the same chaos that downpour on Monday had resulted in at all the tube stations. We woke early to breakfast and dress nicely and then headed out to the South Bank via tube to tour the
. This is a reproduction of the Globe that presented some of Shakespeare's plays in his time. They featured a neat museum with artifacts and exhibits on theater life including playwriting, the acting company, costumes, set construction, and music. After making our way through the exhibits, we had a tour that took us into the theater. We were lucky enough to go inside when a technical rehearsal for their next play was going on, but unfortunately that meant that we were not allowed to take pictures. The theater is beautiful on the inside and I was sorry that nothing was showing the weekend we were in town. The guide emphasized that the groundlings, who stand on the floor during the show, are the beat "seats" because you get to really interact with the show. But after seeing the floor and the seats, I think I would much rather sit on the balcony.
After the tour we walked along the South Bank and then crossed back over the river. Got a great picture of St. Paul's Cathedral while we were walking. We headed to
, one of the posh department stores for high tea in the
. It was a very lovely affair with silver service. I had the Bannockburn Darjeeling tea with fruit and honey notes. The Engineer had the Keenan which was recommended to serve with milk. He started with eggs Benedict and I had tea sandwiches. They then brought out the three tier tray of scones with jam and clotted cream, cookies and cakes, and then we got to choose a large slice from one of several cakes on the tea cake trolley. It was decadent and delicious and we loved all of it!
After tea, we walked through Green Park to
for our tour of the State Rooms. They are only open for viewing during Aug and Sept when the Queen is on vacation at Balmoral Castle, therefore it was very crowded, even with pre-booking tickets. You are given an audio guide that walks you through the rooms to provide context and descriptions. The state rooms are the public rooms of the palace used for entertaining. Each year there is a theme to the exhibit - this year focused on children and growing up in the royal family so there were lots of displays of toys, games, photos, and family history throughout the palace. The tour takes about an hour, then you exit in the gardens and are free to walk the estate.
My feet were finally giving up after 3 long days of walking and standing, so we headed back to our rooms at The Byron Hotel in Kensington. The Engineer went out a bit later for take-away fish and chips from the store around the corner. We got haddock and chips (fries) with lots of vinegar and some mushy garden peas. Our hotel had put us in the penthouse suite which meant that we were on the top (5th) floor and in addition to our bedroom and bathroom, we had a sitting room with table and chairs, sofa, and tele. It was perfect for eating in on a couple of nights, and just having more space to set out luggage and bags so that we didn't have to open and close them on our bed all the time. Overall we really liked the hotel but will leave a comment warning people about the towel warmer and bathroom pump switches since those were the only hangups we had.
Wed is a travel day, ending with us in Southampton to board the ship.