VISITING THE QUEEN'S HOME - BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Over the summer, in July 2019, I studied abroad in London for two weeks. It was one of the best experiences of my life and is now one of my favorite places that I have ever traveled to. While studying at the University of London and creating a marketing campaign for Brompton Bicycles, a bicycle company based in London, I was also able to explore and experience so many wonderful places - Buckingham Palace being one of them. Below is my journey to one of the most iconic (and wonderful, IMO) places in London.
Taking the Tube
Before I went to London, I knew that Buckingham Palace was a place that I wanted to visit because of its notoriety, albeit maybe a bit of a "touristy"destination. This was one of the group activities that my classmates, along with our professor, decided to see together. The morning of, we took the Tube - London's underground train system - from Russel Square to Warren Street that let us off in Hyde Park. The Tube was one of my favorite ways to get around London, as most destinations were around 10-15 minutes away from each other, and it was generally easy to navigate the system. Even with the easy Tube travel, good walking shoes and a medium-sized backpack/purse (not too big/small) are a must when exploring the city.
Arriving at the Palace
As we came up from the Tube, we walked through the lush trees of Hyde Park for several minutes until we arrived at the Palace. If you look at the picture on the left (taken through one of the slats in the gate) you can see that there is a pretty large courtyard in between the gate, where tourists can stand, and the actual door of the Palace. Not a bad view, but just know this in case you have an expectation of getting up close to door. Tours of the Palace are offered, but we didn't time our visit for one. Overall, just being this close to the Queen was good enough for me.
This picture is of me with the other people in my study abroad class. Visiting the Palace was actually one of the first days of our trip, and we still barely knew each other! But, we all got closer throughout the course of the trip and are still friends today. If you plan on visiting the Palace, I recommend having at least one (or 10) other people with you to snap at least one (or 20) pictures of you in front of this legendary place. After taking some snapshots in front of the gates, we walked down the block to the gift shop that sold everything from high-end tea sets to Corgi shaped magnets and ornaments to round out our visit.
A Bite to Eat
After visiting the Palace, we walked to a restaurant called Côte Brasserie in Sloane Square, which was about a 30 minute walk from the Palace. I ordered a burrata salad (pictured here) complete with gooey mozzarella, fresh greens, roasted tomatoes and a great balsamic dressing - absolutely delicious and oh so Insta worthy. After recently looking on their website, they seem to change their menu often so I'm not sure if this is a regular menu item. However, as I recall, everyone's food looked delicious, so I don't think you can go wrong with a visit to this spot.
Overall, my visit to Buckingham Palace was one to remember. I would recommend stopping there, especially if this is your first time visiting London like it was mine. Definitely more of a tourist spot with large crowds and people trying to get the same snapshots as you - so, if you're looking for more of a local feel and experience, Buckingham Palace may not be on the top of your list. However, the Palace is near Hyde Park and tons of great restaurants and shops, so I would definitely make it a point to stop there along your traverse through the city.