Today was the last day I was staying in London before returning home the next morning. With business out the way I had a full day to explore.
First thing in the morning was Kensington Palace which I've never been to. I'd been to Buckingham Palace when I was little but not this place I think. Again, it looked like an interesting place to visit where the latest Royal Family members dwelled. I was mre interested in the architecture and the collection of assets they had gathered over time.
Seems like most places don't open until 10am. I got a bit lost on the Tube since I hadn't quite figured out which direction each line headed in yet...
It was paid entry and you will have your bag searched. Outside there's a sign asking people to queue for 30 minutes after their booked time slot. I was running late because my legs were still sore when walking and ended up around that time. I checked the queue and wondered if I still had to wait but then asked the staff who said I could go in right away.
The palace was really impressive. Every room had ornaments with so much detail on them you might be looking and admiring them for a while.
Site suggests 2 - 3 hours so I allocated about 2 for it before the next stop.
Just check out the miniature toy house which was part of the display for showing off the Princess' toys.
I think most people miss the holographic dog that appears under the table in the "Princess at Play" room. It's not always on but if you ever go, you should watch out for it.
I had saw a glimpse of The King's Staircase and it really is impressive when you go see yourself. Every single surface of the room is decorated by paintings.
Fairly much every one stopped ot take photos or selfies.
I was looking forward to seeing the clock in the Cupola Room but unfortunately the room was closed for maintenance during my visit...
There was also what seemed like a moving clock in "The King's Gallery". I thought it was a compass at first when I looked closer but it's actually linked to the wind dial at the top of the palace. Apparently it was made in 1694 when William III used it to guide his navy.
Queen's Gallery not so red compared to the king's.
Don't think many people notice the different China ornaments that have been put up above the doorways because they're not at eye level and there weren't any extravagant paintings that make people look up.
Fancy view of the palace gardens outside where the queue also is. Plenty of maintenance work going on too but with Covid still kicking around and cold weather when there's few tourists, it's probably a good time.
Eventually you reach The Queen's Staircase which is deliberately left plain to show how important the king is apparently. Don't think equal opportunities people would have liked that.
And out we go.
There's a different exhibition all the time and it was the "Royal Style in The Making" fashion being shown off this time. I was more interested in the statues in the premises...
So I actually did finish around 2 hours afterwards.
Obviously I haven't posted everything I saw but if you're into fine art and craftsmanship I recommend the paid visit.
Don't get any white pigeons back in Glasgow.
Autumn was almost in full swing in Kensington Park.
I had seen these free water points on the news but wasn't expecting to come across one. Fun design.
Dropped into Wagamama for food and didn't notice the seat had sticky sauce all over the bench so I ended up sitting on it... Ended up walking around with a stain on my butt but I just left it as is because going back to the hotel to clean up would take a while. Didn't bring a change of trousers too.
First time eating there and wasn't impressed with the ramen. Too soggy and tasteless apart from the chicken.
British Museum & K-ON Movie
This was supposed to be booking based too but seemed there was enough room to let everyone through. Again, you'll end up getting your bag searched but unlike the other places, I open up the bag to show instead.
Again, first time here. At this point I could overhear the staff saying, "That guy must have crapped himself. Oh dear..." Obviously that wasn't the case so so I paid them no mind.
There's just 2 spots from the K-ON movie in here.
The first one of the Rosetta Stone is very easy to find in the Enlightenment Room that looks like a giant library and it's the very first room you can reach from the entrance too.
Thought I remembered the angle correctly but ended up shooting portrait...
Room felt like a library although I guess that's why it's called enlightenment. It's also got a very warm colour lighting inside compared to the cooler entrance.
Lots to see around here. I was interested in the Egyptian artifacts like a lot of the people I overheard.
Back when cats were gods, huh.
Even the stair cases had some form of themed decoration.
Can't forget the other great civilisation, Romans.
There were a lot of old clocks in the European rooms I think.
The last K-ON spot from above was tricky to find which was at the top floor where there's a little bridge connecting to Room 56. It looks a bit different in the movie so that can throw you off too.
Museum is so big you can get lost actually... However, I wanted to get back to the hotel to setup my camera for the next part of my time lapse and then try to find a couple more K-ON spots before it was too dark so I moved along quickly.
London Tower & Westminister
With my 1.0" sensor camera left at the hotel for time lapse photos, I had to make do with my LG G8S ThinQ phone.
It was already quite dark now and there was a lot of construction work going on at London Tower. Fortunately it didn't block off the spot where the girls sat. The 2011 movie actually showed the big observation deck The Shard in the distance being built at the time. Now that same angle is blocked off by trees.
By the time I reached Westminister it was already too dark to capture much.
Big Ben was also still being fixed up so not exactly pretty.
Phone camera's also struggling with the dark so no full resolution photos. I decided to give up on the spots around the London Eye and move on because it was really cold too.
Went from the mild 15C to less than 10C and I didn't bring a warmer jacket with me to London. Not a very good time to catch a cold during Covid ^^;
And so I headed to Aldgate East Station because that was indoors at least. Despite these signs on London public transport probably only half the passengers actually wear masks... Might be the reason why the numbers just stay about 2000 daily.
There was a lot of traffic so I couldn't get a better shot of the wrong Ibis hotel the girls first went to from across the road unfortunately.
The bus stop was also just right outside. Most of the stores have changed. The Ladbrokes shown in the movie was still there at some point but not now.
The hotel's not far from the station.
Getting a clean shot of the little seating areas wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be because I just had to wait for people to board the train. There also weren't any mischievous youths hanging around but I guess it was still early.
And that fairly much ended my little K-ON detour. If you're ever in London and want to do the tour yourself, you can view this Google Map.
Vivosport says 21304 steps for the day which is around 10km so bit less than yesterday but, lack of time and sore knees meant I couldn't cover as much ground.
The next morning I had my time lapse photos ready to be merged into a video. Expensive hotel rooms but I think the time lapse was worth it ^^
Only thing I need to remember for next time is to set the focus on manual so it doesn't have that "beating heart" effect...
If you want to capture the bridge opening up for big cruiser ships, you can find the schedule on the official site.
The time lapse was shot from a "Standard Double Room with Bridge View" at the Tower Hotel. You'll have to specifically book a room with a view or you won't get one and they're obviously more expensive. My room was on the 7th floor. Tried contacting the hotel by message twice to request an unobstructed view and they never replied but glad I still got a decent one.
Rooms are really old as said in reviews and it felt like housekeeping ransacked my room moving all my stuff including things I put into drawers... Also had to keep asking for toothbrush and paste which is usually complementary in other hotels. I didn't see any ethernet and wasn't informed of how to use wi-fi so I just used my mobile data. The TV did have a Chromecast you could cast to though.
I opted in for breakfast which was a half-buffet; half you can fetch yourself while the other you ask the waiters/waitresses to pick out of containers for you.
Kind of an odd feeling. There wasn't any queue as shown in the photos when I went at 7am in the morning. If you wanted a table by the window looking out at the port, you have to ask when you're being seated.
There's also a take-away breakfast available in the lobby if you're in a hurry.
Otherwise friendly staff, nice food.
I actually didn't realise the videos I shot with my main camera were all in 1K mode instad of 4K until I got back home to process them but oh well. Full HD is still good. Oh well, at least the time lapse was unaffected because they are made of actual photos which go beyond 4K.