Today was our final full day in London, and it was a busy one! After grabbing some breakfast, we headed straight to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard and tour the State Rooms. Buckingham Palace is a short (10-15) minute walk from our hotel. The Changing of the Guard occurs each day at 11:30 am and is the elaborate 40 minute ceremony where the guards of Buckingham Palace switch shifts. The crowds were monstrous, but we somehow managed to get a good vantage point standing on Queen Victoria's monument. Here are a few pics:
After seeing some of the Changing of the Guard ceremony, it was time for our State Room tour of Buckingham Palace. There was no photography allowed in the palace, unfortunately. But look how excited I was to be entering:
I really enjoyed the State Room tour! We got to go inside Buckingham Palace and see many of the ceremonial rooms that are used for special events and hosting dignitaries. It is just as posh and intricate as you'd expect! Today was the opening day for the palace -- it's only open for about one month each year, so we barely made the cut. Here's a pic I took after the tour, as we were leaving through the palace gardens, of the back of the palace:
After leaving the palace, we grabbed lunch (more fish 'n' chips for me!), and then toured the Churchill War Rooms. I enjoyed this museum much more than I had expected. You get to tour the exact rooms that Winston Churchill used as his headquarters during WWII. Some of the rooms were abandoned for decades until they were discovered, and the rooms were preserved just as they had been left. The rooms were built in the basement of a large government building in London and were kept secret from Hitler throughout the war. It felt very surreal to walk through the halls and think about everything that had happened there many decades before.
After the war museum, we decided we wanted to relax a little for the evening, so we made our way to a nearby movie theater to purchase tickets to see Inception. Another movie theater nearby was hosting the UK premiere of the movie The A-Team. We got to see the entire red carpet event -- so cool! All the stars of the movie were there. The crowds were massive, but the paparazzi in me (and the excellent zoom on my camera) couldn't resist snapping a few photos:
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
The back of Liam Neeson's head
Jessica Biel was also there, but I couldn't get a good photo of her. There were a bunch of other celebrities there that I didn't recognize (I only knew they were celebrities because as they walked by, large groups of teenage girls would scream). It was so exciting to have just randomly stumbled upon this event!
After that excitement, Jared and I grabbed a light dinner at an Italian cafe and did some serious people watching while waiting for our movie time. We saw Inception at the Odeon theater (Odeon is a chain cinema in the UK). This particular theater was an actual theater venue, with curtain and stage and all. Loved the movie! Very thought-provoking and mind-bending. I recommend!
And so our final day in London has come to a close. Tomorrow, we take the Chunnel to Paris!