Tuesday, October 13, 2015

One is impressed

We went to Windsor Castle today, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and the Queen's favourite weekend home (apparently). We left South Woodford close to 9.00am on a crowded Central Line train and were in the charming (and touristy) village of Windsor, in Berkshire, by 11.00am via Paddington Station and Slough (which rhymes with Ow!). 

We'd arranged to meet Megan and Joanne in Windsor but ended up meeting them much earlier than that on a platform at Paddington Station in amongst a couple of thousand Londoners on their way to work!  We enjoyed a lovely day together enjoying our tour of Windsor Castle and a lovely long lunch and many laughs after at Bill's in the village.

The original castle at Windsor was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion, but successive kings (and Elizabeth 1) have largely been responsible for how it looks now, especially with the extensive work done by Charles 11 and then George 111 and George 1V in the 1800s. Queen Victoria entertained here at Windsor Castle during her reign and it was a refuge for the current Queen and her family during the second world war. It has even managed to survive the "Annus Horribilus" fire of 1992, with the injection of around 34 million GBP from the public purse.

Windsor Castle overlooks Eton College (William and Harry both attended Eton). The Eton College chapel is a notable landmark at this point in the castle rampart.
The State Apartments were open for viewing today.......and it is fair to say we were all exceedingly impressed with them...they're extensive, full of centuries old rich, ornate stuff, most of the priceless Royal art collection, all beautifully carpeted and maintained...and still used by the royal family for state occasions..when the visitors are asked to leave - and no photography of course!!
Queen Mary's doll's house is another star attraction at Windsor Castle as well as France (the blonde) and Marianne (the brunette), the dolls given to the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in 1938 to mark the state visit to France by the royal family. The dolls had a 360 piece trousseau including dresses by Worth, Lanvin and Rochas, Cartier jewellery, cases by Vuitton and handbags by Hermes and Lancome. Only a small collection of the doll's clothing was on display today - but still amazing!

We finished our visit with a close look at the magnificent Gothic style St George's Cathedral, begun in the 15th century by Edward 1V (the king who revived the Order of the Garter).
It was really cold in London today and we were all hungry and hoping to find a warm spot for lunch by the time we had finished exploring the castle. We enjoyed a relaxed lunch at Bill's together, finding a lot to discuss, question and laugh about in regards to our recent travels and experiences of London and the omnipresent Bristish royals. (God Save the Queen!)
Other highlights of the last few days in London include: an afternoon shopping at Liberty's and drinking champagne at the ultra stylish Soho House with Cath and Ivy on Sunday and an outing to the V & A Museum in SW7 yesterday.

Us girls enjoyed the wonderful Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition at the V & A while Rob and Rod spent some quality time together at the nearby Science and Technology Museum.

Rob and I stayed back for  few hours after in the shopping precinct around Oxford Circus where Rob replenished his underwear and sock collection and I found a few more warm things to help me survive the colder than expected weather this week.  This part of London would have to be one of the most crowded retail areas in Britain...but people are always ready to stop for a while to listen to some great street music.

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