I booked myself a trip to London about a month ago there was an exhibition at Kensington Palace on Queen Victoria’s life that I was interested to see, although I am very far from being a royalist (I am a pretty big republican, to be honest) I do enjoy history.
I started the morning of my day trip at 6 am having a shower and get a lift to get my coach (I highly recommend coach travel; it is not the most glamorous travel option, but you are guaranteed a seat unlike the train and it is a fraction of the cost). On previous trips London I have gotten a coach at around 5:30 am in attempts to miss the heavy traffic and to make the most of the day there, as I was meeting my aunt at 2 pm I was able to leave at a far more civilized hour of 8:30 am.
I arrived in London at 11:50 am, went to use the toilet in the coach station and was met with a cost of 30p to have the privilege (I think that ‘they’ want you to pay for your use to pay for the cleaning, but I have never found the toilets to be particularly clean. I could write a whole other post on how dirty London is, to be honest). I was told there were free to use toilets in the train station so headed over as I was getting my bus to Kensington palace from outside the train station it was on my way.
As it had been so hot the last few days I had very little desire to get the underground it can be very hot on a cold day and overcrowded, I got the 52 which went around the edge of Hyde Park so I got to see some pretty scenes of people enjoying their weekends. I had not been to this part of London before, I had visited South Kensington to see the museums but not deeper in the borough, this area smacked of money and wealth. I ventured into the whole foods to have a look inside as I had a bit of time to kill, I was shocked by the sheer volume of single-use plastic that was being used. For a store that has an abundance of vegan and healthy products I was astonished at how un ego friendly their packaging of said products was (another subject I could write a whole post on, but they did have some amazing baklava for sale). I left Whole Foods a little more let down by humanity and found somewhere to have a cup of tea before the time slot for the exhibition.
After finishing my tea, I headed over to Kensington Palace to meet my aunt and her daughter in law. I had never been to any of the British Royal Household before so did not know what to expect when we got there. It was nice, it felt like going to a National Trust House. The first displays you are met with is one of Diana’s dress. My aunt and her daughter in law had been to St. Petersburg a few months before and had visited the palaces there which as I have seen from pictures far more decadent and opulent, so the simple decoration of Kensington did not compare. There were some amazing 3D painted ceilings, but the staterooms felt a bit sparse.
The Exhibition itself was interesting, it had a selection of Queen Victoria’s Dresses, she was a petite lady and some of her dresses from later in life were as wide as there were tall, almost resembling a ball. It would have been nice to get more history about her dynasty, the exhibition touched on it but does not go into the detail that we would have all liked to have seen. Despite this, it was an interesting and enjoyable exhibition and would recommend it if you want to learn a bit about Queen Victoria and her life.
The Gift shop may have been my highlight all the royal tat you could want, from the commemorative plates, mugs and Christmas decoration to replicas of Kate’s engagement ring. My father is a staunch republican I jokingly offered him the choice of a baby Archie commemorative mug or plate, on principle I would not spend money in the gift shop as the royals have spent millions in taxes on doing up their ‘cottage’ when the government has a policy of austerity to for the rest of the country regarding the spending of public money. After the exhibition, we went to get a late lunch together in Moorgate where my aunt has a flat, then headed home after a lovely day filled with culture.
Link to Kensington Palace website