I left My Beloved Brit happily sailing on the Crouch River in Eastern England, and took the train in to London.
Obviously many others had the same idea. It was the Bank Holiday Monday at the end of summer, the last day off many families will have until Christmas! Remember, in the UK there is no Thanksgiving holiday.
It was the perfect day to head to The Mall, the main street in front of the palace.
Heading down The Mall, I stopped in front of Clarence House, the current residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, and former residence of the Queen Mother. It was only open for one more week, so I took the opportunity to ask if there were any open times left. As luck would have it, I got one of the last openings on the spot.
No photos allowed, and it was very warm with no air-conditioning (now we know why they all head to Balmoral for August). But it was still fascinating. It’s a beautiful home.
It was time to cut across St. James’s Park and pick up a bottle of ice-cold water, and head towards Westminster Abbey.
I got to Westminster Abbey and headed for the ticket entrance. The Abbey has been on my list for some time, and I have never managed to get there in time to get admitted. But this time I had luck.
Again, no photos were allowed inside, and it is a church with many, many tombs and chapels, so it is understandable. It gave me such a sense of history as I gazed on the tombs of kings from the 12th century, Queen Elizabeth the First, Mary Queen of Scotts, Darwin…it just goes on and on.
And of course the whole thing looks so absolutely familiar from the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
And then there was that very famous coronation 60 years ago. In the Chapter house there is an exhibition on the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place at the abbey, and the original painting by Australian artist Heimans, which is spectacular, was still on exhibition.
I had read that this painting had been damaged by a vandal in June who sprayed paint on it. It was good to see that the artist was able to bring it back to its original glory.
I must say, my time in Westminster gave me pause. The sense of history, tradition and mortality was palatable.
With that, I came back to my room, watched the sun set, and planned on heading back to Burnham-on-Crouch the next day.