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London, England - Buckingham Palace to Westminster - 2nd September 2001

Posted by Edmond on Saturday, March 2, 2002

Making the most of the good weather, I decided to use the afternoon to take pictures around Westminster, the centre of British Politics, before experiencing the royalty and richness of Buckingham Palace and the surrounds. Both can be accessed via Birdcage Walk which borders St James Park. I have already been around here a few times before, but I did not have the opportunity to take many pictures of the area.

Buckingham Palace and Westminster:
1. Start from Westminster
2. London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster Bridge
3. Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey
4. Walk up Birdcage walk
5. Buckingham Palace

Using the film from my last trip in Brugge, I decided to flush the roll once and for all to get the rest of the photos developed. Noticing that the weather was holding, I knew this was the only opportunity since the weather during the week had been getting unsettled lately as London entered the grips of autumn. The plan was to get off at Westminster underground station, walk around and take pictures, then proceed on through Birdcage walk to Buckingham Palace.

On leaving Westminster station, I walked up towards the bridge before heading south along Victoria Embankment. It took me some time to figure out later on my London A-Z that the two roads "Victoria" and "Embankment" was actually the whole name of the road. And who can blame me when the street names of London almost resemble place names or monuments. At this position, one can take in good views of the Thames River, Big Ben and the London Eye and Aquarium on the opposite shore. There are also boat cruises departing from Victoria Embankment.

I traced back my footsteps to Parliment Square. Situated between the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Government offices, the square is distinguisable by the statue of Palmerston in the centre of the road. Parliament Square was originally a slum before being re-laid in 1868, while Westminster Abbey existed since the time of the William the Conqueror. It is also here where tourists or photographers need to be patient. With the amount of tourists and people around, it is fairly hard to get good pictures, especially when londoners have a tendency to just run into you as if you were invisible.

Walking further west, I proceeded towards Buckingham palace via Birdcage walk, actually a road that has St James Park at one side and buildings and more government offices on the other. On arriving, the first thing that appears is the Queen Victoria Memorial. Look closer at the columns around the memorial and you can see the countries that have been part of the monarchy, including Australia. I walked along the roundabout to get better views of the palace and the memorial. Built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, Buckingham Palace is now very much a home of the Royal Aristocracy, and has been since Queen Victoria settled in the palace in 1837. As usual, I encountered the endless throngs of tourists, making picture taking difficult. But by this time, it was getting late, cold and dark, so I decided to head off back to Westminster tube station. Perhaps one day, I'll go in and do a tour of the palace.

Edmond, 2002