The wait to go to the Queen’s Garden Party is almost over! Steve and I headed down to London on Monday in preparation for the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace Tuesday.
Being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year makes it even that more special so we wanted to get to London the day before to give us time to get ready. Steve took the day off to drive down to London early and get settled into the hotel. We couldn’t wait for this amazing, high energy and emotional event.
We arrived at the hotel at noon, which is a couple of hours before check-in, so we parked our car in the closest car park, at Victoria Station, down the street from the hotel. We researched the parking situation online the week before and found that there were only 83 parking spaces in this car park and you could not reserve a spot. When we got there, there was just one spot left – it was just for us. Our energy was high and we were “in the groove.”
We went into Victoria Station to eat a light lunch, relax and plan out the rest of the day. After lunch we walked to the tube station downstairs and bought the new limited edition Oyster card, a big money-saver for tube and bus travel in London. We already have Oyster cards so we really didn’t need new ones, however these Oyster cards have the Queen’s photo on them in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee.
Oyster card in hand, it was back to the hotel to check in, unpack our clothes and then off to walk a trial run of the course from our hotel to Buckingham Palace. All around the Queen Victoria Statue at Buckingham Palace the work crews were setting up for the concert on the weekend and the Queen’s Jubilee event.
We took pictures and walked around the outside of the Palace area talking to the street workers and the police about the road closures and taxi drop off places near the front of the Palace.
We left no stone unturned. We wanted to make sure that the logistics of the day were clearly laid out and that getting to the Palace, finding the gate to queue at, and getting back to the hotel would run smoothly and in a relaxed manner. It was a beautifully warm evening and we walked back to the hotel stopping for a light dinner and then off to bed to get a good night’s sleep before the “Big Day.”
Our hotel was down the street from Victoria Station, one of London’s major train and tube stations. It was also walking distance from Buckingham Palace – if we were not dressed in our fancy clothes, shoes and hat, and the temperature wasn’t in the high 70’s. Of course we were not complaining at all about the weather as that is the weather that I “ordered” to make it a picture perfect day to attend the garden party.
The preparation process was unbelievable. You would think that we were going to see the Queen – oh yeah, we were. It actually began about a year ago when we were told that our names had been put on the list to receive an invitation to the Queen’s Garden Party. There is the dress, the shoes, the hat, the hairdo, the make-up and the weather. Steve was easy as he had the suit and matching tie to my outfit and his shoes. He took care of the hotel, parking and taking off the few days from work. I arranged for us to go to my cousin’s house just outside of London after the Garden Party and stay with them overnight and share the excitement with them.
After all of this preparation, as we slowed down a bit, it then dawned on us and we realized that this is really happening and that we were just one day away from seeing the Queen and having tea at her Garden Party. What a way to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, by attending her Garden Party.