An 8-day stay in London provides so much time to do and see, a second post is necessary to cover all our activities. This is in addition to the one covering Wimbledon (HERE), and the side trips covered in the previous post (HERE). With just four remaining days, a lot of ground was yet to cover. And here you go:
Not knowing how peppy we might be from Friday at Wimbledon, Saturday plans were open. A last- minute decision to acquire theater tickets was an unplanned but deliciously enjoyable afternoon! First, a random choice for Vietnamese food near the theater was one of those “scores” — amazing food! Next, seeing Crazy for You, a revival directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, was just a marvelous experience. Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It” had us smiling (and singing along) throughout. At the Gillian Lynne Theater now though January 2024, I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity.
Bardo St. James is a supper club in the St. James area (obviously) I found during research for our big Saturday night. It is an extremely well executed restaurant/club. The food is delicious and the setting is gorgeous with nightly entertainment. We thoroughly enjoyed a young lady singing from the Great American Songbook with barely a hint of British accent. We spoke with her at a break and the accent was most definitely there, so kudos to her for singing “American.” The hubby and I have long frequented Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, but strictly for the entertainment. Food and ambience are most definitely secondary.
The singer is visible in the background (above); below our dinner and perhaps the single best dessert ever — a magnificent fruit tart. Perfection.
Our return visit to Buckingham Palace happened Sunday morning, early enough to still watch the Men’s Finals. Our first visit in 2011 featured a display from the Cambridge wedding (with illicit photos of Kate’s dress). This visit featured all the Coronotion regalia (with accompanying illicit photos).
The “backyard” is roughly 6 acres, including a gorgeous pond shown below.
Part of the tour included The Royal Mews adjacent to the palace, where all means of transportation are maintained.
After watching the final match with a little picnic in our room, we had a lovely walk to a pub in Chelsea for dinner and nearly made it back to the hotel before the rains came. And came. And got us pretty soaked! Nevertheless, got those steps in.
Below, the magnificent sun setting prior to giving way to the rain.
Tickets for Windsor Castle were intentionally booked for Monday. The reason? To see the Queen’s final resting place there at St. George’s Chapel, closed on Sundays for worship services. This was also a return visit for us so we mostly did a quick perusal inside and headed to the chapel. After a fairly long queue, with full view of the tomb, I became quite emotional. All I thought of to do was curtsy and say “thank you for your life of service” before welling up. I have always been enamored with her unfailing and lifelong devotion to service. Seeing the finality of it all just got to me.
Side note: Prince Phillip was not initially interred in the chamber. He was relocated there after the Queen’s passing. I don’t know the reason, but was told so by the guard on duty. Together with her parents, they shall remain so forever. Yes, I snuck a photo (below), not unlike what has been widely shared in the press.
Above, inside St. George’s Chapel; below, beautiful grounds at Windsor Castle
Our last evening included a spectacular performance of Guys and Dolls at the Bridge Theater, so called as it is located steps from the Tower Bridge. What’s most unique about the venue: “It is the first wholly new theatre of scale to be added to London’s commercial theatre sector in 80 years.”
Suffice to say, any production of Guys & Dolls is by virtue of the score a joy. I would say this was exceptional. “An immersive audience experience” — meaning guests could choose to stand during the performance. Stage management dressed as cops moved audience members about as actors on risers performed — flawlessly without interference. At the end, actors danced with audience members after the final “formal” curtain call. An absolutely joyous experience where everyone walks out happy.
The magnificent bridge, seen after and before the performance
What to do until it was time to head to Heathrow for an overnight prior to our early flight the next day? Why, head to Harrod’s! One can certainly spend countless hours browsing the endless floors and rooms and departments. “Go big or go home” were both true with lunch at Gordon Ramsey Burger.
Terrific people watching accompanied the delicious food. My favorite was a woman with her four children who ranged in age (I’m guessing) maybe 13 down to 6. When we left, I made a point to compliment her on their behavior. Imagine a scene where kids all sit quietly (reading/drawing/talking) without a single electronic device to occupy them!! Extraordinary, especially today.
At Harrod’s in what many women also call “the promised land.” (No purchases in answer to your question)
We ended as we began, with a British Airways flight to Houston and a switch to United for the flight home. The hubby got to experience Wimbledon to celebrate his milestone birthday (early) and we both came away feeling extraordinarily grateful to again see and do so much.