Buckingham Palace offers fantastic value: provided you get your ticket endorsed as you leave, you can use it again as often as you want for a year. This week we set off to do just that. If you plan on doing the same, make sure you ring and book a slot first, turning up on spec could land you with a long wait as we found out. We chose not to wait instead made the most of a bright sunny day to ascend the campanile of nearby Westminster Cathedral.
Work started on the Catholic Cathedral in 1895, we couldn’t take a detailed look at the as yet unfinished interior as a service was in progress when we arrived. The views from the top of the 273-foot tower beckoned. Thankfully in 1929 a lift was installed meaning that we didn’t have to climb the 375 steps. Above us in the viewing gallery, and out of sight, hangs the bell Big Edward he weighs in at over two and half tons and is one of the biggest bells in the country. Maybe it was just as well he didn’t ring whilst we were up there!
Those of you who have been to Victoria Station recently will know that it is the scene of massive building works. We got a birds view of all those cranes and new buildings. The cityscape seemed unfamiliar from this new vantage point: Buckingham Palace was all but hidden behind the new buildings; Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the Shard all seemed to line up. Newest of all to me were the green copper domes that crown the roof of the Cathedral’s nave. Well worth the £12 family ticket.
On our return I read the Palace website and it makes it quite clear that ringing ahead to book your slot is advisable when reusing your ticket. Note to self ….. plan ahead.