UK Trip 2012, Day 5: The Changing of the Guard and Salisbury

Today we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, then headed out of London on a train journey to Salisbury—our next travel home to get a feel of smaller town England, and for a visit to Stonehenge. See the photo gallery here, or read on for more details and explanations.

After a final breakfast and use of the great cappuccino machine at B&B Belgravia, we headed out towards Buckingham Palace. We were actually staying within walking distance of the palace, so no tube rides this morning. The walk over took us past the Royal Mews, the Palace, and then down into St. James Park (which was quite beautiful). We were on a mission to avoid the huge crowds right at the palace gates, and instead see the new shift of guards walking down The Mall (a street running to the palace). We were initially confused about where to go (and blocked by some untimely construction), but a few detours across lawns and we made our way there.

As expected, even down by the Mall, there were tons and tons of tourists. The Buckingham Palace Guards and the Royal House Guards marched on by… and it was a bit underwhelming. Just a dozen guards or so, plus another 2 dozen bored looking workers keeping the tourists out of the road.

After that, it was back off on a mad dash through the tube towards Waterloo Station to make our train. The train ride was surprisingly nice and gave us our first glimpse of life outside the city center. We discovered that the primary crop of England appears to be copious amounts of mustard!

We arrived in Salisbury, which had the feel of a much smaller town, and decided to take it easy– Meg wasn’t feeling well, and so a rest at the new inn, the Spire House, sounded like a good idea. We ended up going down the road to a hotel called the White Hart to get an official English Afternoon Tea service (which, with scones, sandwiches, tea, and cake, was a bit too much for us to eat). Along the way to the hotel, we also got a chance to see some pretty gardens and the exterior of the Salisbury Cathedral, but it had already closed for the night. However, some of the statuary on the exterior was fascinating– like a sinner getting his tongue pecked out by a nasty looking crow.

We finished the night with a nearby pub dinner, and turned in early- our tickets to see Stonehenge were for 6:45 am the next day!

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