The Utterly Scrumptious Royal HorseGuards Hotel, King's Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4 a la Harry Potter  

Posted by Heidi


Our (meaning I and my lovely daughter who loves to travel but doesn't want to go alone so she takes me along--for freebies!) first full day in London (which was also our first full day in England) was coming to a close.  (You can read about our adventures earlier in the day at St. Paul's, touring around London in a coach, Westminster Abbey, and other delights by scrolling down and clicking on Other Posts.  You can scroll down even further to encounter my posts about our trip to Ireland last year.)  It had already been a long day but the evening had been set aside for my girl to choose whatever it was she wanted to do.  So, we hopped on to the top of a red double decker bus (wuz on her bucket list) and took the following photos on our way to the London Eye, an amazing ferris wheel (also on her bucket list). This building is called The Royal Courts of Justice.  It houses both the High Court and Court of Appeal for England and Wales.  Not sure why not Scotland or Northern Ireland but you can read more about it HERE if you have a mind to do so. 

 
 
Again, these photos were taken from the top of a double decker bus, through the window, with a point and shoot camera, by a point and shoot photographer.  (Just sayin') 
 
 
 The next photo (see below) was taken by someone else.  I found it on pinterest--I am sorry that I do not have the photographers name.  It is a stunning photo, the kind that makes me feel super insecure.  At any rate, I didn't put my name on it b/c that would be lying and wrong and taking credit for something (spectacular) that I didn't do and so wrong.  Which brings up the subject of why I put my name on the others.  It's not because I think my photos are so fantastic--I do it so that when I pin them from my blog onto Pinterest, people see my website addresses and hopefully get curious and visit my blog and official author website and maybe even buy or borrow (my books are all up for borrow at Amazon.com) my books.  (I am just a cold wretch in the depths of my heart.)
 
 
I love this photo because it shows a part of the building that we were not able to see from our perch in the bus.  Also, it is spectacular.  That is all. 
 



Another one of those lovely carved spire-thingies that are all over town.  Since we were on our own without a tour guide or a friend or even a working brain between us at this point, we have no idea what this means.  (Mea culpa.)


 Is this not the cutest restaurant?  Did we eat there?  No.  Were we hungry?  Yes.  But there was too much to see. You would like to know the cross streets so you can include it in your trip to London?  I couldn't tell ya.  (Mea culpa.)


This is the rather blurry view through the window of the bus that I was able to get of what is a restaurant of a hotel in this gorgeous Georgian building.  I believe the name starts with a C and it is rather like Cynthia.  But not quite.  (There ya go.)  (You're welcome.)


I have included this very similar shot because portrait style photos display better on Pinterest than do the landscape ones.  And I have to host my photos somewhere so that I can pin them.  (Cold hearted wretch that I am.)


This was my first glimpse (above) of a building that is now forever written on my heart.  However, I had no idea at the time that it belonged to the building I later saw--I only figured it out after looking at all the photos together.  However, I have known of this building for some time as it is where the Horse Guards were billeted during the Regency, (an era a know a little bit about) also known as the Napoleonic War years also known as the Jane Austen era.  (To be totally accurate, they were billeted in a building on this same site--ore thereabouts--I find it all very confusing and prefer to just enjoy it.) It is now the Royal Horseguards Hotel, built as luxury apartments in a French Chateau Style (methinks I need to go to France).  In spite of all of the research I had done, it still did not occur to me even once that we were in the area known as Whitehall.  (I know.)


After that lovely Rapunzel-style tower, we turned the corner and encountered these white walls and green trees and bushes and lots of grass and tons of black statues.  We were bemused and confused.  The place was so huge we couldn't make it all out at one time.  And there was no sign.  So, we left the sidewalk and entered into this magical world that separated us from our current place and time. 





As I said, there were many statues but we failed to read about any but one.  So, I fear I am ignorant as to the identity of this fine gentleman.  He looks smashing, however, against all of the white and green.



We wondered what kind of building it could be and what was its purpose.  It never occurred to us that it was a hotel, though these lovely umbrellas should have been our first clue.



This fine gentleman is William Tyndale, first translator of the New Testament into English from the Greek. 


Too bad about that orange cone in the background.  There is always a lot of improvements taking place in London so we saw a lot of scaffolding, etc., etc.  But I am not complaining.  I am all for an improved London. 


William Tyndale was executed by Henry the VIII in a rather cruel and grim way (click on his name to learn more about it should you wish to) because of his opposition to the King's marriage to Anne Boleyn.  Therefore, his last words refer to Henry.  The VIII.  Though Oliver Cromwell tried to save him.  Which puts me in mind of a truly stunning production about Oliver Cromwell called Wolf Hall by the BBC.  I highly recommend it.  Mark Rylance, who depicts Cromwell, is one of the most subtle and brilliant actors I have ever seen.  (He is also the most amazing actor seen by our half day tour guide at the Tower of London who has seen him on stage.  So, take the word of a Brit if you don't have any use for mine.)  (You're welcome.)



Once we had walked the length of the hotel, we stepped out from behind the foliage back onto the sidewalk.  I thought this colorful light post was worthy of photographic documentation. 


I also thought this example of road work/construction was worthy of a photo.  We saw so much of it whilst we were there.  In the background is the London Eye, our aim, our goal, our destination and we were no closer to it than we had been 15 minutes prior.  So, we turned around and went back the way we had come.  (It seemed like the thing to do.)


This, naturally, brought the Royal Horseguards Hotel (here is some info I compied off of Wikipedia should you wish to stay at this lovely establishment: The hotel is in Central London, just off the Embankment and Whitehall and near Trafalgar Square. The nearest tube station is Embankment and the nearest railway station is Charing Cross. The district that the hotel is located is called St. James's, and is amongst many UK government buildings, fronting the River Thames.)  again into our immediate purview.  This statue depicts Samuel Plimsoll who was, according to the placard, a friend to men of the sea of every country.   Never heard of him but he cuts a fine figure of a man's head in the above photo.

 
A last!  The London Eye! And yet, we were still across the Thames from it when this photo was taken.


We found our way onto the footbridge at "the embankment" after a rather unnerving elevator ride.  (I can't remember why it was unnerving, only that it was.)


The bridge afforded us a lovely view of Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament--the tall one being The House of Lords and the low, widespread one The House of Commons, a building that no royal person (such as, for example, Queen Elizabeth the Second) is allowed to enter because it is for the common people.  (True--at least so said our tour guide.)



I couldn't resist using my Photoshop "dry brush" app to achieve this look.  I think I shall print it up and have it framed.


The bridge afforded us a lovely view of many things, in fact.  This was the first time we were able to see the scrumptious hotel of which I have spoken (oft') from end to end, all at once.  I love the contrast of the colorful boat in front of it.


And here we have the Eye, and other well known London landmarks in one photo.  (I still can't believe I was there to see this in the flesh, in person, for reals, in real life, #youknowwhatimsayin)


And here are all three landmarks with a delightful addition.  Isn't she beautiful?  (And generous.)


Another view of said hotel.  I couldn't resist, though, because it shows more of it, all in one place.


I used the "poster edges" app for this one.  It is more impressive (and graphic-novelish) when it is englarged.


Love it!


And here is this absolute stunner. (Brace yourself for artistic renditions.)


Here it is in "dry brush".  This one is going on my wall.  Somewhere.  Or maybe my ceiling as my walls are so darn full.


Here it is as "poster edges".  (I have removed the "paint daubs" and "Palette knife" renditions to spare my viewers aggravation--but look on the detail on this one--stunning!)


Another shot of the London Eye.  And this, I am afraid, is as close as we got to it.  We saw how long the line was and were shocked when we realized there was a line just to give your ticket and get into the first line we saw.  So, we went to buy tickets and *that* line was even longer than the others.  By the time we got our ticket, the whole thing would have been shut down.  I felt incredibly guilty since this was one of the main things my daughter wanted to do.  (Bad momma who lingered too long at the scrumptious hotel.)



So, after finding some grub (gluten free granola bars and some fruit) we got back onto the bus.  I love the above photo for the juxtaposition of the verbiage--how great is that? 


This is another hotel we sped past called Hotel Russell.  Since I have a sister with that surname, I felt it important to document.  Also, it's lovely.  Also, there is a guy in a top hat and tails on the front steps.  One does not see that every day in California. 



Our next destination was King's Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4.  For those who have read Harry Potter, you will know exactly what this means.  (For those who haven't, why should you care?)  The above building is the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel (oh my gosh!  I can't believe I spelled renaissance correctly on my first go!).  Below is someone else's photo that I found on Pinterest so that you can have a better idea of what this Victorian treasure is all about.


Below is the train station.  Isn't it amaze?  And adorbs?  Yes, it is--totes.  (The sign says King's Cross and St. Pancras Underground Station.)


This is basically what it looks like inside.  There are lots of shops and restaurants and it is all quite lovely; a great place to begin or end a journey.


We made our way down to the end, a place found between platforms 9 and 10, also known as platform 9 and 3/4s.  They have a darling set up (see below) where you can get your photo taken with your cart full of your luggage going through the wall.  The long scarf she is wearing will be held up and out (the person holding it out of camera range) and the girl will lift up her leg and lean into the cart.  The result will be a photo that resembles someone plunging through the wall at high speed.  Since the line was very long and because we aren't children, for Pete's Sake (and because we were anxious to get to all of the toys in the Harry Potter store next door) we opted out of having our photo taken here.


The light was low and the photographer not the best so these could be better.  I am sure you can find much better online and on Pinterest.  You could still take a peek though--it can't hurt.



This wand cabinet was full all the way down to the ground--very impressive.  It was also swamped down to the ground with people so I cut them out of the photo.  (Mea culpa.)



It was a fun place.  After we made our modest purchases (my daughter picked up some items for her brothers) we did some window shopping.  I can't tell you how long I have wanted a Quidditch Racing Broom. 


We had some gelato (all gelato is called ice cream in England--I don't think they realize there is a difference) at some little place outside the station where I snapped this photo (above).  Before that, we sat in the station as my daughter ate her meat pasty, something I have wanted to try for centuries but which does not come gluten free.  It was torture. (I think I even put my head down on the table and wept a little.  My daughter may or may not have photographic evidence of this.)  I include this photo for one reason--so you can see the interesting paint job on the arches of what is a second (?) St. Pancras Station.  I found a photo on Pinterest that shows the whole thing.  Based on what was said as a caption to this photo (that this station is one of the most magical places in all of London) I am very sad that I spent even one minute in the Harry Potter store instead of here.  (In fact, when I read about it, I might or might not have put my head down on the desk and wept a little.)


When we were across from this mighty edifice, it was nearly this dark.  If we had walked over there and checked it out, we could have gotten a photo like this one.  (Still crying.) 
SO!  I have finally delivered the Royal Horseguards Hotel, one of my favorite buildings of all time.  Next time-- STONEHENGE.  (And probably some other stuff I can't recall at the mo.)

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at Thursday, September 03, 2015 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Another wonderful 'tour of London' post, Heidi. I felt almost as if I was there with you! You and your daughter made some unforgettable memories. (Did you bring home the racing broom?)

September 4, 2015 at 6:59 AM

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