Collage #1 - Cardiff Castle and the Animal Wall, Cardiff, Wales
Actually we didn't see the castle proper so much as the South Wall, the Clock Tower and the Main Range. MsL. and I decided to use the price of admission to the castle for afternoon tea instead. The area where the castle is had been used as a defensive location since the 1st Century, while the actual castle was built starting in the 11th Century. My favorite part is the Animal Wall, the first nine animals were built in 1890 while the last six were added in 1931. The detail on the animals is amazing and something about the eyes makes them look almost real.
Collage #2 - Bute Park and the Pettigrew Tea Rooms, Cardiff, Wales
Bute Park is 130 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and parkland that once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle. Everything is so lush and GREEN. There were huge groves of trees, one section was different maples, another section was oaks, evergreen conifers, cypress, gingko, rowans, japanese maples the list is amazingly long. When a tree dies it's turned into a piece of art right where it grew. The tea room is this quaint, cozy, fun little place in the park to have a light lunch and a slice of home made cake. We had Blue Sky Green Tea with real rose petals and blue mallow blossoms - Delish!! The carrot cake was no slouch either.
Collage #3 - Formal Afternoon Tea the Park Lounge at the Milestone Hotel, Kensington, London
This one the one thing I wanted to do no matter what. I spent days online researching tea rooms until I found the exact ambiance I was looking for, everything was perfect from the doorman to the fancy conservatory to the French waiter - the best, completely unplanned part? it was within walking distance of our hotel. Everything was traditional English Afternoon Tea, fancy finger sandwiches - I'm glad we don't have grainary bread here or I'd be back to eating carbs, assorted yummy pastries - there was a custard with a crumble topping that was heavenly! (I know, I have a thing for the desserts), assorted flavored scones with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade preserves and a pot of tea - I had Traditional English, MsL. had White Silver Tips, and S&E had Black Currant and Lavender all were very tasty. Luckily we walked because we needed the exercise afterwards.
Collage #4 - Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff, Wales
I know I've blathered on about how much fun we had and how it was worth the extra three days so I'll just show a few photos... But, it was Awesome!
Collage #5 - Household Calvary Mounted Regiment - Horse Guards, Whitehall, London
The Household Calvary Mounted Regiment (HCMR) is horsed and carries out mounted and some dismounted ceremonial duties on State and Royal occasions or whenever required by the Monarch. They are divided into two regiments The Life Guards (in the red uniform) and The Blue and Royals. Don't let the fact that since most of their job is ceremonial that it isn't an honor to be chosen. The Guards had to keep control of their horse on a street filled with vehicles and strange people wandering about. There is a sign that says "Caution horses may bite or kick".
The following is from my friend Sacha, she knows lots of interesting tidbits.
The Guards: they are hard core, definitely not to be messed with. The horses are fully battle-trained (not that there are many mounted battles these days!) and the Guards' training equals any elite military force.