London trip to the Canadian Embassy

The back of Buckingham Palace
The back of Buckingham Palace

A few months back I booked tickets to look around the newly refurbished Canadian Embassy, it was on a Friday so we had booked a day off. We got the first off peak train from Berkhamsted, which was packed, Helen reckons it was the first time she had had to stand on a train to London, thankfully it was a fast one so we only had to stand for 30 minutes. we arrived and there was lots of police with guns at Euston so we figured out which bus we needed then got a 73 to Buckingham palace.

We arrived at the palace a little early our tickets were for 12 o’clock so we headed away from the tourists and found a cafe full of builders where I had a cherry tart and an americano they were both very nice. When we went back to the palace there was band outside the palace playing the Happy chart hit from a couple of years ago. Back at entrance C we were allowed into an ante tent where we could wait for the security search. It was not a long wait and the security was swift unlike Luton Airport.

A room in the Canadian Embassy
A room in the Canadian Embassy

Suitably checked out we headed into the one way tour of the palace, for which a commentary iPod/MP3 player was provided. There were a lot of people going round so it was difficult to get close to the exhibits but we saw enough, and I felt that there was plenty to see, and would recommend it to anyone. Eventually we came to the back entrance where we walked out to an area with a cafe and the palace gardens. We were again in a one-way path to the exit, but we were now allowed to take photo’s. At the exit we signed up for the year long pass as I think it may be useful to return in the winter when there may not be so many people.

Just up the road from the exit we got a bus to Piccadilly then walked to but stopped off at an Italian restaurant chain called Prada where I had a half decent Pescatori Pizza and we shared a bottle of water. Whilst eating lunch I checked the tickets it was from 15:00 till 16:00 we both had it in mind that it was at 16:00. Our plans changed instead of going to an exhibition we thought we would be able to go straight from the exhibition and make it to Euston to get the last train before a wait till 19:00 would be required due to the off-peak tickets we had. We headed to Trafalgar Sq, but we were a little early (there is a theme emerging here), so we dropped into the special exhibition about how good Canada were at detecting Neutrinos and cosmic rays. We had to have our bags x-rayed again before we were allowed in.

Window at the top of the Canadian Embassy
Window at the top of the Canadian Embassy

The exhibition was small and we were finished by 14:40 and headed o the other entrance where we met a woman with a clipboard doing security, she was insistent that our names should be on the list before we could be let in, the trouble was the site where I booked the two tickets did not ask for may name it just used the account details I had previously given them. Helen was not on the list, I tried to explain that there was a column for quantity on the form on her clipboard but she was having none of it. A member of the embassy staff intervened and we were let in and the situation explained to the clipboard monitor. We were then scanned and x-rayed again to get into the building for a second time.

View from the top floor of the Canadian Embassy
View from the top floor of the Canadian Embassy

We sat around for a while and the same member of staff came over and started the tour by first giving us a bit of history abut the building which used to be a gentleman’s club before Canada even existed. The tour was very informative there was a lot of art to see, carpets made from art designs and furniture made from Canadian wood, there was at least one room for each Canadian province. We were lucky that there were no conferences or talks going on so we got to see all the rooms, including the ones on the top floor where we sampled honey harvested that day from the roof top bee hive and then we were allowed on the roof terrace to have a look at the view and take picture of Trafalgar Sq.

Once the tour was finished we headed straight for the tube which Helen had agreed to brave to save time. It was very hot but we did make the  1630 train got a seat and had time to stop for a bottle of water. We got home tired but felt we had had a great day out, it beats going to work!