Beautiful Royal Berkshire – England UK

Between our crazy day-trips into London, The Travel Bees have been enjoying the winter landscapes of Royal Berkshire where we are staying.

Christmas Day stroll

We have had relaxed strolls in the country side, explored river locks, enjoyed proper English pubs, met squirrels and sipped on mulled wine. The weather has been chilly and wet but not freezing like it was a few weeks ago and it certainly has not stopped us from doing anything.

Boulter’s lock Maidenhead
Squirrel! Novelty for Aussie kids, pest for locals!

Yesterday, we ventured to the most famous Royal Berkshire landmark, Windsor Castle. We started our adventure via The Long Walk, truly the best way to approach the castle. The weather was glorious and we were able to appreciate the castle’s commanding presence as we made our way towards the 11am Changing of the Guards.

The long walk – Windsor

Always a wonderful ceremony to watch, Changing of the Guard is something truely unique to the British Royal family and well worth seeing. We had a great spot along the edge of the road as the band and soldiers made their way up towards the castle. Secretly the Travel Bee children were rather impressed, although too cool to let on.

Changing of the guard

After grabbing a coffee, we joined the queue to enter the castle and were pleasantly surprised at how much better organised it was than the Tower of London. Within ten minutes we were through security and in the gates.

As most of our party had been to the castle before and because something major has happened since, we all made a beeline 😂 for St George’s Chapel to pay our respects to the Queen.

St George’s chapel

Although there was a line, the crowd respectfully filed their way through the chapel and past the stone ledger marking the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth II. In turn we each took a moment to remember her and reflect on her life of dedication and duty.

In actual fact, it is a very interesting time to visit the UK. All the guards and staff at both the Tower of London and Windsor Castle still remain in uniforms dedicated to the Queen (E II R). Clive our Yeoman at the tower explained new uniforms could not be ordered until the Royal period of mourning and the public period of mourning were complete. The sheer volume of uniforms required is huge (3 per guard). This combined with current supply issues means it is taking a while to complete the order. They are expecting to change over to the King’s uniform (C III R) in around six weeks time.

After a wander through the state rooms, we joined the throngs of people milling around Windsor and attempted to find some lunch. This proved to be difficult with restaurants and cafes either full or out of food. We managed to find a few pizzas which filled a hole before discovering the cutest ever building for rent.

Travel Bee headquarters perhaps?


‘Mind the gap’ – London UK

Anyone who has been on the tube in London will know the announcement ‘Mind the gap’, warning passengers of the gap between the train and the platform. Yesterday it was about the only gap we came across. London was packed!

We started our day at The Tower of London. Aunty Travel Bee had kindly pre-booked all our activities for the day. Even still, we had to wait, and…. wait, in the rain. This was the mother of all queues.

Tower of London queue umbrellaed by London sky

I must say, it was a bit disconcerting knowing thousands were being crammed in the gate and that we all wanted to see the same things. Nevertheless, there was nothing to be done about it so we shuffled our way along. Once we entered, we picked up a Yeoman tour.

Clive our Yeoman, lead us to the chapel where not only were there chairs, but underfloor heating! Such relief from the dreary London weather (thank you Queen Victoria for insisting on this upgrade). He then entertained us with the history of the tower, it’s Kings, stories of beheaded Queens and other notable executions. It was well worth waiting for and definitely the quickest way to get an understanding of what the tower is all about.

Residences of the tower protected by the King’s guard

After, we wandered through the courtyards to White tower where we discovered the ‘Line of Kings’ and displays of all their armour. You could have spent hours reading about each King and their endeavours but instead we flowed with the crowd, occasionally breaking free to read something that took our fancy. A favourite for Miss 12 was the dragon on the top level made from leftover pieces of armour!

Unfortunately, the crowds were just too big and we had to make the decision to forgo seeing the Crown Jewels (the queue looked to be at least an hour wait) along with many of the other attractions at the tower. We needed to head to our next booking and Master 15 was……….. you guessed it……. hungry.

Back on the tube and across town, we had just enough time to fill our tummies before heading into Wyndham Theatre for a matinee showing of Life of Pi. Built in 1899, this small, intimate theatre is a beautiful example of a quintessential West End theatre.

Wyndham Theatre

Before watching this show, I knew very little about Life of Pi. The only thing I did know, was it was a story about a boy befriending a tiger. One had to wonder how on earth there would be a tiger on stage!

It turned out puppetry was the answer and wow was it clever. Each animal was operated by three puppeteers partially inside the puppet, one at the head, another the ‘heart’ and the third at the tail. Within twenty minutes you didn’t even notice them and focused only on the animal.

Between the puppets and the set, this truely was a spectacle of theatrical craft and imagination. We were astonished at how the stage itself transformed into an ocean. The story although slightly gruesome in parts, was quite thought provoking and enjoyed by all.

From here we finished the evening with a meal at Côte (French restaurant chain) near Bond street. The pulled pork was sublime disappearing from Miss 12 and Master 15’s plate rather quickly, as did the chocolate crepe for dessert.

So after visiting eight different tube stops, walking 10100 steps, climbing around 1000 steps and riding around 12 escalators we made it through a second day in London. Nan Travel Bee kept up the whole way and we managed not to lose anyone! Success!

Tube escalators are huge!