Every tourist visits Buckingham Palace, and although we visited in 2001 when we first arrived, we felt it was time to visit again, and re-evaluate our first awed impressions, in the light of all the marvellous palaces we have seen.
Even after visiting such marvels as Pushkin Palace in Russia, we still felt the Buckingham Palace experience is a cut above the rest. The State rooms are stunning, with amazing detail, yet tasteful. Every room is fully furnished, and currently in use for State occasions, which does elevate it above the 'Museum status' of the others we have visited.
George IV is largely responsible for its opulence, and we have always been fascinated by this particular monarch.
As tax payers, we now get our £17 ticket converted into an annual pass. This seems amazingly good value, but it remains to be seen how many times we re-visit.
Today's visit had a celebration of the Queen's Year, as an additional exhibition. Following this was the Investiture Room, containing an exhibition showing the Commonwealth Mace, which is covered in the flags of all the Commonwealth countries. We were delighted to discover the NZ flag was prominently positioned on the front. Also part of the display were the NZ merit awards.
This year for the first time, a cafe was available, and we enjoyed sitting in the sun, feasting on a delicious (and fattening) afternoon tea. The Palace is set in 30 acres, and although photos were forbidden inside, we were able to take photos from the gardens as we walked to the exit.