London: The Royal Mews

#royalmewsLooking for a family friendly activity on a rainy London day? You might consider the Royal Mews located just next to Buckingham Palace! Having visited London a number of times over the years we’d already checked off many of the city’s main tourist attractions, and found ourselves unable to agree on an activity. I settled on the Royal Mews as we’d never been before, in fact, not exactly sure what a mews was, it hadn’t really ever been a contender.

#royalmews

#royalmews

I have to admit even with my love of all things royal, I still wasn’t sure I was all that interested in what seemed to be a stable of some sort, but Elliot loves animals, its part of Buckingham Palace and it would be something new. I’m so glad we went!

As I mentioned it was raining, so after ducking into Crosstown Doughnuts in SoHo for a quick bite we set off for the Royal Mews via the underground. In what turned out to be a very happy accident we got off at the wrong stop just in time to see the Queen’s soldiers marching down the street on their way back from the Changing of the Guard! Super neat!

#changingoftheguardNot one for parades or standing around trying to see over the very tall person that always stands in front of me in large crowds, we’d never even bothered to try and see the guard ceremony before, so another first! I highly recommend seeing it via happy accident!

#changingoftheguard

The Royal Mews is responsible for the transport of the Queen and other members of the royal family via horse drawn carriage and motor car. Unfortunately we just missed the guided tour, but found the 45 minute audio guide to be quite adequate and enjoyed moving along at our own pace. During the visit you’ll be able to view many of the carriages including the Scottish and Irish State coaches, the Diamond Jubilee Coach, and the Gold State Coach,  as well as motor cars, and even some of the Queens horses.

The Scottish State Coach

Built in 1830 the Scottish State Coach and is used only periodically. The Queen used it to carry her to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

#scottishstatecoach

The Irish State Coach

The Irish State Coach’s main use is to carry the monarch to the State Opening of Parliament.

London England

The Diamond Jubilee Coach

The Diamond Jubilee Coach was first used in 2014 to celebrate’s the Queen’s Diamond jubilee celebration. Not only is this a beautiful coach, but I was fascinated to learn that the coach is made from over 100 donated items from Britain’s historic sites, including 10 Downing Street, The Mary Rose (Henry VIII’s flagship), and a British lead musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo.

#diamond Jubilee Coach

The Gold State Coach

The Gold State Coach was commissioned in 1762 and has been used in every coronation since George IV. Due to its size and weight it requires 8 horses to pull it.

#royalmews

 

Royal Motor Cars

All of the state and semi-state cars are painted claret and black.

About halfway along the tour you’ll find a lovely little children’s room where we stopped to do a craft and play a children’s game. During our visit we learned that the Queen names all the horses herself and that the employees both live and work at the Mews. Making it not just a place of work, but a community as well.

I highly recommend a visit to the Royal Mews we all really enjoyed ourselves, and of course seeing all those horse drawn carriages really appealed to me, I won’t lie I was digging the whole fairly tale thing…

Practical Information

#royalmewsgiftshop

The visit takes place both indoors and out, so jackets are a good idea, but is entirely sheltered from the weather making it a great option for a rainy day. Keep in mind there is airport style security, (it is part of Buckingham Palace after all) so the less stuff you bring with you the quicker you’ll get through security. There isn’t any food or drink allowed, or for sale, but there is a lovely gift shop at the end which I enjoyed quite a bit!

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