London 2007 – Buckingham Palace and Westminster

Heh… In case you have not guessed it from yesterday, I’m going to write about London. This will be the last group of blog posts I do on my time in the UK in 2007.

To be honest, I almost did not want to write about this capital city of the UK. In fact, I might still regret doing it. You see, unlike the other cities, I am 120% sure that London has changed A LOT since 2007. Especially after the Olympics in 2008 2012. I’m not sure if what I show here would still be relevant as of today or not. I mean, I know, this is my blog, I can write what I want, but I thought I should try my best to write only about places that still exist today, at time of writing.

So that’s what I will do. I will only write about tourist attractions that I’m sure is still there as we speak. And it will only be tourist attractions. We were conventional tourists when we were in London. We ONLY hit the tourist attractions. We had no time for the back alleys and hidden nooks and crannies.

I guess we’ll see what happens as we progress through the posts…


The first place I want to write about is (I think) probably the most famous tourist attraction in London, the Buckingham Palace.

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Buckingham Palace

In case you do not know, the Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British monarch. You can say our Istana Negara is the Malaysian equivalent of this palace.

This was the most crowded place that we have visited during our stint in London. It was bad enough that it was also the only place that we had to visit two times. TWO TIMES. Because the first morning we came, we could hardly get a peek inside the palace gates.

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Bad view

So we came much earlier the next morning. I think we made the right decision, because this time we got to see some marching procession by fancy uniformed brigades. I’m not sure if this is their daily change of guards routine, or if it was something that only happens on special occasion. I think we lucked out on our second visit.

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I was impressed to see police on horseback doing crowd control…

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But I got even more impressed when I got to see up close, a cavalry squad marching down the street, into the palace. They looked very different from the Malay cavalry regiment, and very cool in their own way.

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When I said we lucked out, I mean us guys lucked out. You see, the girls were actually not interested with the cavalry or the change of guards. They were more interested to stalk Prince William and Prince Harry. In 2007 Prince William was still a bachelor and both the princes were still stunningly handsome if you know what I mean. But on both days they had no such luck to catch any glimpse of the princes being out and about. Actually they were both not even in England at that time.

Let’s move on from the palace. Buckingham Palace is located in an area called Westminster, and the palace is not the only attraction this area has to offer. A short walk down the street and we found ourselves facing another very famous building.

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Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is probably the most famous church in the UK. This is where the coronation and royal weddings take place since almost 1000 years ago. Yes, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage took place here too. This is also the burial site for the British royalty and many famous persons throughout the ages.

If you have read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you probably recognize this place. Yes, this is where Sir Isaac Newton was interred (buried). This is where Robert Langdon deciphered the last piece of the Priory of Sion puzzle.

It was too bad because we did not get to go inside for a look. We arrived at a time when they seemed to be having some sort of a service or something. People were queuing up to go in for prayers. I think we would’ve been allowed to go in anyway, but it would be a bad idea to snap photos here and there when people are doing their prayers, wouldn’t it? To make matters worse, the entrance was not free of charge. It was £9 (that was in 2007, I don’t know what’s the admission fee now).

Paying £9 to go into a church to watch a mass prayer seemed like a pretty bad idea, so we did the only sensible thing. We just took photos outside, and left.

On our way to the next destination, we walked pass the Parliament Square and saw these…

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It was an interesting sight for us. In 2007, public demonstrations were still a foreign idea to us Malaysians, laced with terrifying threats and unspeakable danger. So to see a public square where people are allowed to set up camp and do whatever it is they wanted to do, without being harassed by the authorities, was both unsettling and interesting to us.

Another 50 meters down the street from Parliament Square and we have arrived at our next destination. Another world famous building, or rather, world famous tower. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Big Ben!

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This Big Ben is actually attached to a bigger building. I believe most people think the Big Ben refers to the entire building. Wrong! Big Ben is just the clock tower. The entire building complex is called the Palace of Westminster. This palace houses the parliament of the United Kingdom (both House of Commons and House of Lords). It is where the most important decisions affecting the country are made.

It is also the de facto introductory backdrop for any Hollywood movies (any non-British movies actually) with scenes involving London.

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I guess it makes sense. This building is the most iconic looking landmark for London. When you see that Big Ben, you will confirm sure it is London. Not even Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey could has that confirm sure effect.

Because it is so iconic, it deserves to be the ending for my first post on London. Here, I’ll give you another shot on how the Palace of Westminster and the Big Ben looks like during sunset. We came back in the evening just for this view.

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Lovely, isn’t it?


Trivia: Confirm sure – Malaysian way of saying confirmed beyond a single shred of doubt. More confirmed than confirmed, you know…

32 Comments

  1. London may have changed a lot since the Olympics, but these landmarks will always be popular, no matter how much time as passed.
    So awesome that you were at the right place at the right time for the parade and the changing of the guards.

    • I think the changing of guards is normal, but the parade is not. Not sure when or on what occasion would they perform that.

  2. It sounded like all of you had fun visiting the tourist attractions. Well, early bed captures the worm and it must have been an experience seeing the parade and changing of the guards – for the guys, at least. To be honest, apart from Big Ben, those other tourist attractions don’t seem to faze me 😐

  3. I was wondering why you you used the phrase “confirm sure” as that’s not proper English hah..hah.. just for illustration:D

    So, you didn’t get to see the Queen, eh?

  4. London!! I was there in the year 1983, you were not even born yet? 🙂 That was my first overseas trip and so looking back at your pictures bring back old memories… I think London doesn’t change much… but I heard there are no more pigeons at the Trafalgar Square anymore? Best time is to go touring at a younger age, more stamina and adventurous!

    • You’re right. There’s no more pigeons in Trafalgar Square. I was there in 2007 and there were none already. 😐

  5. Ei, I wasn’t expecting this post so fast leh…I thought you were just sifting through the photos yesterday??! You write very fast. Anyway, Prince William is handsome (coz he looks like the mother) but not the other prince (well, we know who he looks like)…kekeke! I wonder if you meant the girls….no suck luck (to rub it in that it sucked that they had no luck since the princes weren’t there) or that’s a typo error 😀 Huh? Got to pay admission fee to enter a church? O_o

    • Oh, another typo. D*mn! No such luck… This is what happens when I typed too fast!

      Well, that church is a tourist attraction. Same goes to St Peter’s Basilica. I think you can enter for free if you are a member or something. But we were not, so..

  6. I agree on writing about main tourist attractions (and food), if we are not sure whether that place still exists.. Ahhh, although I’m jakun, I heard of the Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, they STILL exist, haha..Uikks, confirm sure? Like SK said, I always only hear – double confirm..

    • Zzzz double confirm is not a Malaysian slang at all. Even the Americans use it, so it does not need special attention XD …

  7. I think you have been to more tourist attractions in London than I have. The way you wrote it, it seems like you have seen the changing of guards here at our local palace. There’s a typo in sentence 2 – I think the “by” should be “be” in “will by”. Nothing major, just thought I would let you know since I spotted it.

    • This is just the first post and already you think I have been to more places than you. Gee… if this is real, then I really feel pity for you. You really did not go do any sightseeing? 😐 …

      I’ve seen it once before, the Istana Negara one, but that was many many years ago. I don’t even remember much about it, except for the fact that I’ve seen it before. When I said the cavalry is different, I compare them with the ones we have here during the Merdeka procession hahaha! 😛

      Thanks for the typo alert!

      • I did go to all the places main tourist attractions when I was with a kl reliance tour to London but I don’t remember any of them like you do so for me same as I didn’t go lah. On my own I went to many local london places including to eat jellied eel at http://www.manze.co.uk that I took a bus there on my own. Then I just walk around london along the river and went into.the art gallery

        • I mean Tate art gallery and back in 2012 I don’t take food photos so I don’t have any photos to remind me of the places I have been so almost all forgotten now and with no photos = never been. 🙁

  8. confirm sure?? haha, I actually have not heard that before.. instead what I hear more often is double confirm, and another one that I once heard that I find more interesting is “confirm plus (double) chop“, haha!! xD

  9. i wonder when i could get to London and visit these famous tourist spots…Our weakened Ringgit only drag me further from my wish. Btw, both the princes were not in England back in 2007? where were they?

    • I only knew much later when I read from somewhere. Prince Harry was in Canada for some military training at that time, but I forgot where Prince William was..

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