An Unforgettable ride awaits on the Royal Windsor Steam Express
Recommended| Royal Windsor Steam Express
Sit back, relax, and let the meditation of steam travel take you through masterpieces of art as you pass through countrysides. Enjoy an unforgettable ride onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express to one of UK’s most popular destinations, the town of Windsor, Berkshire.
About Royal Windsor Steam Express
The Royal Windsor Steam Express is managed by The Steam Dreams Rail Co. Since its inception in 1999, the Company has been making dreams come true for steam train lovers! They have been running services with practical itineraries to popular Cathedral cities, beautiful coastal towns and gardens in the UK. Also on offer are some incredible holidays to The Highlands and Islands with Flying Scotsman and the Emerald Isle Craic Express.
The Royal Windsor Steam Express takes you through beautiful countryside while experiencing exceptional dining options.
Your journey onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express is one-way, giving you the flexibility to spend as much time in Windsor as you like.
A little about Windsor, Berkshire
Located on the River Thames in the southeast of England, Windsor has a rich mix of history, culture, heritage, and fun. Windsor is best known for its historical links to the British royal family. Towering over the town of Windsor is Windsor Castle, home to the British monarchy and the largest inhabited castle in the world. Built as a fortress to protect London, the royal castle is now a stately retreat of Queen Elizabeth II.
Things to do in Windsor – An overview
Visit the royal castle and learn about the castle’s 900 years of history. Marvel at the splendour of the State Apartments, renowned as the grandest apartments in England. There are paintings by Van Dyck and Rubens that hang from the walls. The ceilings are painted with elaborate, magnificent murals.
Pause a little while at St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018. The chapel is also the final resting place of departed kings and queens from England’s illustrious history. These include Henry VIII, Charles I, and now Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Later, take a stroll to Eton. Visit the grounds of its College – one of the largest secondary schools in the country and amongst the most prestigious.
Aside from the castle, there’s much more to see and do, including visiting the award-winning Savill Garden, taking a guided tour of the town’s numerous cobbled streets and Tudor buildings, or enjoying a walk along the river.
What to expect from the Royal Windsor Steam Express Train Ticket activity
Your journey onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express is one-way. You shall begin your journey from London Victoria. The route pass some of London’s famous landmarks including Chelsea Bridge, The Royal Hospital, and Battersea Power Station. Head towards the leafy suburbs, crossing the Thames and passing reservoirs and lakes to reach Windsor and Eton Riverside Station.
After spending an amazing day exploring Windsor, return to London from Windsor and Eton Riverside onboard the South Western Railways. Your destination in London is London Waterloo Station .
Your return ticket is flexible, and can be used anytime on the same day. This gives you as much time you need to explore the town of Windsor independently at your own pace.
Classes of Travel on the Royal Windsor Steam Express
Select between First Class or Standard outbound ticket.
A ride on The Royal Windsor Steam Express is a unique railway experience that offers two classes of travel to suit your occasion and budget.
First Class or Standard Class passengers may order from a range of delicious snacks or hot and cold drinks.
First Class travel on the Royal Windsor
First Class passengers are automatically seated on tables for 4 so you may be seated with other passengers if you have less than 4 in your party.
Food and drinks may be purchased on-board. You are also welcome to bring your own food, drink or hampers on board.
Standard Class travel on the Royal Windsor Steam Express
Passengers who opt to travel in Standard class will be seated in 1960s open carriages with large picture windows. The carriage has individual seating (as opposed to bench style seating) around tables of four.
Food and drinks may be purchased on-board. You are also welcome to bring your own food, drink or hampers on board.
What does Royal Windsor Steam Express Train Ticket activity include?
This experience onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express is brought to you via Get Your Guide, Trusted Partners of Timeless Travel Steps.
The following Information is from Get Your Guide:
There are three options to starting time:
7:30 A.M. | 10:30 A.M. | 1:30 P.M.
1 | One-way steam train journey from London to Windsor and Eton Riverside;
2 | Reserved seats aboard the steam train;
3 | Flexible return train ticket in standard class from Windsor to London on South Western Railways.
What you need to know before you go on this trip:
Meet the representative at the booked time outside Hotel Chocolat on the main station concourse by platform 7;
Refreshments are available for purchase onboard;
This tour is unescorted;
The outbound steam train departs from London Victoria Station;
Return train is with South Western Railways;
Your return train arrives at London Waterloo Station;
Please note that your return train ticket is flexible but must be used on the same day;
Not suitable for wheelchair users.
COVID-19 Special information – Masks are required, please bring your own.
Note: Windsor Castle is closed to visitors every Tuesday and Wednesday in 2021
On a final note
The most stylish way to travel to Windsor is onboard the Royal Windsor and is available to book now.
From £56.00** > Outbound Royal Windsor Steam Express from Victoria Station, London + flexible return journey on the same day onboard standard South Western Railways to Waterloo Station London.
Tower of London is a fascinating landmark in the heart of the city that attracts millions of visitors a year but we are living in uncertain times these days. As means to keep you informed with inspiring stories of the iconic Tower, “What goes on in the Tower of London” brings together a set of TV series by the Historic Royal Palaces for you to view at your leisure – hear the stories on what goes on in the Tower from the very people who live, manage and are the heartbeat of the traditions at this magnificent Tower of London.
Quick facts about the Tower of London:
Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB | London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Area: 16 acres
White Tower: Height: 27 metres (89ft);
Expansion: Inner Ward: 1190s, rebuilt 1285;
Guard: Yeoman Warders;
Managed: Historic Royal Palaces (charity)
Learn more on What goes on in the Tower of London from these TV series by Historic Royal Palaces : Available to view until June 18 2025
Click on the images
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 1
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 2
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 3
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 4
TOWER OF LONDON
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For more inspiring stories on London and on the History of Britain, you may like to read the following on the blog:
Beauchamp Tower London is one of the many hidden gems beyond the walls of the fortress of Tower of London. The Tower of London is an iconic landmark and significant in English history, which famously carried the tag ‘a fortress, a palace and a prison’ The Tower occupies an area of 18 acres along the Thames River in London and attracts almost 2.86 million visitors each year. The Beauchamp Tower played a key role in the history of the Tower of London as residence to high-ranking prisoners. This article takes you on a brief journey of its historical significance and the beautiful graffiti at Beauchamp Tower London which were left by these prisoners that you may find in this historical gem if you were to visit Beauchamp today.
Beauchamp Tower is easily missed as visitors seem focused on the White Tower and the Jewel Tower. Moreover, if you are limited to time, you may give Beauchamp a miss but I suggest that Beauchamp is worth a visit and deserving of a place on your list.
I discovered Beauchamp Tower on my visit as I retraced my footsteps in London. I have been to Tower of London many times before but had never visited this tower. I learnt so much of historic England from my visit here which I share with you here.
Beauchamp, pronounced as “beecham” is one of the twenty-one towers at the Tower of London and forms part of the inner defensive wall of Tower of London. It was built between 1275 and 1281 towards the end of the first leg of modernisation of the Tower, under the reign of King Edward I.
Built mostly of brick, but with stone externally, the tower takes its name from its first prisoner, Thomas Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick. Thomas Beauchamp was imprisoned here in 1397 by Richard II.
The tower’s close proximity to the Lieutenant’s lodgings (now, the Queen’s House) made Beauchamp Tower a significant and a perfect place throughout history to accommodate high-ranking important prisoners.
Amongst the important prisoners at Beauchamp were John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and his four sons. One of the sons was Guildford Dudley, the husband to Lady Jane Grey. Here’s a brief look at the Dudleys and Lady Jane Grey.
About the Dudleys
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland was imprisoned at the Beauchamp Tower along with his four sons because he wanted his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey to be Queen of England.
John Dudley and his sons were condemned as traitors in 1553. He was executed for treason at Tower Hill on August 22, 1553. Guilford Dudley, husband to Lady Jane was executed in February 1554. Following his execution, the three brothers were pardoned and released.
About Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey was born in 1837 in Leicester, England. She was the great-grand-daughter of King Henry VII. Her life began with great promise and high expectations but ended tragically, due in part to the political and religious upheavel that existed during this time.
Lady Jane inherited the throne from Edward VI and was Queen of England for just nine days. She was deposed by Catholic Mary I, on July 19, 1553 and was imprisoned in the Queen’s House.
On the morning of 12 February, 1554, from her window, Lady Jane watched her young husband, Guildford Dudley, leave Beauchamp Tower for his execution at Tower Hill, and his headless body return for burial at the Tower Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.
Later, on the very same day, Lady Jane was executed at Tower Green. She was seventeen years old.
About Guildford Dudley
Guildford Dudley, born in 1535 was an English nobleman who married Lady Jane Grey in an elaborate celebration about six weeks before the death of King Edward VI. Guildford and Jane spent their brief rule together at the Tower of London until they were condemned to death for high treason, thereafter in separate quarters.
On the morning of their execution, Guildford requested to see Lady Jane one last time. Jane refused, saying:
“would only … increase their misery and pain, it was better to put it off … as they would meet shortly elsewhere, and live bound by indissoluble ties.”
Guildford Dudley was executed at Tower Hill on the morning of February 12, 1554.
Other prisoners at Beauchamp TowerLondon
Other notable prisoner at Beauchamp Tower was Lady Jane Rochford, lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. Lady Rochford’s confession was instrumental in the tragic death of Catherine Howard. Her interrogation drove her insane and she was executed on the same day as Queen Catherine on February 13, 1542.
As the tower was used throughout English history as a prison, there were other prisoners as well such as William Tyrrel and Thomas Peverel. Most recently, it accommodated several German spies during the World Wars.
What makes Beauchamp Tower London famous these days is the discovery of graffiti beneath the many layers of history on its walls. These graffiti on the wall were left by prisoners.
The inscriptions were made during the 16th and 17th century when the religious and political turmoil was at a height and the prison was home to many high-ranking and important prisoners such as the Dudleys, William Tyrrel and Thomas Peverel. Some of these inscriptions are bold reflecting painstaking carving while others are thin and somewhat spidery. They are a few that seem to cluster in specific locations of the Tower.
These sombre inscriptions represents thoughts of the prisoners and a powerful need to leave some form of record of their existence. A record, so they are not lost forever. It is an assertion of their beliefs and identity but above all, a strong will of defiance not to be cowed by political and religious tyranny. Some prisoners were held in gloomy cells, while others could move freely within the Tower grounds. Their treatment and fate depended on their social status and their crime.
*Lady Jane Grey was given access to the garden in December 1553.
Timeless Travel Stepssays: When I visited, there were a number of people here so I could not take a closer look at the graffiti. I am intrigued by these inscriptions and am motivated to discover more on this part of history at the Tower of London.
One thing to bear in mind when visiting here is the narrow entrance and the narrow spiral stairway – there is only one of these, so visitors going up as well as those exiting the exhibition use it. If you are at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for the moment to get up – don’t! Don’t wait because you shall be waiting for a long time (like I did!) and others behind you will get ahead of you regardless of your politeness!
Entry to the permanent exhibition in the Beauchamp Tower is included in the entry ticket to the Tower of London. It is reasonably priced at £25.00 and is valid for one day – take a look here.
Learn more about Beauchamp Tower from this book: In Inscriptions and Devices, in the Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London
Published by the British Library, the book contains a short historical sketch of the building, and the prisoners formerly confined therein: collected from State papers, records, and other authentic sources: by W. R. Dick.
I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and have found it valuable towards planning your visit to Beauchamp Tower. Do share your thoughts in comments below.
The Tower of London is vast and offers a thousand years of history within its walls. If you are in a rush, you may not experience all of what Tower of London has to offer. It is highly recommended that you spend at least four to five hours (subject to the time of day and the season you choose to visit) when you visit. Have a break in between and enjoy the hospitality at the cafe.
Learn more about the Tower of London by taking these virtual tours > Inside the Tower of London by the Tower of London | Historic Royal Palaces.
You may also enjoy reading other articles on London and here are a few that you may like:
Plan a trip to London – here are some ideas for you
Travel resources at a Glance
Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.
Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa
Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.
I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com
My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine areMillennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.
Unique experiences & tours
My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.
Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.
Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.
To make the best of Windsor Castle and Windsor in 1 day will require some prior planning. You may also need to have some knowledge of the highlights at the Castle which should not be missed especially if your visit here is just for the one time.
In this article, you shall find some of the highlights of this iconic and historic castle and the town of Windsor. Practical information is included to support your planning.
Town of Windsor
Windsor is a historic market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, Southeast England.
It has a lively atmosphere with great shopping and restaurants. It sits on River Thames, just west of London, and is under an hour’s journey from London. You will find Windsor at:
51°29’1.19″ N 0°36’9.59″ E
1 – day at Windsor Castle and Windsor
The day began with a train journey from London, Waterloo Station to Windsor & Eton Riverside. Exiting Windsor & Eton Riverside, it is a rather pleasant short walk up a slight hill. The street is lined with shops and the castle in sight. The Town Square to your right. A walk-up a further slight hill on your left will lead you to the ticket office. If you are here during the peak season, you will see a queue from the high-street.
Windsor Castle, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, is the residence of the British Royal family for over 1000 years and is said to be the Queen’s favourite weekend getaway residence. In fact, if you see the Royal Standard flag flying from the Castle’s Round Tower, it indicates that the Queen is in residence.
Throughout history, Windsor Castle has been the home to thirty-nine monarchs and is the largest and the oldest occupied castle in the world. It has recently hosted the Royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on 19th May 2018. With so much history just on one site, Windsor makes a perfect destination for a special weekend break or a day trip.
Windsor Castle grounds
Windsor Castle is the largest and the oldest occupied castle in the world. The Castle floor area is 13 acres (5 hectares) and has 1000 rooms. It comprises of two-quadrilateral-shaped building courts that are separated by the Round Tower. The two building courts are called Lower Ward and Upper Ward
Round Tower, Windsor Castle
The Round Tower, as the name suggests, is a circular tower, massive and is built on an artificial mound. The court in the west of the Round Tower is called the “Lower Ward” and the court to the east is the “Upper Ward.”
Lower Ward Windsor Castle
Includes St George’s Chapel and the Albert Memorial Chapel, more on these below.
Upper Ward, Windsor Castle
Includes the private apartments of the Queen and the private apartments for visitors. It also houses the Royal Library which contains collections by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and other famous artists.
The Northeast corner of the Upper Ward was destroyed by fire in November 1992 which included over 100 rooms and St George’s Hall. This area has been successfully restored and was completed in 1997.
Highlights at Windsor Castle Berkshire
When exploring Windsor Castle, it would be best to begin with the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Afterwards, you can explore the castle grounds by commencing your tour of the interior of the Castle. I would suggest that you start with the State Apartments, at Henry VIII’s North Terrace. You may encounter a queue here, but they get through very quickly. After the State Apartments, you can visit the beautiful St George’s Chapel and other parts of the Castle.
1 | Changing of the Guards Ceremony
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony is one of the highlights of visiting Windsor Castle. The ceremony takes place at 11:00 in the Lower Ward within the Castle grounds. The times can change and there may be occasions when the Ceremony may take place without music because of other duties and demands on the guards. The guards return to their barracks at 11:25.
This is one highlight when visiting Windsor Castle that you should not miss. It is less crowded than the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, so it allows you a better view of the ceremony itself.
As it takes place at 11:00 prompt, it is best to plan your visit to arrive here before it begins so you get a good view.
2 | State Apartments and Semi-state Apartments
This part of the Castle is a grand building with opulent furnishings and intricate ceiling paintings. There are many art-work on the Royals and is home to the infamous Queen Mary’s Doll House.
** Queen Mary’s Doll House is sometimes closed to public viewing. Best to check before your visit.
3 | St George’s Chapel
My favourite part of the Castle! Being here, in St George’s Chapel which is rich in history and in royal tradition is, at moments, simply overwhelming. It is unique in that it has a Perpendicular Gothic-style architecture. Construction of the Chapel began in 1475 by Edward IV and was completed by Heny VIII in 1528.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married in this Chapel in May 2018, which makes this Chapel even more special.
The interior of the Chapel itself is not huge but the architecture is absolutely breath-taking! You need to see to experience it. Cameras are not allowed in the Chapel but I quite simply had to steal a moment to capture this jaw-dropping wow sight for keeps.
4 | The Inner Courtyard
The Inner Courtyard is home to the private apartments of the Queen and the private apartments of the Queen’s visitors. It is of Gothic architecture quadrangle with a green grass square in the middle.
I spent quite a lot of time walking around the grounds at leisure and then lunch at the nearby pub. Afterwards, a walk up to the parks and down to Albert Road to view the Long Walk.
5 | Home Park, Windsor
To the Eastern side of Windsor Castle is Home Park which was previously known as Little Park. It is approximately 655 acres (265 hectares) of parkland privately owned by the Crown Estate.
Frogmore House is in this Park and is only open twice a year, May and August. If you want to visit Frogmore House and its grounds, schedule your visit during these two months in the year.
6 | Great Park, Windsor
Great Park is situated towards the South of Windsor Castle. It is approximately 5000 acres (2,020 hectares) which includes a deer park. Parts of this Park is open to the public.
7 | The Long Walk
A short walk from the Castle, the Long Walk is crossed by A308 (Albert Road) to Old Windsor. This is what I wanted to see and capture the essence of the moment – The Long Walk!
The Long Walk is the straight path that links Windsor Castle with Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park, the foot of the statue of King George III (The Copper Horse). It is approximately 3 miles (5 kilometres) in length.
According to legend, King Henry VIII sat and waited at Snow Hill for news of execution of his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
However, the path and the landscape as we know it today only came much later, an improvement to what was by King Charles II and Queen Anne. King Charles II had 1,652 Elm trees planted in double-rows the entire length of the route and Queen Anne had a road constructed down the centre of the tree lined landscape, so the coaches could head into the park comfortably.
Winding-down the day
There is a quintessentially English pub at the quiet corner here by Park Street gates (which leads to the Long Walk and Cambridge Gate, entrance to Windsor Castle), a peaceful cul-de-sac where you can stop for a hearty pint! It’s called the Two Brewers, one of the smallest pubs in Windsor. Established in 1792 although the building dates back to 1709.
On a final note…
Windsor Castle is uniquely beautiful, set in a lively town, with accommodation to suit every individual, couples or family, It has great shopping choices and restaurants to fulfil every palate a destination that will surely not disappoint.
At Windsor Castle – What you need to know
There are guide maps available free at the counter. Just pick one. Given the vast area where one needs to walk, I found the map to be extremely helpful.
If you gift-aid your entrance ticket, you get a 12-month pass to return. Just ensure that you write your name and address and get it stamped at the designated area near the exit.
Commentary on the audio, for the most part is good and informative but sometimes too elaborate. It is also sometimes hard to navigate to the number of the room.
Give yourselves between 3 to 3.5 hours although the recommended hours are 2.5 to 3.
Audio guides are available in all major languages.
Induction loop on Audio tour is provided to hearing impaired visitors.
Guide dogs are permitted
Toilets for disabled visitors
Areas are wheelchair accessible.
Regular (£) During closure of State Apartments (£)
Getting to Windsor Castle from London by train is the most convenient and cheaper mode of transport.
There are 2 services:
London Paddington to Windsor Central – services are provided by Great Western Railway, need to change at Slough for the shuttle service to Windsor & Eton Central. The shuttle service runs every 20 minutes and will have extra charges.
Return Adult Fare is £10.20
2. London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside – services provided by South Western Railway are 4 services per hour, at 20, 28, 50 and 58 minutes past the hour. Return Adult Fare is £10.50
Buy Train tickets from Trainline
If you are driving:
Castle car-park is a ‘Pay & Display’ car-park, so you will need coins. £14 for 5 hours;
Car-park next to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station – £4 All-day if you arrive after 10:00. You can pay by phone
Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to Windsor Castle and Windsor? If so, let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.
Victoria-An intimate look at the Woman behind the Crown and her childhood
It was the first day of the Discover the real Victoria, made in Kensington Exhibition, 24th May, a glorious day of summer sunshine and the Palace grounds were a busy sight! People sunbathing, reading or just relaxing.
The queues to the ticket office was long…
Fortunately for me, I did not have to wait in queue to get a ticket with a timed entry. As a Member of the Historic Royal Palaces, I get to visit at anytime and as many times as I wish. You can read more on the benefits of this Individual Membership here
Here’s how my day went at the exhibition in Kensington Palace.
Discover the Real Victoria Exhibition
The exhibition was in two parts – Victoria: Woman and Crown and Victoria: A Royal Childhood.
1 | Victoria: A Royal Childhood
Victoria, A Royal Childhood was the first of the two exhibitions where I began my tour.
It was not overwhelmingly crowded as I anticipated it to be. I had plenty of time on my hands and I did not want to rush through. The exhibition allowed the visitors to follow a route through a suite of rooms and it did give me a feel of how Victoria grew up. There were many rooms here, and these have been curated to reflect how they would have been when young Victoria grew up. I will just mention a few that is of interest and which relates to the exhibition particularly the Red Saloon room, the Dance room, the Baby room, and the Playrooms.
The Red Saloon Room was where Queen Victoria held her first meeting with the Privy Council, the most senior ministers and advisors, on 20th June 1837.It was laid out with pretty little miniature figurines on top of the large long table, depicting the scene as painted by Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841) in 1838.
1.2 | The Dance Room where Victoria had her first dance with Albert
The dance room was dimly lit with a piano in one corner of the room.
I thought that the room was rather small. It was a little crowded here, so I walked briskly through to the next room.
1.3 | The Baby Room where Victoria was born
The baby room where Princess Victoria was born was one of the highlights of my visit.
The room was dressed in green wallpaper which, perhaps, reflects her maternal Leiningen heritage. It was gently warm, the drapes neatly pulled back and the sunlight coming through. It was not difficult to imagine for a moment, stepping back into history, where the room was the same, and the glorious sunshine streaming through on a very ordinary Spring morning, same day in May, 200 years ago. Described as “a pretty little Princess, as plump as a partridge” by her Mother, the Duchess of Kent in a personal letter, the heir, fifth in line to the throne was born.
I remained fascinated with the unfolding of her story as I continued on to Her playrooms.
1.4 | Victoria’s Playroom
Her playrooms were well laid out with a toy box in the centre of the room. There was an invitation for children to sit on the carpet and play with the toys from the toy box, a gesture which I thought was unusual. I have visited many palaces and castles during my visits and usually there are signs that says “please do not touch” – I was pleasantly surprised that here, and I welcome the idea too, to engage children-visitors to get the feel of how Victoria played.
I was enchanted with Victoria’s doll house, with its miniature furniture and pretty colours. It was an ordinary London townhouse. It is thought that it was probably made by the palace staff with household bibs and bobs and scrapes of pretty pink palace wallpaper.
The Ten Wooden Peg Dolls caught my attention. Victoria started collecting these when she was 11 years old. After two years, she had 132 dolls, each with a name and its own background story either after her favourite dancers or imaginary ladies.
1.5 | Victoria’s Journal and Kensington System
Victoria had vivid imagination and would describe the characters in detail. She was lost in writing her own stories.
The rooms displayed her journal entries and, in some instances her handwritten entries. These captivated my interests and I spent some time reading them. The sight of “Kensington System” hung on the wall and the distressing effects of these rules did not go amiss but I remained fascinated by her story.
1.6 | Theatre Room
There was a Theatre room which was cute. Victoria loved the theatre, and she attended the concerts and the theatre shows as often as she could. It was one way to escape the constraints of the “Kensington System”.
From the Royal Childhood of Victoria, the exhibition continued on to Woman and Crown Exhibition.
Read:Kensington Palace Gardens – an idyllic getaway from chaos of the City
2 | Victoria – Woman and Crown (1819-1901)
There were a lot of information exhibited here and dresses she wore. This exhibition was aimed at unveiling the private life of Queen Victoria behind the carefully controlled public image of her role as queen, wife, mother and empress.
2.1 | Victoria as a Woman
As a woman, Victoria was totally in love with Prince Albert. She commissioned a secret portrait of herself as a surprise gift to Prince Albert for his 24th birthday. The portrait shows Victoria in a simple ivory gown, looking relaxed, with her long hair round her shoulders in a sensuous manner – intended for his eyes only!
2.2 | Victoria as a Woman
As a wife, Victoria adored her husband, Prince Albert. In her words, he was “an angel whose brightness shall illuminate my life” – she submitted to the choices of her husband in all matters.
The dresses and the jewellery she wore was often designed and chosen by Albert. They both often appeared in public together which made them popular with the nation.
One of the displays exhibited a gown worn by Victoria which was originally in bright pink and fashionable at that time. Queen Victoria always wore a bonnet when in public with Prince Albert because she did not want to upstage her husband who had no right to wear a crown. A stark contrast to the black gowns, and widow’s bonnet which she was so famous for wearing later in life.
2.3 | Victoria as a Mother
As a mother, I think her views can best be attributed to one of her journal entries in 1952:
“Children, though often a source of anxiety and difficulty, are a great blessing and cheer and brighten up life, and to see us after 12 years surrounded by this blooming family is a source of great gratitude”
2.4 | Victoria as an Empress
As an empress of the world’s largest empire, the exhibits displayed the story behind her love affair with India, the Koh-i-Noor diamond, her friendship with deposed Maharajah Duleep Singh.
There were exhibits of her personal diaries inscribed in Urdu.
2.5 | Victoria’s love affair with the Scottish Highlands
There were further exhibits on her visits to the Scottish Highlands and Balmoral. The couple’s first visit was in 1848 and she captured their first moments in her journal entry where she wrote:
“All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils”
They loved the mountains, the people, the highland games and the dances.
Queen Victoria published a book in 1868, ‘Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands from 1848 – 1861’ – this book were of extracts from her journal, of her time in Scotland with Albert. The book sold 80,000 copies in the first 3 months. You can purchase a copy by clicking the link below:
Queen Victoria once said of Osborne House, that “it would be impossible to imagine a prettier spot” and one could not agree with her more! Osborne House became her permanent home till her death in 1901.
Read:Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair with the island
Travel tips and Useful information:
Visiting during Covid-19 and adhering to safety measures – Pre-booking and selecting a specific time slot is required prior to the day of your visit. All related information are here for you to peruse.
Tickets are £17.50 for Adults and £8.70 for Child
The ticket covers entry to Kensington Palace and the Discover the Real Victoria – Made in Kensington Exhibition.
Presently November 2021| A month of traditions, cheerful feasts and holidays
Yes, it is November! Already! A time where autumn blends into winter. Leaves fall to the ground, of crimson sunsets, parting birds, passionate wind and songs in the pines. Nights come early, the firsts of white snow, log fires … Coatsworth has given a perfect description of this beautiful transition month.
With the frenzy of Halloween now subsided, you have planted autumn flowers and pull out your cozy jumpers … you can take a deep breath of crisp air, and settle into the very best month of autumn.
There’s a lot to look forward to in November, a month to Remember, of traditions, cheerful feasts and holidays. For Londoners especially, the metropolis comes alive with its dazzling Christmas Lights and winter festivals. Traditionally, November sees the celebrations of All Soul’s Day, Bonfire Night,Remembrance Day,Thanksgiving and Stir-up Sunday!
Popularly known as a holiday month and we spend time with friends and family during Thanksgiving. With moments to reflect and to be thankful for the little blessings that the year has bestowed. As well, go outside more, see the last of the blue sun, enjoy the November dry days and cool temperatures before frost and snow takes over.
For now though, put the kettle on, get yourself a cuppa or pour yourself a port and settle cozy in front of log fires to read what this edition of Presently November has in store for you.
As we step closer to the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere welcomes the sun and the rising temperatures.
With the onset of winter chills, and as we settle in for the slow dance and the grace of winter time, Presently November takes a brief look at the origins of November and what it meant, festivals and celebrations that brings autumn and winter together to their feasting table, along with November’s birthstone, birth flower and lores.
Origins of November
November is the eleventh month of the year and has thirty days. For many of us, the month marks the beginning of the winter even though the winter solstice does not occur till 21st December.
The month of November takes its name from the Roman word “novem” which means “nine”. It was the nineth month in the Roman calendar.
For some, the month of November may not be pleasant! The Anglo-Saxons referred to November as “Wind monath”, reflecting the cold winds that began to blow at this time of year. They also called the month, “Blod monath” to reflect the slaughtering of cattle for winter food. Also known as the “Sombre November” by the poet, T.S. Eliot.
I think the “feeling” of November in the early nineteenth century was well described by Sir Walter Scott, in his poem, Marmion in 1808. He wrote:
“November’s sky is chill and drear; November’s leaf is red and sear”
Traditionally, the month begins with festivals, celebrations and cheerful feasts. If you recall from the last e-column, end of October signals the end of harvest and this flows into the beginning of November, marking the end of harvest and beginning of winter.
Festivals, Celebrations and Traditions in November
November 1 — All Saints’ Day
All Saints Day is a solemn day of the Catholic Church. This holy day is also known as Feast of All Saints or Feast of All Hallows and is celebrated annually. On this day, Christians remember “saints” who are ‘men of goodwill’, great ones along with forgotten ones who have died throughout time. Saints are outstanding Christians, of both men and women, from all ages and walks of life. All honoured by the church.
All Saints Day was previously known as All Hallows Day. ‘Hallow’ meaning ‘saint’ or a ‘holy person’. The feast day started on the previous evening, the eve of All Hallows (Hallowe’en).
All Saints Day is an important day in Catholicism. In 835 AD, the Roman Catholic Church made the day a church holiday.
November 2 — All Souls’ Day
All Souls’ Day is another important day in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a day dedicated to remembering all those who have departed. Families visit graves of their loved ones, lay flowers or have their names read out during Mass.
Tradition and ‘Souling’ on All Souls’ Day
An old known custom, which began well before the Reformation on this day, is for poor Christians to offer prayers for the wealthier dead in return for money or food. This tradition changed somewhat in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, where ‘souling’ became the new custom. Similar to Caroling at Christmas, children go ‘souling’ requesting for alms or soul cakes. They would go around singing the following song:
“A soul, a soul, a soul cake. Please good missus a soul cake. An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry, Any good thing to make us merry. Up with your kettle and down with your pans Give us an answer, and we’ll be gone Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate Crying for butter to butter his cake One for St. Peter, two for St Paul, Three for the man who made us all.”
What is a Soul Cake?
A soul cake is a simple ‘cake’ made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour and mixed spice. It looks like a hot cross bun but has no currants or cross on top
Collectively, All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day are known as Hallowtide.
November 5 — Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night
One of the most fun and celebrated day in the British calendar is 5th of November!. It was the day in 1605 when Parliament was saved from Guy Fawkes in the Gunpowder Plot. A four-hundred year tradition continues with effigies of Guy Fawkes thrown into a large bonfire. This day is also accompanied by spectacular displays of fireworks, and food.
Traditionally, St Martin’s Day was celebrated with fairs and bountiful feasts. Known as well as Martinmas, this day was also a day when autumn wheat seedling was completed. Farm labourers were treated to cakes and ale feast. Some farm labourers would seek new jobs for post winter.
Traditional special cakes on Feast of St Martin are Hopper Cakes and Beef makes the customary meat dish.
However, since 1918, celebratory events on November 11 had almost disappeared. Replaced with a poignant Day of Remembrance (Armistice Day) dedicated to the millions of soldiers who died in the First World War, then the Second World War and in other wars.
22 November — St Cecilia’s Day
A patron saint of musicians, St Cecilia heard heavenly music in her heart during her marriage ceremony. She is represented with an organ. St Cecilia’s story is found in the ‘Second Nun’s Tale’ of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. She is a Roman martyr of the third century and was venerated by Pope Gelasius.
The Legend of St Cecilia
According to legend, Cecilia was a Roman noble who was given in marriage to a pagan, Valerian. She was close to God and prayed often. She fasted, and prayed to the saints, angels and virgins to guard her virginity.
On the night of her wedding, she told her husband that she had taken a vow of virginity and she is protected by an angel. Valerian asked to see the angel. Cecilia said he would but he needed to be baptized first. Valerian was baptized by Pope Urbanus and upon his return home, he found an angel by her side. When Valerian brother, Tibertius heard of his baptism and the angel, he too wanted to be baptized. Thereafter, both brothers dedicated their lives to burying the saints who were murdered by the chief of the city, Almachius. Both brothers were eventually arrested and executed.
Cecilia spent her time preaching and converting people to Christianity. Many were baptized by Pope Urbanus. She also distributed her wealth to the poor. This enraged Almachius.
Cecilia was arrested and was ordered to be burnt but she did not die. Almachius then ordered her death by an executioneer. She was struck three times but the executioneer was unable to decapitate her. Cecilia was left bleeding and lived for three days. When she died, she was buried by Pope Urbanus and his deacons.
Her remains were exhumed in 1599 and she was found to be immaculate, draped in a silk veil and a gold embroidered dress. A sweet flower-like scent was also reported as coming from the coffin. Officials did not make any further examinations.
Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
St Cecilia’s remains were moved and placed under the high altar at the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, which was originally founded in the third century by Pope Urbanus. It is believed that the church was built on the site of the house where St Cecilia lived. This church was rebuilt in 1599 by Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the blessings of the harvest and the year so far. In addition, it has all the elements of a perfect holiday where families gather to enjoy a feast! Every family has their own traditions at Thanksgiving but generally, the dishes encompass roast turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, cornbread, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls. Mac and Cheese is a must-have on every Thanksgiving dinner table! There are other side dishes as well such as sweet potato casserole and glazed carrots.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. In some countries such as the US, Canada, Grenada and St Lucia, Thanksgiving day is also a national holiday.
November 30 — St Andrews Day
This day is dedicated to celebrating St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.
Stir Up Sunday
The Sunday before Advent is known as ‘Stir Up Sunday.’ On this day, it is customary for every member in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst also making a wish.
About Christmas Pudding
A Christmas Pudding is traditionally made with thirteen ingredients. This is to represent Christ and his disciples.
The pudding mixture is always stirred from east to west, honouring the three wise men who visited baby Jesus. While stirring, each family member is to make a secret wish.
Often, a coin is added to the pudding mixture and cooked. It is meant to bring wealth to whoever found it on their plate. Traditionally, the coin was an old silver sixpence. A ring may also be added to foretell a marriage.
Origins of ‘Stir Up Sunday’
Stir Up Sunday has its origins in the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer of 1548. The words ‘Stir Up’ were the opening words of the prayer for the day but has since been adapted. It is now a prayer after communion at the Church of England on the Sunday before Advent:
“Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”
Weather lores in November
As autumn blends into winter, nature prepares for the cold ahead …
There are a number of weather lores surrounding this transition month:
“If ducks do slide at Martinmas At Christmas they will swim; If ducks do swim at Martinmas At Christmas they will slide”
“Ice before Martinmas, Enough to bear a duck, The rest of Winter, Is sure to be but muck!”
“A warm November is the sign of a bad winter”
If St Martin’s Day is fair, dry and cold, the cold in winter will not last long.
If the leaves of the trees and grapevines do not fall before St Martin’s Day, a cold winter may be expected
“As high as the weeds grow, So will the bank of snow.”
“If the geese on St Martin’s Day stand on ice, they will walk in mud on Christmas”
“There’s no better month in the year to cut wood than November”
Stay Connected with Timeless Travel Steps
Take time to enjoy the moments this month with these beautiful November quotes:
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
“November at its best—with a sort of delightful menace in the air.”
Anne Bosworth Greene
There are two birthstones in November. Citrine and Topaz.
Symbolising honour, love and affection, topaz is also believed to give the wearer increased intellect and strength. It is said to calm anger and balance emotions as well as bring wisdom and longevity.
The remarkable Topaz is generally found in igneous rocks and is colourless. However, impurities can turn it to various hues. Yellow and Amber are the traditional tones. Blue topaz is rare and the ones commonly available are often treated. The most valuable topaz is the reddish orange with pink undertones.
Citrine comes in the form of pale yellow to dark amber. Natural citrines are rare and the ones commonly found has been treated with heat.
Similar to topaz, citrine offer the ability to stay calm. In addition, it is regarded to heal, protect against snake venom and encourage prosperity.
November birth flower
Symbolising the vibrant colours of autumn, the chrysanthemum is November’s birth flower.
Passionately known as “mums”, the name originates from the Greek word, “chrys” which means “golden” and “anthemion”, meaning “flowers”.
Chrysanthemums are native to Asia and its history dates back to the fifteenth century. Both the Chinese and Japanese cultures consider chrysanthemums to represent youth. It had been suggested that chrysanthemums be used as an object of meditation.
MUMs come in many colours and some are said to hold meanings which you may like to know:
Red mums mean “I love you”
White mums mean “innocence, purity and pure love.”
Best Astronomy events in November
There are a number of astronomical actions in November, but the Partial Lunar Eclipse is said to be best.
Partial Lunar Eclipse
The partial lunar eclipse takes place on November 19, and is visible across Western Europe and Western Africa, all of East Asia, Oceania as well as North and South America. It will begin at 07:18 UTC/GMT to 10:47 UTC/GMT.
Hopefully the skies are clear for you to enjoy best views.
What happened in October …
October was a busy month on the personal front as I get into the festive vibe! Christmas songs, Christmas movies, and Christmas baking begins! Despite this, I managed to publish a few articles. Here they are, if you had missed them:
The months of November and December will be dedicated to the Holidays and the festive activities taking place in London. Stay tuned for the latest articles, and if you haven’t already, get yourself on the list! It is Free to join our membership.
Hope you enjoyed this month’s edition on Presently November, a month of traditions, cheerful feasts and holidays.
That’s a wrap from me for now, till next time. Have a wonderful month of November!
Welcome! Get to know Timeless Travel Steps formerly mytimelessfootsteps
Start here!Get to know Timeless Travel Steps formerly mytimelessfootsteps updated on December 9, 2021
Hello there, I am Georgina. Welcome to my space where I share my travel stories and insights into travel.
I love to travel, and I turned my passion to a travel lifestyle — experiences which I happily share in my blog, Timeless Travel Steps formerly My Timeless Footsteps. Timeless Travel Steps is dedicated as an intimate resource for Travel, Culture and History adventurers along with travel being key to well-being. Timeless Travel Steps is suitable for boomer adventurers as well as all travellers of any age who shall find the detailed travel guides and information written in this space valuable for their use.
In this space, you will find my travel stories, both near (London/UK) and far, This includes inspirational travel articles together with comprehensive travel guides and useful information, to help you design your very own timeless travel steps. I curate travel itineraries and bespoke travel plans also.
A little background to Timeless Travel Steps
Briefly, Timeless Travel Steps was My Timeless Footsteps – born in 2019.
Most part of 2019 was dedicated to exploring and retracing my footsteps in London, which meant less travel abroad. I admit to thoroughly enjoying my staycation time and my new found creativity. I began blogging passionately in September 2019.
2020 saw the presence of Covid-19 which affected us all one way or another. With travel restrictions in place, domestic travel took precedence and I was extremely fortunate to explore some parts of Scotland which had been on my travel list for some time.
2021 saw me exploring more of the UK as well as visiting Europe.
Browse the categories and the accompanying overview of what you may find in Timeless Travel Steps.
Though I have not been everywhere, I have been to some and the rest is definitely on my list! For now, in this space, you will find my adventures to various destinations in the continents listed below. Click on the links and navigate to learn more of my adventures.
My footsteps around the globe so far…
Being the largest, most populous part of the world and home to several of the world’s oldest civilisation, …
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland makes such a delightful getaway for anyone who has the desire to explore..
My Timeless Travel Steps in experiencing Food & Drink while travelling
If there is one thing that I love just as much as travelling, it is food. As a Malaysian, I grew up experiencing one of the most flavourful cuisines in the world. A country which is often referred to as “the crossroads of Asia”, Malaysian cooking uses ingredients and cooking styles which reflects a fusion of Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and Thai. Although, they are not spicy-hot, they are full of flavour and has contributed to me having an adventurous palate when it comes to culinary delights and the mouth-watering dishes I get to enjoy during my travels.
Food & Drink
Travel resource is an area that will continually evolve as I update it with travel information such as vaccinations, visa requirements, packing lists, checklists, best travel insurances and much more so you can design your own holidays your way for meaningful and memorable experiences. You will also find suggestions on where to stay, what would you do when you get to your destination plus best travel deals on flights including also an all in one travel solutions. My desire is to equip you with all the choices possible under “one-roof” so you could design your vacation your way.
Checklists & travel guides
Learn more on the Ultimate 25 tips which you need to check-off before you take-off – does wonders to your peace of mind & well-being knowing everything is under your control and is taken care of. Don’t forget to download the checklist.
The absolute guide to Why planning is important in travel – top 5 reasons. Knowing what you need to look out for does wonders to alleviate your stress levels, contributing to traveller well-being. Let me know if there is more to add.
This is a link to an easy guide to 6-steps for you to book your trip for a stress free vacation. A sensible guide, giving you various choices to a vacation you desire, where you plan, and enjoy without any impediments. You design your vacation your way!