Before we get to the sidewalk table, allow me to point out to you – as Victoria pointed out to me – that today’s post is a milestone for us: Number One London’s 1,500th Post! Unbelievable, and how fitting that today’s post should deal with recurring subjects on this blog – Horse Guards, cocktails and visits to London. Weapons and police are new themes, but one has to take the good with the bad and with luck neither of these will have to be referred to by us again. And now to today’s regularly scheduled post . . . . .

It was a warm day…and crowds filled the pavements in order to visit buildings during Open House London, a real treat, during which public and private structures that are usually closed to the public freely welcome visitors on a weekend each autumn. Join us now as we break for reviving cocktails at a sidewalk table at The Clarence in Whitehall, diagonally opposite Horseguards.

To say that sitting outside the Clarence puts one in the thick of things is a bit of an understatement, as these photos demonstrate. However, it’s a grand place from which to people watch and we enjoyed the break – until a mob of protestors arrived en masse, as you can see in the photo below. Unfortunately, neither of us can remember what they were protesting.

In time, they made their way down to The Clarence, where we were seated.

And that’s when the police van pulled up right in front of our table. 

We took it as our cue to leave once the armed cops jumped out of the rear of the van and took up positions pretty much right in front of our table. Even though we were forced to beat a rather hasty retreat towards Trafalgar Square in the opposite direction, we still say that it is worth scheduling your next London visit around the open dates. You’ll have opportunities to visit buildings otherwise never open to the likes of us — or only available at high prices.  For more information, click here. More visits in upcoming posts, sans law enforcement.

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