London – a heady experience with Henry VIII
Saturday – as it is the weekend and Kylie does not have to work we decide to make the best of it. It is not an exceptional day weather-wise but nevertheless we decide to head off to Hampton Court Palace. We catch the train to from Kilburn to Waterloo Station where we have to get another train to Hampton Court. It is a nice train trip and I do get to see a bit of the countryside. We go through Wimbledon – from tennis fame – and arrive at Hampton Court. A short walk from the station and we are at the famous Palace of Henry VIII.
Admission fee : ₤9.50. We also book a couple of tours – – and both tours are done by guides dressed in applicable period costume. First up are the State Apartments of Henry VIII so it’s off to see what we can see. We cannot take photos inside the Palace – so maybe that is a good thing because now we can pay a lot of attention to what the guide is telling us.
HISTORY LESSON: Originally in 1236 there was a farm on the site and in 1505 the Lord Chamberlain leased the property and used it to entertain Henry VII. Thomas Wolsey took over the lease in 1514 and rebuilt the 14th century manor house to form the present palace. A few remaining sections were rebuilt by Henry VIII after he ‘acquired’ the palace from Wolsey in 1525.
Henry also added the Great Hall. During the reign of William and Mary parts of Henry’s additions were demolished and a new wing added. The palace is also said to be haunted. Notable ghosts are said to be Jane Seymour (3rd wife of Henry VIII) who gave birth to Edward VI and died twelve days later and also Catherine Howard ( 5th wife of Henry VIII) who was arrested there and is said to have run the long gallery screaming for Henry to save her, before the guards caught her and dragged her away.
William III added 12 marble fountains and Queen Anne added the surrounding canals in 1710.
And something to note – the wing added by William III was all covered up because it was – – yep you guessed it – – under restoration. There sure is a lot of restoration work being done on everything I want to see!!!! I am sure it is a government plot to get me back here. Well, let me say it’s going to work. The gardens were fabulous. We also went through Queen Anne’s maze – and promptly got – lost! It was great fun though. The Maze planted in 1702 is the only remaining part of William III’s wilderness. It’s winding paths amount to nearly 1km.
Rumbling tummy time so we decide to have some Devonshire Tea in the kitchen complex of the Palace. Scrumptious scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. Yummo! We wonder what it would be like to do the Christmas at Hampton Court Tour. Would be bloody cold I bet but very exhilarating with the sounds and smells of Christmas. Maybe one day.
After piling on a couple of kilos we think we had better walk this off so we wander around and see many interesting things –
Would be great but we do not have the time to fully enjoy and appreciate it so we just say hello to our new four footed friends who must enjoy trotting around these most elegant grounds.
The Astronomical Clock (right) made for Henry VIII in 1540; Fountain Court – designed by Christopher Wren for William III to replace Henry VIII’s courtyard; Anne Boleyn’s Gatehouse – the name dates from the 19th century when the vault beneath the gateway bearing her cipher was reconstructed; the Great Vine – planted in 1768. It is the oldest known vine in the world and still produces 230-320kg of grapes each year; The Privy Garden completed for William III in 1702; and the Royal Tennis Court built in the 1620’s. It is still in use today for the British Open Real Tennis Championships.
After spending the entire day here – it is getting cold so it’s time to make our way home. We get the train back to Waterloo and decide to get some hamburgers for dinner. I think it was Burger King or something like that. Anyway, we get home, have a cuppa, a nice shower and fall into bed.
Highlight of the day : Henry’s Great Hall