Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hampton Court Palace

Finally some fine weather got us up and motivated and we headed out of town on the train to Hampton Court, to see what is claimed to be the most impressive palace in Great Britain.


With a history centred around the Court and reign of Henry VIII and all the dramas of Anne Boylen, Catharine of Aragon, and Thomas Mosely; as well as other occupants such as Oliver Cromwell and many other Royals after that, the palace was used up until it was opened to the public in the 1800's.




The architectural history was also very impressive, with the newest part of the palace (which is usually seen as a backdrop to photos of the beautiful gardens) being designed by famous London architect Sir Christopher Wren back in the early 1700's.

The outside facade of the Palace

More recently several areas of the palace have been restored, including the fireplaces and rooms and stores of the Tudor kitchens, and the private bedrooms and dressing rooms of the Royals.

The working Tudor kitchens

With such an impressive display of rooms, artwork, furnishings, and internal courtyards, the history of the palace is very easy to understand once you begin to explore. We'd luckily timed our visit with a special program of cooking demonstrations in the Tudor kitchens, and also a series of re-enactments by costumed actors of the arrival of Henry VIII at the palace - htis was fantastic to see as they walked around the palace in full character, including trumpets announcing the arrival of the King, and entertaining jesters of the Kings' Court..

The surrounding grounds were beginning to change with the spring weather, so we were able to walk amongst some amazing gardens of daffodils, and many of the trees beginning to change from their barron winter state. For me this meant one thing, colours to try and capture with my new lens!!

Daffodils

We wandered around the place until closing time, and then headed back over the adjacent Thames river bridge to the train station for our trip back home. Definitely recommended for tourists and London locals alike.

-shane

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