Tuesday, June 29, 2010

London: Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace entrance


Intricate clock face

I have a few more photos to share from my trip to London. Before leaving England, my son and I took a train from Waterloo station out to see Hampton Court renowned as one of Henry VIII's palaces. I had never been there before and I was excited to see the beautiful palace, gardens and maze. The day we traveled on was overcast but rain never made an appearance while we were there.

Hampton Court Maze
Due to the threatening skies, we started off with the maze. Despite my well established lack of a sense of direction, I felt confident I could conquer the maze if I made sure to only take right hand turns - a hint I'd seen on the internet ahead of time. Well.... it didn't work out quite like that. Getting to the center wasn't too hard (see photo proof below) but getting out again was a whole other story. I wandered round and round. Naturally after leaving the center, my teenage son had chosen to run ahead of me out of sight so I was on my own.

At the beginning I was creating a video with my camera of the experience. But as minute after minute went on and the maze entrance wasn't in sight, I began to wonder aloud if I was actually creating a documentary of my incompetence. At one point my son came to find me and lead me out, but for some crazy reason, I thought he was making a wrong turn and I chose another path. Bad move. I was lost again. And I stayed that way no matter which path I tried. Fortunately, Charlie came back and led me all the way out. He claimed to have gone in and out of the entire maze several times by this point. He's definitely got the bragging rights on this one.

Katherine Parr

Inside the palace, we saw many exhibits about King Henry VIII. Costumed characters interacted with visitors while reenacting the events of the day of King Henry's wedding to Katherine Parr, his last wife. In the photo above, Katherine is telling the women visitors her thoughts on becoming the king's wife. Surely it was a position she didn't take lightly! At one point we were summoned to the king's private council to watch as Katherine was questioned by the court regarding her fitness to be queen of England. Strangely, there wasn't an actual wedding ceremony for us to view which was a bit of a disappointment but the actors certainly did their best to bring history to life for us.

Metalwork gate

The grounds of the palace were stunning as you can see. I especially enjoyed the rose garden. The scent there was heavenly. The statues and topiary were lovely. I could have spent the whole day wandering the various gardens. I was definitely glad we had put Hampton Court on our itinerary.


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