Sunday, 19 August 2007

London... Day 3....

We were up bright and early on day three to catch the bus, just around the corner, to Hampton Court. It only cost £2 each for a 45 minute journey - what a bargain!

I had already booked our entrance tickets online here for Hampton Court, as it worked out cheaper than even using the voucher for 2nd adult half price. We just had to produce the confirmation email to get our tickets, which included all the tours round the Palace, tapes/headset for the audio tour, entrance to the Maze and the gardens.

We walked up the drive to the entrance to the Palace and both had a real sense of déjà vu. The Palace is magnificent, you enter the gate into Base Court which is surrounded by apartments which were intended for the guests of Cardinal Wolsey, who owned the Palace before Henry VIII. The welcome tour starts here with one of the guides dressed in traditional Tudor costume imparting information about how the Palace evolved from Wolsey's time to its present appearance. The entrance to Clock Court was closed off whilst we were there because the clock and its tower is being renovated. The magnificent Astronomical Clock face was propped up on the ground in Clock Court. The clock interestingly shows the sun revolving around the earth. The clock was installed in 1540 - before the discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus changed the way we view the universe. The clock shows the hour,month, day, number of days since the beginning of the year and phases of the moon as well as time of high tide at London Bridge .

We joined the tour through Henry VIII's state apartments but unfortunately photography wasn't allowed inside the Palace apart from the kitchens, though we were naughty and did manage to get one of the crest outside the Chapel Royal, where Henry's son Prince Edward was Christened and the boy's mother Jane Seymour was buried.

We also got this one of the King's Staircase.

We walked through the Haunted Gallery where Catherine Howard, Henry's fifth wife, is supposed to have run after escaping from her rooms begging the King for mercy after she was arrested for adultery and sentenced to death. MWM swears someone touched him whilst we were standing in the gallery though there was no-one near him at the time!

All the rooms, as you might expect, are fabulous. Though a lot of the original chambers have disappeared over the years as the Palace has been altered, some of the original tapestries and the ornate ceilings and panneling have survived and it is awesome to think one could be standing possibly on the same spot as Kings, Queens and famous courtiers once stood.

The original kitchens are still there and are reconstructed to look as they would have been during Henry VIII's time and are accessed through various courtyards. Fish Court was the centre of operation as each of the doors led to a different office of kitchens i.e. the pastry house, the flesh larder and fish larder (see slides).

The gardens at Hampton Court are huge, over 60 acres, so obviously we couldn't see them all but we did take a few photographs as we walked to the Maze (see slides). MWM took the lead through the Maze but got us to two dead ends, so I took over and found the centre of the Maze with no wrong turns. I'm sure I've been there before in a previous life!

We had to decide whether to leave at 2 p.m. and go back by bus and maybe manage an hour in Kew Gardens, or travel by ferry up the Thames to Kew which took 1 1/2 hours leaving at 3 p.m. Well I always say a holiday isn't a holiday without a boat trip so that's what we did. There are some beautiful houses along the Thames, all with their own boats, and where there are no houses the riverbank is beautiful and lush almost like a jungle. We saw lots of herons, wild geese, swans and ducks on the river and really enjoyed watching all the activity on the riverbank. It was really interesting going through Teddington Lock which took about ten minutes. We took some photos as we sailed along (see slides).

We got off the ferry at Kew and had to walk through Kew Gardens to get back to our accommodation, so we called in at the Rose and Crown for a quick drink and watched some cricket on Kew Green. We then decided to go a different way back to explore and found The Railway pub on the other side of the station, which we hadn't noticed previously. Naturally we had to sample some of their beer but whilst we were there the heavens opened and the rain was lashing down! We had been really lucky with the weather since we arrived in London, because whenever we were outside the sun was shining and when we were inside it rained! We decided to stay in the Railway and have something to eat and a couple more drinks then go home. Guess what? By the time we were going home some 3 hours later the rain had stopped, so once again we were lucky!

Our train home the next day was at 11.35 a.m. from Euston so there wasn't any time to do any more sightseeing, unfortunately. We had a lovely relaxing journey home to Manchester where our youngest son picked us up.
We had a wonderful time and are both exhausted with all the sightseeing. We will go back to London, perhaps next summer, to see Kew Gardens and the Museums which we didn't have time to see

See London Day 1 and 2


Flowerpot said...

you certainly packed a lot in, Ak! A great trip though - in all the time I lived in London (15 years) I never did half of all that! Good for you.

RUTH said...

Fabulous photos and information. You were either a tour guide in a former life or a Queen!(hope you didn't lose your head though) If your YWM was touched by a ghostly prescence I hope it was Catherine and not King Henry VIII....LOL I would have opted for the boat trip too... aren't some of those houses fabulous!!! Glad you managed to imbibe in some of the local. hostelries :o) and that the weather was kind to you.

buffalodickdy said...

No in between for you! Vacation in Middle East you never got vertical, and on this vacation you never laid down!

la bellina mammina said...

Wow! - is all i can say Akela!! I wouldn't be able to write everything about my trip in such detail, and the pics are stunning! Definitely looking foward to read about Kew Gardens next summer!

Bankerchick said...

I have stopped a minute this morning and looked over the slide shows and will be back to read all about it, this afternoon when I get home. Looks like a great trip

Akelamalu said...

It's strange flowerpot but the nearer you live to something the less likely you are to see it!

Oh thanks Ruth, Dad used to say I could talk the hind legs of a donkey! MWM is convinced he was touched by a ghostly presence, it was probably a draught! Yes, the houses along the Thames must have cost serious money - we're having one - when we win the lottery! :)

Buffalodickdy how very observant of you. :)

I'm happy you've enjoyed my wafflings Bella I love boring people with my wanderings! :)

Thanks for taking the trouble to even look at the pictures bankerchick I hope the scribblings are as entertaining. :)

Linda said...

If you get this comment twice it's not my fault it's Google's!

I am so incredibly jealous of you and this trip - it beats Boston hands down and then some! I so want to go London someday and seeing all of your great pictures has made me want to go even more.

I am sure that I've been there in a past life but I would like to go in this life - never mind one I can't really remember!

Love all the pictures!

crazy working mom said...

Oh wow! So awesome.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

wonderful trip!!! just lovely...

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

I hope you get to London Linda if you love history it's the place to go. If I win the big one I'll bring you over and take you myself! :)

Glad you like crazy working mom.

Thank you Miss Bee I hope it brought back memories of your visit. :)

CG said...

I'd love to visit Hampton Court; your blog makes me feel I've been there..almost!

HAR said...

Sounds lovely!

Ali said...

Great post, the detail and background you give really make it an interesting read, and the slideshows are brilliant.

So glad you enjoyed your christmas trip.

PS ~ If you need any help with Family History research I have a subscription to Ancestry for UK & Ireland records, feel free to email me

Elween said...

galileo! i love him. but too bad he was sentenced to death. love the astronomical clock! :)

Miss Understood said...

I love your slideshows.
Sounds like you had a fun-packed time. I really must stay out of the pubs and do more sight-seeing when I visit London!

Akelamalu said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the trip cg :)

It was lovely Har

MWM has a subscription to Ancestry but that's a lovely gesture Ali thankyou. x

I thought you would like the clock Elween. :)

No, no, Miss U, you can do both honest!!! :)

The Rotten Correspondent said...

You make me feel like I'm actually there! Thanks!

Akelamalu said...

Oh lovely, I'm glad you enjoyed it correspondent :)

Bankerchick said...

Another great journey!

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