So last Sunday, even though the sky was overcast and grey, I decided to take a train from Waterloo to Hampton Court Palace. An easy 40 minutes out of the city, and a short walk was all that was required. Easy enough.
Although this palace has not been inhabited by the British royal family since the 18th century, it is nevertheless still richly laden in history. If you know King Henry VIII, who was the King of England waaaaay long long ago, you would love this palace.
Originally built for a favourite of the King, Cardinal Wolsey, in Tudor style, it was passed back to the King when his favourite fell out of favour. I do not profess to know a very big lot about this branch of history, but what I read was that the palace was later inhabited by King William III, who then developed the palace further in Baroque style.
So what you have is a marriage of two distinct styles within one compound.
What is really neat about Hampton Court Palace is how informative the audio guide is. It gives very clear yet precise and succinct explanations on the sights within the palace. There are also real human guides dressed up in that era who take you around the palace, thus enhancing the experience.
Over and above all this, there is the Formal Gardens which is wonderful to stroll in, and the maze which is the United Kingdom’s oldest surviving maze. I was amazed (pun intended!) because even though I had taken an aerial picture of the maze before entering it, I still got horribly lost when I actually got into it.
Hampton Court Palace isn’t a place to describe in words, so I shall let the pictures do the talking.
It goes without saying that the star attractions here are the apartments, each of which is worth a visit. We are talking here about Henry VIII’s Apartments, William III’s Apartments, Georgian Private Apartments and Mary II’s Apartments (which unfortunately was closed at the time of visit). You get amazed at the sheer mammoth size of the apartments and how they were used, but here are some of the more memorable moments I had in these large spaces of history.
Well, like I said, you have to explore, to believe, appreciate and enjoy. But the palace isn’t just about buildings and history. You have got to stroll through the Formal Gardens to understand this one!
I love nature, and could live and walk within it forever!
Just outside the actual palace compound, there was an ice-skating rink and a carousel that was doing very good business!
Soon, the sun started to set. I held my breath and watched her go.
There’s something magical about palaces to me, and Hampton Court Palace reminded me why. What a Sunday well spent.