Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hampton Court Palace

Today I visited Hampton Court Palace, which was built during the reign of Henry VIII.  The palace is just south of London, about 45mins by train from Waterloo Station.  It’s right on the Thames River.  Interestingly Henry VIII would not have stayed here for long, because after a few months his lavish entertaining would have completed exhausted the local food supplies, meaning that the court would have been forced to move on to another of his palaces (he had a few dozen).  The visit was especially interesting as there were actors dressed as King Henry, Anne Bodelyn and other members of the court who were going about their daily activities while I visited.  At one point Henry was yelling out the window at Anne who was down in the courtyard below.  There audio guide was also excellent, and included with admission.

The gardens are reminiscent of the formal French style, although after seeing Versailles (see later post), it paled in comparison.  I was briefly lost in the hedge maze, the oldest one still in existence (Versaille got rid of theirs during one of many garden renovation projects)

Front of Hampton Court Palace

Nothing says welcome to the Palace, like a goat and a dragon on their hind legs...

Inside the Royal Kitchens, Henry VIII's diet was 70% meat and it's believed that he may have had scurvy as a result of this gluttonous diet.
Henry VIIIs at the palace window.
He looks annoyed because Anne Bodelyn is proving difficult to please.

The gardens at Hampton Court Palace, reminiscent of Versailles until you actually see Versailles.

Fountain Courtyard

Meadows full of crocuses in the "wild garden"

Lost inside the maze...

Finally found my way out of the maze, at the Lion Gates.

Swans in the fountain

The palace is right on the Thames, looking at it from across the river

After the palace, I managed to get back to Whitehall just in time to see the pomp of the Inspection of the Guards at 4pm.  This happens daily at the Horse Guard’s Parade (site of the recent Olympic beach volleyball competition).  It is not as long or elaborate as the changing of the guards, but that only happens every other day. 

Then I walked over to check out the house where my Great-Grandmother’s family lived in 1918 before emigrating to Canada. 38 Amwell St. in Islington.  

Looking up Amwell St. 

This evening I enjoyed the ballet Gisele at the London Coliseum in Covent Garden.  Dan arrives tomorrow!

The cast taking a final bow.

I was not in one of these boxes.

Inside the London Coliseum, for the ballet.

The English National Orchestra (ENO) also plays at the Coliseum.

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