Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court is about a 45 minute drive from Tilehurst and a 2 1/2 hour train ride. Really. We drove. Probably wouldn't be able to do this during the summer, but we parked on the grounds. Visiting in winter does have its advantages. Hampton Court has lots of history-- Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII, Cromwell, William III, etc. HCP hasn't been a royal residence since the 1730's and it's not as impressive looking as Windsor, being mostly dirty brick, but has interesting (and brief) tours and lots to see. It's a full day, especially if you want to stroll in the gardens and visit the maze. Here's a bit of what we saw---as in most places like this, interior photography is not allowed.

 

St. George has nothing on Ann. She's not afraid of dragons either.

Even the ticket takers are a class act in a royal palace.

Hongxu's not afraid of dragons, either. That's an ice skating rink in the background. A little extra income for palace upkeep.

Once through the main entrance you enter a large court yard and see another gate.

And when you get through that gate you have to start making decisions about what to see.

First thing to do is look at the other side of that gate---and see an incredible clock.

It not only tells hour, day and month, but astrological data, phases of the moon and high and low tides on the Thames. Among other things.

No castle would be complete without a suit of armor standing around. This one belonged to Henry VIII.

The tour guides at Hampton Court were costumed and developed their own character and history. This young lady took us on a tour of Henry VIII's quarters and was dressed in clothing of that era.

Our tour of the apartments of William and Mary was conducted by this well-dressed gentleman. The tours are free (after you pay the castle admission fee), but places have to be reserved. You can also obtain use of an audio tour at no additional charge.

We did not have time to walk in the gardens, reserving that for another time. This is the view from one of William III's receiving rooms.

Closing time was 4:30 and it was almost dark when we took one last picture before leaving.

 

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