During a free weekend during our Scotland-Ireland study abroad, we took the opportunity to go to London. There was a huge comic con going on that we wanted to attend, plus we would also have time for the Science Museum and Hampton Court Palace.
On our first day in London, we headed to Hampton Court Palace which is upstream on the Thames from London. We thought about taking a boat ride but logistically we couldn’t make it work. The palace belonged to Cardinal Wosely, Henry VIII seized it when Wosely’s star fell. Only St. James’s Palace in London and Hampton Court survive from Henry VIII’s time. Hampton is a huge estate and one that, even though we spent most of the day there, we only half explored.
Using our Oyster card (which we highly recommend to all travelers to London), we left our hotel from Shepard’s Bus and made our way to Waterloo station. Waterloo is huge but easy to navigate. The train to Hampton takes thirty-five minutes and runs every half an hour. It was a pleasant ride that takes you near Battersea Power Station (the building on Pink Floyd’s Animals album). It’s a short walk from the train station to the Palace.
The Palace didn’t disappoint. The website for the palace has great planners dependent on how long you have to spend. We did the three-hour tour but made it into a five-six hour tour. This included the Henry VIII Apartments (the highlight for Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple), the Tudor Kitchens (the highlight for Mr. Nola Nerd Couple), The Chapel Court, Young Henry VIII’s story, and William III’s apartments. We did walk the perimeter but we didn’t head out to the gardens. They were having a huge flower festival and it was crowded beyond belief. We didn’t go to the maze or tennis courts. In other words, we can’t wait to go back.
Outside the Palace:
The Great Hall, the William III apartments, and the rest of the Palace:
Outside the Palace and on the way back to the train:
We did have a great steak pie lunch at the restaurant in the palace. Seeing the great hall and the privy council room was amazing to see. The audioguide was fantastic especially in telling us how the food for the great feasts were prepared and how food was preserved during the 16th century. It was getting late so we headed back. We spent nearly six hours at the Palace and didn’t come close to see everything.
But that’s one lesson we have learned while traveling. You can’t travel with the idea that this will be the only time you see something. If you do you are just rushing and not enjoying. You can’t see everything. Enjoy what you see. Hampton Court was one of those were we may have not seen everything but we enjoyed everything we saw.