While we were in London over the Christmas break, we knew it was important to catchup with people and go to a bunch of social engagements, so of course we did.
But we also wanted to do a proper touristy thing while we were there. So, we went out to Hampton Court Palace – the home of Henry VIII.
The palace was originally built by Cardinal Wolsey with all the money he skimmed as the King’s chief advisor before he fell out of the King’s favour for not securing an annulment from the Catholic church for the King’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife. When Wolsey died, Henry decided to move into the palace.
Base Court and it’s iconic fountain.
The ticket entry to the palace included a free audio guide *and* some robes so you can get into the spirit of things. XD
We went through the Great Hall, which had a pretty detailed ceiling and such a high high stud.
Huge tapestries hung along the walls and the windows all around were stained glass.
We also walked through to the Chapel, thgouh we couldn’t take pictures. It has a beautiful blue ceiling with gold detail everywhere. A wonderful wee chapel. The Queen did her Christmas address from Hampton Court Palace this year.
The palace is beautifully decorated inside.
The highlight of the tour around was the huge Tudor kitchens. The palace nobles had a diet of about 75% meat, since meat was so expensive so only the rich could afford it. And they liked to cook their meat in expensive ways, which basically meant they wanted to spit roast it. So they had huge 6 foot high fires with at least 6 spit roast poles all turning meat. There were 6 of these fires in Henry VIII’s kitchen!
Despite the freezing weather, we also braved the outdoors to see the grounds.They were extensive and I can imagine stunning in the summer. But it a darn freezing day with snow everywhere. The ornamental gardens were closed for viewing.
While half of the palace was from Tudor times, the other half had been built by William III and Mary II in the late 17th century. It’s very baroque stylings, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who rebuilt St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire in 1666. We didn’t actually go into this part of the palace, as we were really there for the Henry VIII history.
It was a wonderful trip out to see the palace. It was such a delight compared to the Kensington Palace art installation (and no information booklet to be found!). We’re hoping to visit some more in future years, such as Windsor Palace (the Queen’s home) and Kew Palace (home of the ‘mad’ King George III).
For more information about these palaces, you can visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.
But anyway, it was a lovely day at Hampton Court. Maybe we’ll go back in the summer and try the world famous maze.
Hope you’re all enjoying the summer down south. 🙂