A few weekends ago, we woke up Saturday morning with a blank slate and I put in my vote for Hampton Court Palace. Unable to think of anything else quickly enough, Mark was forced into a Saturday of train travel and palace gazing, under the rainiest of skies. The rain held off for our entire hour-long journey out to Hampton Court, but as soon as we got off the train to walk the 5 minutes to the palace, the skies opened up and that was pretty much the end of any hopes for a dry day.
We spent most of the day hopping between huge palace kitchens, Henry VIII bedroom and great halls, and even got outside to admire the gardens (so many amazing gardens - even a hedge maze, my dream come true). We learned more about the strange life of Henry VIII and more about his 6 wives and how they made the palace their own during the short or long stints as queen. Did you know he was married to his first wife for 20+ years? I didn't know that. And that he only became moody, head-choppy Henry VIII after a bad accident that rendered him with a bad leg and possible brain damage. We watched a PBS documentary on netflix about Hampton Court palace and Henry VIII last week and it was a nice companion piece to this tour.
Anyway, I digress. The palace was beautiful. The gardens were breathtaking. Henry (the 2 year old, not the former King of England) loved running around outside when the rain would break for a little while and we had a little chase through the hedge maze that I will always remember. We loved the strangely manicured triangle trees behind the palace, the koi pond, the royal tennis courts, and the huge palace kitchen. The palace is set right by the Thames river so it is quite idyllic and peaceful. I can see why it was a favorite of the royal families for a time. Just a simple country house away from the hustle and bustle of London. Right.
Lots of photos of our day out below! Including a photo of yours truly with a barely there bump (oh how things have changed) and a happy frolicky Henry. And gardens. Lots of gardens.