I recently finished reading the book London, by Edward Rutherford. This is an epic story of a group of English families in London, spanning the last 2,000 years. It starts with the Celts, then Romans, Saxons, Normans, Huguenots, Welsh, Flemish–all of them immigrating (or conquering) and mixing with the previous generation. London is truly a cosmopolitan city, and it was so fun reading about all the historic significance of different events and peoples.
Maggie and I have been wandering around London, now with eyes wide open to evidence of the thousands of years of trial, tribulation, excitement, royal passion (yes!) and extravagance. It is spectacular how single decisions can and do effect thousands of people, and leave an imprint on culture for ages.
There are a ton of royal residences, old and new, in London and the greater London area. Henry the VII (famous for basically ending Catholicism in England, and chopping off the heads of his unfortunate spouses) had two main palaces. One, in Greenwich, was on the site of Noah’s school (see sketch below). This is where his daughter Queen Elizabeth I was born, and spent a lot of her childhood. There is even have a neat old oak tree on display in Greenwich Park, commemorating her time there.
His other palace, Hampton Court Palace, still stands today–an elaborate mixture of Tudor and Baroque styles of architecture. It’s about a half hour on the train from Waterloo, and is a sprawling estate complete with elaborate gardens–and a maze! Not as awesome as the one Harry and Cedric go through in the Goblet of Fire… but then, we didn’t have to face You Know Who when we got to the middle, so I think that balances things.
This a great place to go with kids as there is a lot going on–a lot of grass to run around on, winding hallways & gardens to explore, cloaks to dress up in, horse-drawn carriages to ride in, cupcakes to eat…. basically a very English experience.