Hampton Court Palace & Gardens

the gardens at Hampton Courtcarriage ride at Hampton Court Palacehampton court palace

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.

sketch of Tudor Palace @ Greenwich

Queen Elizabeth I oakhampton-courtgardens at hampton courthampton court gardens
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.
the maze at hampton courthampton court palaceHampton Court Palace

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.

hampton courtlunch at hampton courthampton court palace, baroque artworkhampton court palace

waiting for the carriage ride...


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4 thoughts on “Hampton Court Palace & Gardens

  1. Beautiful pics, love the buildings and the topiary trees…though my favorite is Maggie reaching right over two full plates of food to pluck that cupcake.

    The kids and I have been listening to A Tale of Two Cities in the car, so we’ve been talking a lot about London lately. I have London on my shelf, but maybe we should listen. What do you think of it for an 11 and 9 year old?

    So glad Lord Voldemort didn’t surprise you in the maze!

  2. hi susan! I would say it might be a bit too mature in places, though it is a collection of short stories, so you could just skip over the few that might be a bit too explicit (ie a story that takes place in a brothel, and a story about a spoiled Countess). I think that it would be great to listen to… I’m actually planning on doing that with his other book Sarum (a history of England) in a few years.
    http://www.amazon.com/Sarum-Novel-England-Edward-Rutherfurd/dp/0449000729

    the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pullman (of golden compass fame) aren’t about London or England specifically, but take place in Victorian London and are geared toward a younger audience… they are stellar reads:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ruby-Smoke-Sally-Lockhart-Trilogy/dp/0394895894

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