A confession. Once upon a time, we lived just across a park and around the corner from a Palace.
Not just any old Palace, but Hampton Court Palace, and I have never (up until now) been inside… A bit shameful really, considering we lived in that area for almost 15 years. Thankfully Grandad and Granny K. rectified that when we were at home, and we spent a fantastic day there together. Granny K made me feel much better about this fact however, considering she has lived in the area all her life, and she hadn’t actually been inside for a proper viewing up until this point either!
Having spent the last few years visiting Danish and German Palaces and Castles, it was so nice to visit one of our own, and one belonging to one of our most famous historic characters at that. Entrance wasn’t that cheap at around £77 for all of us, but as I imagine it will probably be around another 15 years before I visit again, I think it was worth it for a day out in such historic surroundings. Not that I actually paid, you can’t pay for anything when my Father’s around – one of his more annoying habits!
If you are about to visit Hampton Court Palace, I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. It is magnificent, all of it. Every single ancient corridor, famous portrait, haunted gallery, and historic chamber.
There’s currently an exhibition in the stunning Queens State Apartments - “The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned“, dedicated to “the beauty, and the lives and loves of the courtesans and libertines who lived and died in the Stuart Court“. The Seven Year old, (who, as I have mentioned before, is addicted to a certain children’s history programme), has a particular fondness for Charles II (“the Party King”!!) and insisted we went to have a look. She proudly read to us each and every description board, which I was slightly worried about given the somewhat debauched subject matter, but struggling with the beautiful calligraphy, she thought “whore” said “where” so there were no awkward questions there thankfully. Although I did get asked what exactly was the point of a codpiece later that day. Quite!
The vast Royal Kitchens were also a huge favourite, and I think The Small People could have happily spent the whole day in here imagining life in days gone by, with the addition of some Tudor cloaks picked up along the way to help them get into character. (You will see quite a few adult visitors proudly wearing these, and taking it all very seriously. Try not to laugh won’t you!).
And there are other people wearing slightly more impressive costumes, playing the part of historic figures who once frequented the Palace. Of course The Small People spent the whole day hoping to see Henry the 8th himself, and up until the last-minute he hadn’t been spotted. But thanks to Small Boy needing an urgent toilet trip, we came back out across the courtyard to spot “The King” himself in all his finery, and it completely made their day.
The King consulted the audience as to what would be an ideal gift for his current wife, and Small Girl gave him some very helpful advice “Rubies – they are nice” she bellowed at the top of her lungs… “Yes, good idea” came the reply “I like red!…” I thought she was going to laugh her head off, but thankfully she didn’t become another statistic, and lived to see the rest of the Palace, including the Maze (which is included in the price of the ticket)…
If Jim’ll Fix It was around when Granny K was little, her letter would have asked to visit Hampton Court Maze, so it was nice for her to finally achieve this ambition, even if we did get separated from Grandad and Freddie (my two-year old nephew) half the way around. I then spent the rest of the maze worrying that they too had gone off in different directions and Freddie was navigating it on his own, but thankfully all was well!
A walk across the bridge to Pizza Express afterwards for some hefty pizzas, (and a well-earned Peroni or two for Grandad), and it was mission accomplished. A wonderful and highly recommended day out…Thanks so much Dad!