June 6, 2016
Today we went out to Hampton Court Palace. It’s a ways away from the city, so we had take an actual train instead of the tube. It was a leisurely half hour ride and I got to read on the way.
Hampton Court Palace was originally built in 1514 by a member of Henry VIII’s court. A Baroque style addition was made to the palace in 1698 by Christopher Wren for William III an Mary II. The palace has not been inhabited by any British royals since the 18th century. Today, Hampton Court Palace is a 66 acre complex, 60 of which are gardens, that attracts tourists from all over the world.
I didn’t have enough time to see everything in this huge venue, but I did get to see some pretty snazzy things, including Henry VIII’s apartments, Henry VIII’s kitchens, William III’s apartments, the King and Queen grand staircases, the Chocolate Kitchen, and the privy gardens.
I had two highlights for the day:
- The ceilings! Wow the ceilings in this palace are gorgeous. Several of them are painted with gorgeous murals of angels and Biblical scenes. Others had intricate and ornate designs. My favorite ceiling of the day was in the Royal Chapel. It was a beautiful blue and gold with small caps descending from it adorned with singing and trumpeting cherubs. I couldn’t get a picture because it is a place of worship and one of the only places in the palace that photography is not allowed. But you should google a picture, because it’s absolutely gorgeous.
- Chocolate. Kitchen. One of the interior courtyards of the palace is surrounded by rooms dedicated to storing and preparing the finest foods, including but not limited to the Confectionary Rooms, the Spice Rooms, and the Chocolate Kitchen. Near the chocolate kitchen is the King’s Private Chocolate Room, a room entirely dedicated to drinking hot chocolate. Chocolate was a rare and expensive delicacy at the time, even more revered than tea. So naturally, we should all start building private chocolate rooms into our houses.
After exploring the palace for several hours, I had a wonderful gorgonzola and spinach risotto dish for lunch, and some coffee for dessert. We hopped back on the train to London and arrived at the Waterloo train station to find that we had created a minor ticketing fiasco for ourselves. Never fear, our friendly neighborhood tube workers helped us fix the problem, and we arrived back at our lodgings about half an hour later. I had two hours to rest and read before departing for our evening show, The Flick, at the National Theater.
I thought the show was pretty good; it definitely exceeded the expectations that I had for it. But more on this tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a morning tour of Westminster Abbey and a free afternoon, which means another show. Not sure what show yet, but that is the magic of last minute half-price tickets.