Thursday, 22 April 2010

London Day 4 - Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a bit out of London itself, in Surrey. The train from Kings Cross took about 30 minutes and was "above ground". The Thames is a lovely wide river here. The day was cooler and grey skies threatened rain so we "cracked" the Maze first and wandered the gardens until misty rain sent us inside to begin our tour of Henry VIIIth's home.

Audio guides were included in the admission but while interesting factually we found the navigation directions and palace signage rather hard to follow! We did just as well with the printed map guide when our frustrations became too much. The kitchens, methods of feeding the enormous household and guests and of food storage were extremely interesting. The Chapel was beautiful, but rooms were only sparely furnished and looked a bit odd ... maybe to accommodate the probable hoards of summer visitors? The tapestries designed by an Italian artist and made by Flemish weavers were magnificent. The colours are naturally better preserved on the back and one was displayed so you could view behind it.

Most of the greens have faded to blue over the centuries.

Lunch in a cafe in part of the former kitchens was a delicious steak and ale pie (with gravy). Teabags definitely taste better here than in Australia. In the afternoon we toured William III and Mary's apartments and the Georgian apartments, also sparsely furnished. In this section were also the private "grace and favour" apartments granted by various monarchs to mostly ladies and widows who had faithfully served the nation in some manner. What a life!

When we were almost ready to leave I managed to find out where the Embroiderers Guild office and shop was tucked away and rang the bell. A short time browsing didn't yield any gems this time, however.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Now if only we could have grand tapestries like these in our homes today! In a contemporary style of course.