Hampton Court

3 Nov

I love living in England.  I love the fact that you live, work and walk in history.  I love that the castles I used to read about in history books are close enough to visit.  I love that I’m able to walk through the hallways.  When it was mentioned that we could visit Hampton Court, I jumped at the chance.  I said yes right away.

Hampton Court gates, Nov 2011

I tried to pretend to be all serious and business-like when we walked through the gates today to get our tickets at the shop.  In my head I was saying, “OhmyGod!  OhmyGod!  OhmyGod! OhmyGod!”  I was living one of my dreams!

Dragon, Great Gate House

They were doing restoration work on the Great Gate House (you can see the red netting of the scaffolding behind the dragon) so I thought I’d take a picture of the dragon just outside the doorway to the Great Gate House instead.  I was, after all, born in the year of the Dragon.  I thought it was apt.

Lantern, Great Gate House

I thought this lantern was really interesting.  I was wondering whether this was an old lantern that Henry VIII and his wives looked up at when they came to Hampton Court or whether it was an addition that King William and Queen Mary chose when they did their improvements to Hampton Court.  In hindsight, I probably should have gotten one of those audio doodads!

Man at the wall, Base Court

I thought this figure was quite interesting.  There were no markings and no signs around this figure.  I went through the guidebook but didn’t see anything mentioned about this interesting man.  I’ve decided to call him Mystery Man at the Wall in Hampton Court.  I wonder if he had anything to do with Anne Boleyn?

Entrance to the Chapel Royal

This chapel has been in active use since Thomas Wolsey built it in the 1500s.  This was were Henry VIII prayed!  According to history, Henry VIII was closeted inside the chapel in prayers when Catherine Howard rushed here, desperate to speak to the king and plead her innocence.  According to stories, there has been sighting of a ghostly figure of a girl running to the chapel and it is said to be Catherine Howard’s ghost.

Chapel Court Garden

Only one of the many lovely gardens in Hampton Court.  This is one is the Chapel Court Garden.

Henry VIII's Astronomical Clock

This clock was apparently King Henry VIII’s astronomical clock.  Can you imagine that?  It’s been looking over this courtyward for almost 500 years?

King William III's Presence Chamber

This was William III’s Presence Chamber.  I thought the tapestries were amazing and all the swathes of fabric were very regal.  Can you imagine being one of the people eager to see the king and walking into this great room?  How very daunting!

King's Staircase and Guard Chamber

King William wanted to inspire awe in the people who came to visit him.  They had to come up this staircase to get to the main floor.  When I saw it I went “Wow!”  Nearly 300 years later, King William III is still inspiring awe in the people who come to visit the main floor of his apartments!

Great Gate House

There’s something to be said about these castles.  They’re huge and you can lose your way around it.  I came to see King Henry VIII’s apartments and guess what?  I missed the entrance to it!  So there I was walking around this huge castle wondering when I would get to the good stuff (everything relating to the Tudors!).  As I was walking out, I saw the steps up to this archway with a sign that said “King Henry VIII’s Apartments” and I had a Homer Simpson moment!

I really need to go back to Hampton Court because I missed the best bit (am an absolute Anne Boleyn fan, you see!).  Anyone want to come with? 🙂

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