What will we explore today? Linda hadn’t been to Hampton Court before and, of course, I hadn’t been there. This is the home of Henry VIII and the Hampton Court Flower show. But first, we put in a call to the box office at Harrods and ordered our tickets for Saturday night’s performance of War Horse.
We again took the tube to Wellington Station and from there caught a train west to Hampton Court. Because of the flower show it seemed that a train to Hampton was running every five minutes. We were able to catch an express and we were whisked, and I do mean whisked, to the lovely town of Hampton.
Upon arrival we decided on a lunch before touring Henry VIII’s love nest. There was a charming café across the road from the castle and we sat outside and had a nice lunch. This is where I learned about a new drink. We had a Pimm’s lemonade. Very tasty. I will have to look for Pimm’s when I get home. From there we simply crossed the road and entered the world of Henry’s royal court. They have audio devices that talk you through the many rooms and give you a commentary on what you are seeing. It was very interesting to see the kitchen as it was set up just as it was in Henry’s day with huge fireplaces and rooms for cooking fish, another for meats, a baking area and finally the serving section that looked rather like a cafeteria sort of arrangement where the servers would pick up their trays for serving the guests. This is where we bumped into Henry himself. He was on his way to the wine cellar and we followed him in for a bit of theater. All very jolly.
The castle was originally the home of Cardinal Woolsey, but Henry coveted it and proceeded to ruin Woolsey causing Woolsey to give the castle to Henry. This is where Henry enjoyed his many wives. Henry then added a wonderful astronomical clock, the tiltyard for jousting and a tennis court. This castle was also the home of William and Mary and others, so the periods changed from royal apartment to apartment. But, many of the furnishings are original. Outside are beautiful gardens that are being restored to their Elizabethan splendor. The gardens contain a famous shrub maze and we had to try it. Yes, it is a maze and you do get completely lost in it. We finally made it to the middle and then took the gate out. Had we not exited from the middle, we would still be there.
We took a look at the Garden Show being held on the grounds. This is a huge event in the summer calendar and entry is pricey. We decided that it was way too crowded for our taste and we had seen enough. So, back to the train to London. From the train we headed back to Harrods to pick up our theater tickets for Saturday night and so Linda could get her gift shopping done. While she did that I parked myself in a little cappuccino bar and watched an amazing parade of shoppers. Of course a trip to Harrods isn’t complete without a stop at the shrine to Diana and Dody. Remember, Dody’s father owns Harrods.
To finish our day we each made selections from the Harrods Food Court for take-away dinner back at the flat. Then a tube ride home. We made a couple of wee errors and found ourselves on the wrong line, but after some backtracking we made it home. I’m starting to get the hang of this tube.