London and a day with myself at Hampton Court.

31 October 2014

MLP was excited about London. He'd never been before and he had things on his must-see list: The Royal Airforce Museum, Hendon and Prime Meridian, Greenwich. Luckily, my brother was with us and was keen to do boys' days. So, while they did their Boys' Own Adventures, I was able to go off doing girly things for a couple of days. 

Our airbnb apartment was within five minutes walk of Waterloo Station. A fantastic position. We could rail or Tube from Waterloo, walk to South Bank and up to Blackfriars Bridge or across the river to Embankment. Perfect position.

We did lots of the usual.

Big Ben.

Drinks at our local.

The Tower and the Tower Bridge.

The Globe. 

I'd not been before and it was fascinating. We couldn't get decent seats for a performance, but the tour was a retired English teacher's dream. I loved it.

There were a couple of things I wanted to do that weren't high on MLP's list: the wedding dress exhibition at the Victoria and Albert (I can't understand why he wouldn't want to go.) and Hampton Court (Which he would have enjoyed, but maybe next time.). 

So that's what I did.

Unfortunately, at the V&A no photos were allowed. Regardless, some people were happily snapping away, but I always feel the need to comply with reasonable requests. So, sorry, no photos of the wondrous dresses. 

But this is where I had to have my morning tea ... Decadence.

But if you're in London and it's still on, definitely go. Beautiful fabrics and styles throughout the years. Some dresses with no expense spared. Did I enjoy it? … Yes.

Hampton Court was one of those historic places where I had not been. There's so many in the UK; the list is almost endless.

So, I hopped on a train and off I went. 

I didn't know that the ticket I was using wasn't valid for the trip … well, I did know once I tried to get back out of Waterloo Station at the end of the day … but that was a minor hiccough.

Hampton Court has been home to some well knowns: Henry VIII, William III, Mary II. Shakespeare and The King's Men performed in the Great Hall. Bits of it have been demolished and rebuilt according to the whims of the incumbent and of architectural fashion. And now it's open to the public, like me, on my day out.

I was astounded to see this.

People still live here! Apparently, some "grace and favour" residents live at Hampton Court. 


Dinner party conversation … "And where do you live?' … "Oh, Hampton Court. You know that little place out in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames." … "THAT Hampton Court!" … "Mmmm, yes."

What a spot to have to live, surround by hundreds of years of history. Like sinks crafted out of slabs of oak.

Quirky little doors, like these.

Guards like this at the top of your staircase. 

And like this over your veggie garden.

Guys like this, who've watched numerous banquets, staring at you.

In this dining hall.

Being in the presence of Henry VIII every day. Well, an actor pretending to be Henry.

He had serious cod piece overstatement happening … surely?

He slept in a bed like this.

With chandeliers like this.

And ceilings like this.

Apparently, it was quite normal for the King and Queen to have an audience in their bedroom while they were … husband and wife-ing. 

Don't think I'd care for that.

They had dinner table decorations made out of intricately folded linen like this.

And spectacular gardens to stroll through.

I really loved the details of the chimneys. Such a functional item and so much time spent to make them special.

Bu, no, I don't think I'd like to be a "grace and favour" resident.

Apparently the apartments are a little run down.

And the crowds of visiting tourists.

Like me, on my day out.

I think I prefer the simple life.

What about you?

Been to Hampton Court?

Want to put your hand up to be a "grace and favour" resident?

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