Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hampton Court Palace - 21 March 2009

Formal gardensFormal gardens
Sunday thrust us into the Tudor era of Henry VIII again; that man seems to dominate so much of English history. Mothering Sunday was probably not a good time to visit Hampton Court Palace, as it seemed many other Londoners had the same idea. But it is such an extensive complex and there was plenty of room for us all.
Tudor towersTudor towers
Henry took over the Palace from Cardinal Wolsey, and the original Tudor areas are the most stunning. Later Monarchs remodeled wings of the Palace, and somehow the different styles manage to live harmoniously side-by-side. Audio tours took us through Henry's apartments, William III quarters, Queen Anne's wing and the Tudor kitchens and with the various costumed performers acting out tableaux from Henry's life there was plenty to keep us occupied for the day.
The palace from across the ThamesHenry gambles in the wine cellar
The gardens are worth a visit in their own right. Today, the wilderness area was full of blossom trees and daffodils. The formal gardens lead to the oldest and largest grapevine in the world.

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