Ah, Spring! Okay, I know it is almost summer and where you live it might already feels like summer, but let’s go back to the crisp spring days of cherry blossoms and daffodils for a moment, shall we? I think we timed our first visit to Hampton Court Palace perfectly. We had heard the gardens were beautiful and I’m sure they have something lovely blooming all year round, but we felt fortunate to catch spring in bloom at Hampton Court.
We had the option of car, train, bus or boat to reach the palace. We decided to take a boat from Richmond to Hampton, along the Thames. It took about 45 minutes and was a delightful mode of transportation. We had to pass through Teddington Lock and along the way, we enjoyed catching a glimpse of all the river-front property through Richmond, Teddington, Kingston and Hampton. Everything from elaborate English-style mansions, with dreamy, glass conservatories, to houseboats, to sweet little shacks on Eel Pie Island, dotted the riverbanks.
Hampton Court has not been inhabited by British royalty for many centuries, but the historic tales that seep through its walls are incomparable. Our eldest daughter has been learning about the Tudors in school and had already visited Hampton Court on a school field trip, so she acted as our little tour guide.
The palace was not only the home of royalty for decades, but numerous rulers were born there, some honeymooned there, others were imprisoned within its walls and some died there as well. Of course, King Henry VIII lived at Hampton Court when he ruled. His only son, Edward VI was born in the palace in 1537, which means that Jane Seymour also died there a few weeks after the baby’s birth. There are many stories of the palace being visited by ghosts. Especially in the so-called Haunted Gallery, where it is said that Catherine Howard’s ghost has been known to wander the halls. She had been imprisoned in the palace and eventually beheaded on account of treason, after less than 2 years of marriage to Henry VIII.
These kids crack me up…
Even with all the history within the palace walls, the gardens are what really captivated us the most. I’m sure we will be back and it will be wonderful to see the gardens in a different season.
We have been knocking places off our “list” left and right lately. The list continues to grow and the weather continues to improve, which means many more day-trips in and outside London to come. Stay tuned!