A very Tudor day at Hampton Court

Yes, we know it’s out of season to visit Hampton Court Palace and make the most of the beautiful gardens, but we had two crucial things… A beautifully crisp, sunny day, and [perhaps more pertinently…] half price entry (valid until 13th February 2015). So, we headed out to one of the prettiest parts of suburban London to visit the huge Tudor palace.

Hampton Court Palace

Henry VIII, responsible for large parts of Hampton Court, was a proud man – nowhere more evident than in the Tudor rose emblem found throughout. Except maybe his relationship history. That could take some beating.

Tudor Rose ceiling at Hampton Court Palace

There are also Georgian sections of the Palace, seen here in this impressive staircase. I do wish, though, that there were a few more signs or leaflets to tell you a little more about what you see. Audio guides aren’t everyone’s cup of tea…

Georgian paintings at Hampton Court Palace

The sun was streaming through the windows as we passed from one spectacular room to another.

Window shadows at Hampton Court Palace

The gardens, even out of season, were still stunning. The fountain was a centrepiece to this section, and rose up in front of a lake which was home to a huge collection of birds. (Side note: on our way home we even spotted the South London parakeets…)

Fountain at Hampton Court Palace

Vapour trails darted across the blue sky, particularly effective against the dramatic trees.

Fountain at Hampton Court Palace

We spotted the most picturesque pair of swans, gliding along the water. We followed them rather a long way downstream!

Swans at Hampton Court Palace

One of the more Georgian aspects of the courts [this is the aptly named Fountain Court]:

Fountain Court at Hampton Court Palace

Along one of the staircases, there was some beautiful lighting and shadows. Gothic in feel, we experimented with black and white pictures, but preferred the warmth of the lantern in this photo.

Candle lantern at Hampton Court Palace

The King’s apartments are closed for deep cleaning, so perhaps if you haven’t been at all before it’s best to check it’s all open first. There’s so much to see, though, that your day will still be easily full.

We did stop for tea and cake (of course!) and the cake was particularly good, but the café itself was less inviting – no National Trust cosiness here! The carrot cake, on the other hand…

We’d highly recommend a visit to this gorgeous part of our country’s history – and, at £8, a fairly frugal day too! We hope you’re all having a great week.

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