Originally Written: August 25, 2019
Tudor fans unite! If you sport a ridiculous obsession with sixteenth century England, you are in good company. In order to complete what felt like a pilgrimage of all things Tudor related, I spent a lovely day at Hampton Court Palace.
Eleven miles south of London, this estate was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey but turned over to Henry VIII after his fall from power. It was later home to King William III and developed into two vastly different architectural masterpieces.
The property was expansive – so much so that I only had time to visit Henry VIII’s apartments on this visit. I doubtless missed a lot of interesting facts about the palace taking place during the late 1600s, but for my Tudor-loving self the day was rife with enjoyment.
Evidence of Henry’s first wives were preserved in a few of the rooms; little nuggets of finds that brought history to life. For example, the pomegranates and roses over a door frame for Katharine of Aragon and Henry and an overlooked interwoven A and H for Anne Boleyn.
Several of the rooms were open to the public for viewing. Of note were the Great Hall, the Chapel, and the Great Watching Chamber.
The tour of the apartments concluded at the the Fountain Court which led to the outside gardens. Encompassed within that area were the Royal Tennis Courts, the Great Fountain Gardens, Maze, Tiltyard, and Magic Garden playground.
For the summer season, the Palace held a Dragon Scavenger Hunt in which children followed a map trying to locate all the dragon statues around the property.
Interactive and challenging, this was a great tool to keep my young kids moving and engaged in their surroundings. I can only hope a similar activity is happening when I return to explore the rest of the estate.
Five hours at the Palace wasn’t enough time to see and do everything. Should I get a return trip, I will have to see Young Henry VIII’s Story, the Cumberland Art Gallery, William III’s Apartments, and the Georgian Story exhibits.