We met up with AuntV near Hampton Court Palace to have another exploration around there. We had seen it once before, but I wanted to go see it again and really spend the whole day doing the tours and seeing the sights. The day we met up, we just walked around the amazingly large nature preserve and deer park that sits to the north of Hampton Court Palace. The trees are planted in long rows and the grounds look much like they did when Henry VIII was king! The FlyingWaleeties had a lovely time talking AuntV's ear off, climbing trees, meeting doggies and just expending energy.
Next day we got up early and walked down to Hampton Court Palace. It was a gorgeously warm sunny day and we all enjoyed listening to the tours and exploring the court further. We saw lots of amazing things we didn't get a chance to see the first time we were there.
We toured Henry's private apartments and got to see a historical reenactment of how Henry VIII got dressed for bed. We also toured Wiliam III's public and private apartments and got some tips of funny things to watch for on the ceiling murals. Apparently the painter who did the ceilings was quite a troublemaker. If the staff got on his wrong side, by sniffing at his late parties and drunken debauchery he would paint them in as furies! The kids also took great delight in spotting a cherub having a wee over a serving platter. We went through the kitchen again and went through the maze and gardens.
The view of the William III's refurbishment of the Palace.
Huge, amazing ceiling (and all four walls) mural leading to William III's public apartments. (This is the afore mentioned "cherub" mural.)
William III was also known as "William the Orange" and so he had a large number of orange trees. Here is the Orangery where the orange trees would be brought in for the winter. It is a gorgeous room that opens out on to the garden in the first picture.
Courtyard inside of William III's refurbishment. You can see the original red brick of Henry VIII's original palace. William III wanted to knock down the entire original palace, but ran out of money. Thank goodness he did, otherwise there'd be nothing left of the Tudor palace.
The next day it was on to the coast. On the way there we saw signs for Hever Castle. We didn't exactly know what it was, but it was on our list of things to do and we had plenty of time, so off we went!
Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and (after her death) ownership transferred to Henry VIII. When he divorced Anne of Cleves, he gave it to her. It was reportedly her favorite residence and it was easy to see why. It wasn't a massive castle, but it was incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, it has been modified quite a few times (I suppose it's unsurprising, Anne of Cleves lived there nearly 600 years ago), but it was still interesting to see the inside. Currently Hever castle has a large collection of Tudor paintings and there were even a couple of illuminated books that belonged to Anne Boleyn!
The kids particularly enjoyed the two different mazes at Hever. There was a traditional maze through the shrubbery AND there was a water maze, replete with water hazards and moving paths. We also explored the beautiful Italian marble gardens and the lakeside circular walk. It was a gorgeous day and an outing that had something for us all.
Jam packed with fun and only our third day on holiday! Next post: holiday continued!