Henry VIII Drank Here: Hampton Court Palace

When I was nine, my extended family took a trip to New York, and we had to make a connecting flight through Atlanta. We took the train that runs between the terminals, and as we all made a dash to catch it, one of my aunts got left behind. For some reason I found the event kind of traumatizing and ever since I’ve always done my best to never miss trains like that. (I should probably mention that the Atlanta airport train is incredibly easy to maneuver and my aunt took the next one and met up with us 10 minutes later. None of this occurred to me when I was nine.) All of this came back today as out group made a frantic dash to the Jubilee line train during the Friday morning rush hour. I felt the carriage door hit my shoulder as I barely made it on board. Didn’t need much coffee after that. The ride out to Hampton Court Palace by train was so relaxing that most of us dozed off. Still, at 45 minutes long, I wish I’d brought a book to read. Instead I had to make to make due with watching the English countryside roll by. Oh, well. On the way back it was only my fear that I would miss the stop that kept me awake. (Apparently I have some problems with train rides.) IMG_0707 Throughout the day at Hampton Court there are small plays around the palace. We discovered this by accident when were standing in Base Court trying to organize audio guides when suddenly there were drums and violins and Tudor-dressed actors dancing in the center of the yard. I almost successfully turned my laugh into a cough. Almost. We gave up on the audio tour pretty quickly. Nothing was clearly marked, and honestly unless Jeremy Irons is narrating, it’s not as interesting. Also, apparently Hampton Court employs food historians. Food historians. And my (future) art history degree is useless? Having given up on the audio guide, I had to rely on (Heaven forbid) the written placards in the different rooms. I know. It was like the ’90s or something. I wish I had more interesting facts to share about the palace (because who doesn’t love a mildly obnoxious history lesson in a blog post?) but what struck me more about the place was how we were walking around where so many powerful, historical people have lived here. Walking around in jeans and a T-shirt I bought at Target, it can be difficult to imagine Henry VIII marrying Katherine Parr in the other room or Shakespeare performing in the Great Hall.

The carved ceiling over the entryway.
The Great Hall
The other side of Hampton Court that was built by William III

We ended the trip with a tour of the gardens and then lunch at this disgusting riverside restaurant. Where’s a food historian when you need one?IMG_0673 IMG_0712

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