We went from the magic of Harry Potter to the history of Henry VIII! Today we traveled by train to Hampton Court Palace to see where Henry VIII, King George I, and William and Mary had palaces. The palaces all form Hampton Court, so a visitor sees a Tudor palace, a Stuart palace, and a Hanover palace - three different royal lines in England's history.
Upon arrival, we walked a few blocks from the train station to the palace and up the long gravel path approaching the palace. We started with Henry VIII's palace, which was originally built by his cardinal. When he fell out of good relations with his cardinal, he took the palace for himself in 1529. It was called Henry's "pleasure palace" and is one of only two surviving castles from his reign.
The palace is beautiful but the gardens and grounds are equally stunning. We didn't have time to walk through all of the palace rooms and all of the gardens (and we were there for five hours!!!), so we saw all of the open rooms in the palace and then chose the hedge maze, which was commissioned around 1700 by William III. I thought the four of us would maneuver our way through the maze together, but no...as soon as he boys entered it, they ditched us. We made it to the center of the maze at nearly the same time, but yet again, they abandoned us. Tim and I took the "shortcut" exit we came across and rested on a bench waiting for them while they found the exit, which serves them right!
If only we had a few more hours to enjoy ice cream in the gardens, maybe a snooze on one of the vast lawns, or a walk along the Thames! However, we had to catch a train back to London to meet up with the CAK Europe group who arrived in London this morning for their epic 17-day trip. We were all thrilled to connect with the Mynatt's and Mr. Margene, who lead this trip, but the boys were especially happy....they traveled as part of this group in 2013 and 2016.