Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
We got up early Sunday morning and leisurely walked to the Victoria Embankment on the Thames River. The plan was to meet up with the students there and take a Thames River boat to Hampton Court for the day. We saw some very Egyptian landmarks on the way.
Our boat was the Connaught and was built in 1911. I'm standing on the deck and Rob is in the belly of the beast by the snack bar.
Sites along the Thames
Once on board the boat, the driver narrated all the things we were seeing along the river as we cruised past. You'll recognize the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, but you might not notice Big Ben underneath all the scaffolding. If you're a Pink Floyd fan you might recognize Battersea Power Station from their Animals album cover, or from the Doctor Who episode "Rise of the Cybermen".
Hampton Court contains both the Tudor Palace of Henry VIII as its earliest buildings as well as the later Baroque palace of William, Mary, and Anne, which the Georgian kings also occupied and updated.
Above is the link to the website, below is a full tour video in less than 15 minutes.
Once we got there I was starving, so we went straight to the kitchens and found meat pies with gravy and mash and bottles of water to revive us. The food was amazing! I would eat this all the time.
Then we got busy sight-seeing. We started with the Tudor section of the palace.
Henry VIII's Palace
Henry VIII's Kitchens
The kitchens were an awesome sight to see, even with no one in there preparing any food. Here's a video where you can watch a reenactment of what it must have been like to feed the thousands of courtiers that lived there on a daily basis.
Here's my photos of the kitchen facilities, including the wine cellar and the chocolate room. The last three photos are the menus.
Henry VIII's apartments
Because it was Sunday, the Chapel Royal was having services and we were not allowed to see it. I found a documentary on it that was done in 1999 by the Archive of Recorded Church Music on the choristers.
THe Ceilings and Stained Glass
The Tapestries and Portraits
There's a lot of art hanging in the Palace. The tapestries are in the King's private apartments. The Wolsey Gallery contains paintings of Henry and some of his wives. Those are the paintings hanging on red wallpaper. The portraits of Henry VIII's parents and children hang in the Haunted Gallery. Those hang on green wallpaper.
The Haunted Gallery is so named because Catherine Parr broke free from her escorts to run down that hallway to try and beg Henry for her life while he was at prayer in the Royal Chapel. Even though the Royal Chapel was closed to us that day, we were still allowed to be in the Haunted Gallery. I was hoping for a ghostly encounter, but alas, I didn't have one. Instead, here's a video about it.
The Stuart Palace
William and Mary began updating the ancient Tudor Palace by adding a new wing designed in the new architectural style, and adding more gardens. They didn't live long enough to complete the work, which was done by Anne after their deaths. Later the Hanoverians added their own touches to the new part of the palace.
The Hedge Maze
The Wilderness Gardens, including the Hedge Maze, was built by William and Mary. Unfortunately, due to our time constraints, that is the only part of the many gardens we were able to see.
Luckily, for its 500th birthday celebration, they made a video of the gardens throughout all the seasons that you can watch.
The Hanoverian Maquettes
In the Baroque part of the palace, mannequins dressed in paper costumes of the period were scattered around each room like they were engaged in palace business. On some of them were pinned identifying labels of who the replica costumes belonged to and what their function was at court.
About that Thames River Boat ride: I do not recommend it, if you want to get there fast and un-sunburned. The trip took 4 hours one way but we misunderstood when we booked the tickets and thought it was only 2 hours one way, for a 4 hour trip total. Luckily there was a snack bar on the boat and bathrooms. I still ended up having a peeling red face for the rest of the trip. So, once we realized that we'd only purchased one way tickets and that the boat was going to last 4 hours, we immediately decided to take a train back to the hotel. The train ride only lasted one hour and if we'd taken the train in the first place, we'd have seen 3 more hours of the Palace. Here's us on the train back, exhausted and sun-burned, thoroughly pissed that we spent so long on the boat and barely had any time to do the hedge maze and no time to see any of the gardens or the tennis courts.