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Off to the Palace!


On Monday, 19th August, I finally was able to return to my beloved Hampton Court Palace during the tail end of my trip to London! So I thought I’d share some of that day with you. (Click on any photo to enlarge it.) Off we go!

We arrived 20 minutes before opening on a Monday, so it was blissfully peaceful as we entered and for about the first hour or so. I’m someone who moves heaven and earth to do things on off times, and the payoff is great. Before the main gate opened, we meandered around the main courtyard, where the recreation of the Tudor wine fountain sits. There are also concrete recreations of ye olde partyers enjoying some wine or having a bit of a lie-down…


as well as feeling quite ill from the festivities.


Interesting! We took some photos of the courtyard and the exterior and then went directly to the Young Henry VIII exhibit. One room holds the gorgeous painting of The Field of the Cloth of Gold, and it is here that I recognized our friends and activities from the main courtyard:


So that explains it! This exhibit also introduces us to Young, Fit Henry and his Regal and Polished Queen, Catherine of Aragon. One of the most striking visual elements of this exhibit is a York/Lancaster family tree that adorns one wall:


But I don’t want to give away the entire exhibit for you … Go and see it!

No trip to Hampton Court is complete without time spent in the impressive Great Hall, bedecked with antlers and tapestries…


and impressive stained glass and fan-vaulting…


And look, there’s Anne Boleyn wafting by a tapestry!


The palace is buzzing with costumed actors, who really lend to the atmosphere of the place.  Henry and Wife #2 were kind enough to pose for a photo before continuing with their hallway bickering:


No photos are allowed in the gorgeous Chapel Royal, so this photographic tour now moves to the Secrets of the Bedchamber exhibit. No photos allowed inside this exhibit either, but here’s one from the entrance, reflecting the awesome Queen’s Staircase (and the photographer!)


Now into the gardens on this gorgeous day we go…





and a peek at the Tudor kitchens


Then a gander at the ceiling in Anne Boleyn’s Gateway, where the intricate design holds the pesky entwined “A” and “H” that got away from Henry VIII’s efforts to destroy any reminders of his saucy second wife:

"AH"s at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock

“AH”s at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock

"AH" close up

“AH” close up

before heading back to Waterloo Station and grabbing a quick lunch from Marks and Spencer Simply Food to nosh on back in the City, with this lovely view:


(Hint: Lady Diana Spencer was here in a very poufy dress!)

Finally, another Tudor-y part to my day as Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb was kind enough to carve some time out of her day to meet me for coffee. Not only is she a brilliant historian, she is a super-nice person to chat with! (You’re following her on Facebook and Twitter, aren’t you?)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this sojourn, and keep your eyes peeled for additional posts about this recent trip to My Favourite City!


The BEST Christmas Gift…



I’m happy to say that I can share updated pics of Hampton Court Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, etc after my trip to London next summer!

My husband surprised me big-time on Christmas morning with the info that he planned a trip for us, along with some clever go-along gifts such as thisthis, this, and this. How fun is he??

All That Remains of Nonsuch Palace…

The wonderful Bendor Grosvenor, of Philip Mould Ltd in London (and on Twitter as @arthistorynews), has published a blog post today to which I will direct you right here.

The painted canvas panels of which Bendor speaks in the post (there is an image as well) are all that remain of Henry VIII’s splendid Nonsuch Palace in Surrey.  They are just lovely so please enjoy!

I Heart London

As  write this, London burns at the mercy of horrible rioters. Sorry, no sympathy from me! (So you’ve burned your neighborhood down and now you have a brand-new telly you’ve nicked. Congrats?)

I cannot think of a better time to thumb my nose at these thugs and celebrate my favourite city:

The Tudor connections are many… 

But there’s plenty of non-Tudor London to enjoy as well…


Keep London (and other affected areas such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Bristol) in your thoughts and prayers during the current abuses. Updates continue to be posted via video and text on the BBC news website.

In Under 4 Minutes, Spend Christmas at Hampton Court

A garden recreated in the style of Henry VIII'...

Image via Wikipedia

The official YouTube account of London’s historic royal palaces offers a lively and well-produced clip of the Tudor festivities at the beautiful and grand Hampton Court Palace, just outside the city.  If you can’t get to the palace this Christmas season, give it a view!

Tudor Über-Home: Hatfield House

Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, England.

Image via Wikipedia

It was 451 years ago today that the 42-year-old Mary I died and her half-sister Elizabeth took the reins (or the reign, as the case may be). The young red-haired girl had been living at Hatfield House on-and-off for most of her life, and got the big news on the morning of 17 November 1558.

She’d been chilling under a lovely oak tree on the property when gentlemen from the court came galloping along on their horses to deliver this life-changing announcement. Her response? “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wondrous in our eyes!” (Kind of more eloquent than “Yes, We Can!”)  

This gorgeous house is in the county of Hertfordshire (Herts, for short), in the southeast of England just above London. It has an extensive maze garden, a restaurant, a gift shop, and reportedly a few ghosts as well. It’s currently closed for tours for the winter, but will reopen in 2010 from April to September.

UK schools can take their students to Hatfield for an educational Living History program, details here!  (PDF file)