Hampton Court Palace in Surrey
The gates to Hampton Court. The plaque reads: "The site of the Toy Inn: An Ancient Hostlery of Note. Built for Oliver Cromwell's Troops circa 1650, rebuilt circa 1700, demolished circa 1840. Wherein... the Duke of Clarence, afterward William IV, formed and presided over his Toy Club." Uncertain what a Toy Club is.
Entryway to Hampton Court, ceiling detail.
Base Court. All my pictures of this area are tilted - must be the cobbles?
Really, palace life could leave you quite wooden. haha
Hands off me ale!
Palace comes replete with period dress.
The chimneys especially display some interesting brick work.
Heading into the King's kitchens
We learned that the Royal court ate an almost obscene amount of meat, consisting of sometimes 90% of their diet in order to display the wealth and power of the realm. For example, "In a period of three days, Elizabeth's court managed to consume 67 sheep, 34 pigs, 4 stags, 16 bucks (used to make 176 meat pies), 1,200 chickens, 363 capons, 33 geese, 6 turkeys, 237 dozen pigeons, 2,500 eggs and 430 pounds of butter, plus a cartload and two horseloads of oysters."
The kitchens were admittedly my favorite part of the castle, so my photos are a bit heavier in this area.
Fish Court: Somewhat of a misnomer, this alleyway through the kitchens was home to cool storage rooms for all manner of goods including fish.
This area was used for baking breads. Although in King Henry's time cake wasn't really what it is today, they were apparently quite fond of their bread.
I believe these hooks were for roasting fish. Hampton Court has a number of food historians - we were still listening to the audio tour at this point, although we gave up on it soon after as it was impossibly detailed.
They don't keep the kitchens any too clean though.
Actual fresh vegetables (as opposed to the plastic replica meats, breads and pies we'd seen so far). Wonder why?
Charcoal stoves, beloved apparently of the food historians for fast, effecient high heats. The hot charcoal was loaded in the holes up top under the pots, and the ashes were continuously cleared from the recepticals below, allowing for thru-flow of air.
According to the guide, you could roast about 7 man-sized racks of meat in here at once. And this wasn't the only roasting oven of its size!
Still hoping to hear something good on the guide.
Exiting the kitchens.
Kitchen manager's offices, basically.
I can't remember what this room was - maybe a sideboard of some type? But the whole peacock is amusing.
The kitchen garden. Inscribed here: "Under King Henry's windows, there are most fair and pleasant gardens with many vines, seats and strange fruit well kept with Royal knots and herbs, many Marvellous Beasts, such as lions, dragons and other diverse kind and nourished with much labour and diligence." That sentence probably was crafted with more labour and diligence than the garden!
A Marvellous Beast
Illicit photo of the ceiling in the Chapel. For a better view that wasn't stolen on the sly: http://www.hrp.org.uk/Images/c%20Historic%20Royal%20Palaces,%20Photo%20Robin%20Fosster%20-%20Chapel%202.jpg
Fountain Court, for obvious reason.
Entryway to Her Majesty's Rooms, which were closed this day.
Some of the guest rooms in the royal palace. They seem to be storing a lot of art here.
The room comes equipped with a baby monitor??
More guest rooms.
I think this was one of Her Majesty's parlors.
A bed fit for a Queen... just can't remember which one! We were able to see the Georgian and William III's rooms as well as Henry VIII, but I couldn't really tell you which is which.
Whichever family's rooms we were in, this was the ceiling in what amounts to the room where the Queen came to get away from everyone (for 'spiritual reflection').
Entering William III's rooms, I think.
These rooms overlook the gardens. We'll get to those in a minute.
The war room.
Another view of the gardens from inside. Note the glass in the Palace is awfully dirty.
The first of a series of chambers in which the King would receive visitors. This room was used for hearing the entreties of lower members of society. As the rooms progressed, the audiences became more and more selective.
More childish antics.
Sorry this is blurry - the light was low. Once you reached the king's bedchambers, the theme of progressively more secluded rooms continues. I think this was the official bed of state, where the King actually rarely slept. He had two more bedrooms, the last being a tiny, snug cozy bed under a completely drawn canopy where he usually slept.
Key to the State Apartments.
Again, the Gardens from indoors.
Another example of the intricate chimney brickwork.
The King's dining room for big parties
I thought this was amusing. I may have a plaque of this in my dining room someday.
King Henry appreciated a nice rack, I guess. (haha)
A family room of sorts behind the dining hall, with reclining pillows and boardgames.
Giving the tour / gossip.
Henry and his descendants.
Amusingly shaped trees in the gardens.
Some sort of thistle.
Still more flowers. I was impressed how many were still in bloom for late November.
JP especially liked this one.
We were disappointed to learn that despite this sign, you did not have to pass through the maze to get to the toilets.
This area is known as "The Wilderness"
Gates from "The Wilderness" back to the town
Entering the Maze. I won't bore you with a series of similar shots - it all looked the same.
Still in the maze.
A peak over the maze hedge. I was standing on a bench on tip toe and still had to hop.
I've been trying to get a picture of this type of bird since I got here. Any ideas what it is, other than really elusive?
Canal along the 20th Century Gardens (which we did not visit)
Looking back at the Palace
There were reindeer!
The Knot Garden
Jp is in there, somewhere.
Mushrooms along a wall.
One of the smaller court gardens.
Another sunken garden.
The Great Vine is the world's largest vine (Guiness record holder). At over 230 years old and 120 feet long, it may be the oldest too. It lives in the greenhouse off camera to right, and its roots are contained under this field.
The Great Vine's house.
Not the great vine. Lovely wisteria though.
Here it is! The Great Vine: "The Great VIne... was probably planted by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown sometime between 1768 and 1774. Capability Brown was George III's Surveyor to His Majesty's Garden and Waters at Hampton Court. The Vine came as a cutting from the 'Black Hamburgh' vine at Valentine's Park in Essex which no longer survives. It was planted in a glass house which had been built to house Queen Mary's collection of 'Exotics' from the tropics. Its roots were plant outside and its branches trained inside the glass house which was 60 ft by 14ft. By the 1790s, the vine was thriving so much that the glass house was lengthened by 12 feet."
The Great Vine
Some grapes on the Great Vine. Not sure that it produces any grapes further from the base.
Sunset over the Palace garedns
Setting sun over the Palace. Starting to get chilly.
Or maybe not so chilly... apparently they melt the ice skating rink down nightly.