I hope everyone has enjoyed their Easter long weekend. I was lucky to have the Easter bunny leave treats for me a week early, coincidentally the same time my Mother was visiting in London!
For Easter this year I was lucky enough to spend it with a cousin of mine, Courtney, who is also living in London currently, and we decided to treat ourselves to Royal Easter. What better place to celebrate a holiday than Hampton Court Palace?? One of the castles that was used by my favourite king Henry VIII!!! Plus, I also needed to visit Hampton Court to see a few paintings that I am using in my thesis (proof that I am actually doing school work while I am adventuring around the U.K.) AND in the photograph below I am holding two new books that I purchased for my thesis as well!
Since it was the Easter long weekend, Hampton Court had arranged for a Lindt Easter Bunny hunt around the castle for children! I have never seen so many children at a historical tourist attraction in my life. Children were given a book of directions that they needed to follow, to learn about the history of the castle, and then receive their Lindt Chocolate bunnies when they were finished! We did not partake in the children’s event, but we did get a photograph with the massive chocolate bunny that was on the front lawn of the palace.
I was so excited to go explore this castle since I have always had an interest in Henry VIII, and I did spend a year writing my undergrad thesis on him, and my master’s thesis is also on him, so I have read so many documents that have spoken about Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court was initially built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1515, but when he fell out of favour and died in 1529, Henry VIII took over the Palace and it became one of his main castles, out of the 55 he travelled between.
The castle itself is broken down into a couple of different sections, it is pretty evident to see that each monarch who lived there added his/her own touch! King William III and Queen Mary used Hampton Court as one of their main palaces as well, so they added their own touches, and same when George II and Caroline lived there. Obviously, my favourite parts were the Tudor Chambers, but the entire castle is a masterpiece, unlike any castle I have ever visited before!
The inside of the entire castle was so incredible, especially the different layers throughout the different centuries, but the grounds of the castle were so beautiful. I could just walk around the castle alllllll day. There are different gardens around, each built by different monarchs. The first garden was put in place by William III and Mary, and they chose to plant exotic plants from all over the world in their garden. Since William was from the Netherlands and was known as William Duke of Orange he had orange trees planted around this garden aswell.
The garden to the left side of the palace is open to the public and is free to wander about. For I think possibly the first time in my life there were so many beautiful daffodils in bloom for Easter! I guess I am used to still seeing snow on the ground for Easter! Perks of not living in Canada include experiencing a real Spring.
Following walking around this garden we chose to go explore the maze that was on the palace grounds. Despite being a smaller maze it was quite tricky to get around and we ended up going in circles a fair bit, the little children who were running past us were probably a lot better at solving the maze than we were. Eventually, though we did make it out!!
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter long weekend just as much as I did! And if you are ever in London, the #1 castle I would recommend to see would definitely be Hampton Court. Just the size, style, and history of the castle was so spectacular.