Hampton Court Palace the easy way

>>  Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I love the time between Christmas and New Year to go to out, mainly because everyone else seems to stay home.
We drove down to Hampton Court Palace.  Parked outside the door and pottered in.  Queue for ticket? Nope, straight to the desk, just the way I like it.
We wandered down to the kitchens with the usual mock up food.

But turned a corner and discovered it being made properly.  We had wandered in on a special 'see history come to life' day.  And it did - in a fabulous way.

Turkey and a beef joint being spit roasted on a roaring fire was lovely to stand and watch.  Warming us right through and leaving us hungry.  We had been to the Tiltyard cafe for tea and cake when we arrived but what the heck, we wandered back for a hot lunch.  It was busy with atmosphere but again no queues and plenty of tables to go around.  I was amazed by all the babies and little tots there, it's clearly a great place for familes.

We walked back from the gardens to the palace and I spotted more happenings through the window.

A fountain pouring free red wine.

Well, it would have been rude not to partake.
Costumed figures were popping up everywhere.  The court jester was constantly at some stilt walking, fire juggling trick.  Each time we walked through the court yard he had another gullible set of tourists dancing around something.
All of the characters were playing out a story.  You could stand near a group and listen to them discussing part of the events of the day.  Henry VIII was at this point wandering the Palace part disguised as Robin Hood as a part of the merry making. The Queen's court were expressing their disapproval of his behaviour.  There were of course musicians and singing.  It was great to go and wander through parts of the palace and then keep coming back to more of the story.
It isn't all Tudor, there is a lot to see.  I'm constantly swept away by the privilege of being able to walk where Kings and Queens have trod.  To lean up against the same fireplace as Wolsey and wonder how much angst he felt as he did so.

The plot ended with a meal delivered to the king in the great hall, with singing, dancing, story line being played out, the King shouting lots - obviously.  Later the Queen's court came back to address us in the court yard and by now we too had started kneeling and bowing to the Royals.  The King addressed us from a window above and we gave him three hearty cheers.
There were enough people there to make it fun, but also never so many as to not be able to wander about freely, look at everything close up without elbows and even be able to take photos of empty spaces.
The whole palace was still 'Christmas' lovely trees and decorations dotted around made it all the more special.

This was my second visit to Hampton Court Palace, the first being in the summer months a few years ago and I recall loving it then too.  The special Christmas events were icing on the cake.

A really pleasant day out.


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