Day 14: Hampton Court & I still have my head

Not an early riser this morning, I went down to breakfast at 9:00 desperate for one of Lorenzo’s lattes’. They are addictive, and yet I know if I bought an espresso machine and made my own, it wouldn’t be the same.

I’m going to need to go home to get some rest from my vacation! I always just want to pack so much in, I get exhausted. I felt tired today.

So instead of sensibly staying around Hampstead, I decided to go to Hampton Court, spend a couple of hours on the Tube & train and walk all day.  Lorenzo suggested the train to Hampton instead of taking a boat because it is faster. Hampton Court is west of London on the Thames and was the main home of Henry the VIII. I took the Tube to Waterloo Station and then the ½ hour train to Hampton Court. It’s a pretty short walk from the train station to the palace. What an amazing place!

It had been built by Cardinal Wolsey as a statement of his importance – then when it was nearly finished (from Wolsey’s original plan), the king “admired it”, hence Wolsey “gave” it to Henry as a gift. I have watched some of The Tudors on BBC so this was fun.  Even if you aren’t a fan of the Tudors, this is still worth the visit. You are able to see the entire palace. The audio guide included in admission tells the stories of each section by actors as if you were in the time period and really helps it to come alive.

The gardens and the maze are included in the admission price. They alone are worth a visit. The maze is the oldest in the world, and really is a maze. It is extremely difficult to find your way out. I didn’t time myself, but I was in there a long time! There are also massive rose gardens – my son-in-law, Ryan, grows roses and I thought he would enjoy seeing these. The smell was intoxicating.

I stayed until nearly closing, then took the train back to Waterloo. This is where I lost my mind. I should have just headed back to the hotel and had a nice quiet evening with my book.  But no….. I had that book reserved at Waterstones at Trafalgar, so I’ll just pop over there, I thought, and pick it up. Well then, why not just walk a bit since I love that part of London so much? So I did. Along with the one million other people who were tourists, Londoners getting off work, and who-knows-who-else.

These kinds of decisions are not too smart, because in London it’s usually quite a distance between Tube stops on foot. I walked until I located a Tube station that would take me directly back to Hampstead, then trudged uphill to my hotel. I went straight into the restaurant and collapsed. But the food was amazing and, after asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, pasta Bolognese, and a glass of wine I had enough strength to climb the stairs to my room.  Giuseppe thought I needed a shot of limoncello before I called it a night – actually I think he thought it was medicinal because he refilled my glass when I finished the first. I must have looked pitiful J  Tomorrow…no clue – will see what my feet tell me. The pictures of Hampton Court are in the slide show below.



  • Amanda Evans

    Well…that’s pretty darned exciting! So it must be Jane Seymour or Catherine Howard. Both of whom were manipulated by their families. You should be glad you are safe in Canada! There were lots of other people lost in the maze – we kept passing each other. The children were having a ball being terrified.

  • Pat C

    so are you drinking lattes now or vino!! Sounds like a wonderful time. Hope you are not thinking of making this a permanent residence…

  • Cindy Darling

    A fact you probably did not learn today…one of my cousins did a family tree and as it turns out I am related to Henry Vlll. well I guess it was one of his wives that was beheaded…how unfortunate for her… The maze looks like I might panick a little after awhile, if I could not find my way out! Did you have other people with you while you were in the maze, some human contact? Sound like another wonderful day of vacation!

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