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Hampton Court Palace
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrHampton Court Palace dates back to the beginning of the 1500s and has been inhabited by many monarchs. There are rumors of a ghost and even a picture, but as their guides normally dress in period costume, there is the chance that it is a modern day person dressed up.
Hampton Court Palace looks impressive as soon as it is viewed and it is easy to imagine Henry VIII striding around the maze and grounds of this Palace. There is the choice of a guided tour and replay of Tudor life, or you can roam around and explore independently.
The first room is the Great Hall and it was as spectacular, with its high, stunning roof to wall tapestries. It was aptly named as it is the biggest room in the palace, and it is difficult to decide whether to look at the ceiling, the windows, or the tapestries. Next is the Great Watching Chamber, the place where Henry’s guards would sit.
The crown of Henry VIII is on display but it is replica. It is, however, an amazing replica and the original had been destroyed after the civil war.
To this day, services are still held in the Chapel Royal but one is not held during every visit. The organ is not original but fits in well with the rest of the chapel. Jane Seymour ’s heart is supposed to be buried under the altar and the ceilings are equally as compelling as the one in the Great Hall and Henry VIII has his motto inscribed 32 times round the chapel. The crown is set in the Royal Pew and the visitors are told that Henry would have worn it throughout services.
The kitchens are enormous, and considering there were often 600 guests at court they would need to be. There are also chocolate kitchens and these have only recently been discovered and seem remarkably intact. Most of the furniture and braziers are still there and these date back to the 18th-century when George I was on the throne.
Up the large staircase are the apartments of William III – both his state apartment and personal apartments. The paintings in this area are outstanding and one that catches the eye in particular was Victory of Alexander over the Caesars representing William’s victory over Catholicism. The chair of state is the main item of interest and the room does look to be a little bare, considering it is the official throne room. The main reason is apparently there would always be numerous people present in this room so there was limited space for decorations and furniture. It is pleasing that it had been left the way it was, rather than stuffed with out of place articles that are more modern and do look authentic.
The Privy Chamber was next and from here, there was a great view of the Privy Garden. One thing that sticks out in William's apartments are the wood carvings as they are very delicate and intricate.
Despite the name, the Great Bedchamber was not the bedroom but where the king was dressed but the Little Bedroom is next and the ceiling is a highlight of the apartments. It depicts the God of War sleeping in the arms of the Goddess of Love.
In comparison, the private apartments of William are more in keeping with living quarters. There are many paintings showing his interests and the eye-catching highlight is the Liberation of Saint Peter by Steinwich.
The dining room is still laid out in the same manner that it would have been in the 18th-century and again, there are many paintings that takes time to take in. Another highlight of this room is the marble-topped table that is in the alcove.
It will be necessary to put aside a full day to visit this attraction as after the interior, there is much more to see outside. The maze is a must-do activity and when looking at pictures from above, it does not look that complicated, but once you're within the maze, it gets quite worrying as there are a few dead ends before the way out is found.
The gardens are located nearby and they will not disappoint as there is the view of the river, the hundreds of thousands of flowers and the calm and peaceful woodland. The Privy Garden is another area that is a copy of the original and has stayed true to the marble statues that were there in 1702. There is a Rose Garden and an area where there are lots of deer roaming, the Great Fountain Garden and the Pond Garden
There is an audio tour and for people who have visited and used it one time but not the other, they have said it made the visit more enjoyable and gave them a great deal of information.
The Palace is only closed between the following dates: 24th - 26th December, but the gardens do close earlier in the winter.
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Author: mekwriters. Last updated: Aug 30, 2014