Val Baynton took advantage of a beautiful September day to visit Hampton Court Palace in Richmond, London.Val thoroughly enjoyed exploring it and was amazed at its size and the variety of architecture reflecting both its Tudor owners – Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII – and the expansion carried out by King William III in the later 17th century in a baroque style.
Groups can easily spend all day at this palace, which is now run by Historic Royal Palaces. Private tours can be booked but the superb audio handsets offer various routes and different themes to explore, including the way different rooms such as the Great Hall or the early 18th century suite of rooms that’s now the Cumberland Art Gallery have evolved over time.The Tudor Kitchens were fascinating to visit – character re-enactors gave demonstrations and explained more about the huge number of meals cooked there every day. There will be limited access to the kitchens until April, when they close for a month until a grand re-opening on 5th May.
Val was enchanted by the extensive gardens too, including the Privy Gardens that have been restored back to how they looked in 1702, seeing the Great Vine (the world’s largest) and strolling along the Broad Walk – the longest herbaceous mixed flower border in Britain.
But the highlight of her visit was The Maze: “I have long wanted to solve its puzzle, and as you can see I made my way to the centre!”