Hampton Court Palace

I went to Hampton Court Palace a few weeks ago with my family for a day out. The Palace was once the home of King Henry VIII and was built in the Tudor style in 1514. The building and grounds are huge, with mazes, gardens and so much more.

Walking up to the Palace and through the entrance was a large courtyard. There were huge tall pillars along a walkway leading to other rooms, high walls with a decorative clock and a fountain with statues to depict what life may have been like.

Inside were some beautiful rooms and staircases. The King’s Staircase was especially wonderful, with a huge painting across the entire wall and ceiling, and an intricately made handrail leading up the stairs.

The rooms were set up as they would have been when it was lived in, with costumes and props on display and with facts of King Henry’s life there. The inside ground walkways opened up to courtyards that had fountains and statues.

On the other side of the building was the was the Queen’s Staircase, also quite beautiful, and was lit in a soft, warm light.

After looking around the main part of the Palace we headed towards the gardens. The Great Fountain Garden is one of the largest and was one that we came upon first. Just as we entered a horse and carriage pulled up, and we all piled on excitedly for a ride around the garden.

After our ride we walked towards the other gardens, the main one was The Privy Garden which was set out in an Italian style and was very well looked after. Along one side was a long, vine coloured walkway which was lovely for a stroll. Nearby were other well kept, but smaller gardens. I personally loved walking through the rose garden which gave off an amazing scent.

The Palace also had a maze, which is England’s oldest surviving at 300 years old. We had fun looking for the centre and then our way out. Next we visited the huge play area for children, with high bridges, hills and sculptures. Hidden away, the Palace also had The Great Vine, the largest and oldest known grapevine in the world, at over 240 years old.

There was a lot to see, with some beautiful, grand rooms, staircases and gardens, and we easily spent a whole day there, after which we were all completely exhausted. I can see now, why Hampton Court Palace is so popular and it was amazing to see and learn about the history of how Kings and Queens of our past lived in such an opulent palace.

Spiral Staircase

In Heal’s furniture store in London, tucked away towards the back is a wonderful staircase. It was designed by Cecil Brewer in 1916 and it is as beautiful today as it was then. The staircase spirals from fourth floor to the basement level, with a stunning Bocci chandelier filling the space in the centre with 65 glass pendants.

This is the lovely view from the bottom to the top

The handrail is a rich dark brown, giving a lovely outline to the staircase, and the glass pendants sit at irregularly giving a sense of height

My favourite view is from the top down to the basement. There is a black glass table sitting just under the chandelier which reflects back the lit up pendants giving the view an extra twinkle.

I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area, as access to beautiful structures isn’t always so easy.

Rochester Castle

I visited Rochester in Kent recently with family on an afternoon out. On arrival we decided to have a look around and came across the grand looking Cathedral which is the second oldest in England.

Inside there were lots of pretty stain glass windows and statues as well as other historical artifacts and features.

After looking around we turned towards Rochester Castle, which was built in the 1080s and still looked like it was standing strong despite being a ruin.

The castle stands on large grounds where lots of families were having picnics, playing games and just enjoying the good view and weather. Inside the castle you could the large building blocks that made it, giving an indication of just how old it was. I can imagine it must have been cold and dark in the evenings and difficult to get around with its steep, narrow, spiral staircases, and long hallways.

As we carefully climbed the staircases we reached the roof and could see a lovely view of River Medway on one side and walking around to the other, Rochester Cathedral which sits across from the castle.

It didn’t take us too long to see the whole castle as there weren’t any rooms, mostly corridors and landings from one staircase to another but it let us imagine what it would have looked like when it was in use. It was a nice afternoon out and we enjoyed experiencing and learning about something new.

Spiral staircase

I went to a department store in London recently called Fortnum and Mason. Its known as the Queen’s grocer and has been operating for over 300 years. On the day I visited they had their spiral staircase beautifully decorated in pink, delicate flowers which I just had to capture.

Spiral staircase

Other wonderful and interesting things I spotted were glacé fruits, colourful candles and delicious looking sweets. I also tried some of the tea that was brewed whilst I wandered.

It was fun walking around and seeing things that I wouldn’t normally see in my every day life. I don’t plan a visit again anytime soon, but if I happen to be in the area I’ll be sure to have another browse.