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.

Holland Park, London

We’ve had some lovely weather this summer in London and I was able to make the most of it by going to Holland Park one sunny day. The park has so many different types of plants and flowers, and it was a delight to walk along the winding paths taking in all the vibrant colours and varying scents.

One of the main features of the park is it’s beautiful Japanese Kyoto Garden. I was surprised to see that they had Koi carp (and pennies) in the pond as well as a peacock strutting around. There was a pretty waterfall and a walkway that allowed you to cross the pond and through the garden. I found the garden very peaceful and aesthetically pleasing.

There are also some smaller gardens within the park, some that held interesting statues, and others that had stunning flower displays, as well as a giant game of chess.

Overall the park had some beautiful features and you can tell it was very well maintained, and on a sunny day it made for a lovely day out, one that I would definitely recommend.

Thumbs Up

One of my favourite spots in London is Trafalgar Square, I love the open space in the middle of London filled with the sound of gushing water pouring out of the famous fountains and all overlooked by the proud bronze lions on one side and squared by plinths in each corner. The fourth plinth on the Square displays pieces of art and now it is home to a new one. In the past I have posted about the Gift Horse and the Blue Chicken, which were displayed and now it is home to a statue called Really Good which is a hand with a very long thumbs up. I’m not too sure what I make of it but it makes me smile, and think positive which I guess is what it’s supposed to do. What do you think of it?

Really Good Thumbs Up

Really Good Thumbs Up

Ramsgate, Kent

I’ve really wanted to go to the coast this Summer; I find that being by the sea relaxes and refreshes me and as we had a few hot days ahead I thought I’d take my chance. I decided on going to Ramsgate in Kent as it had a sandy beach instead of pebbly and I was curious as to what else was in the area as I’d never been before. On the day it turned out to be the hottest day of the year which made for an amazing, bright view.

On arrival I came across yachts and other boats in the harbour, sitting in the sparkling blue sea.

Nearby was the Maritime Museum, which housed lots of artifacts from the area as well as objects from World War Two. I wanted to go down into the well known Ramsgate war tunnels but unfortunately they were closed for the day.

I had some lunch (chips, and an ice slushi obviously) then headed to the beach. The view really was beautiful and calming, and blues like the sea, endless.

After paddling in the cold water and watching the waves for a while I brushed off the sand and headed back to the train station. On route I came across some colourful artwork.

I also passed a computer games museum which was closed, but walked around the courtyard of a church and a park which had these creative wood statues.

It was a really hot, sunny and relaxing day out and although there wasn’t loads to do, it was enough for a day trip. And the coast as always was soothing for my heart and soul as well as my eyes. It gave me time to think and to just switch off, and on the train home I visualised the beautiful sky and sea, hoping it isn’t too long before I see such a view again.

Sea view

Italian gardens in London

Wondering around Hyde park earlier this year I came across the Italian Gardens. The Gardens have embellished statues, urns and large water fountains, all which create a really nice relaxing space.

The main water fountain leading to the top of the Serpentine lake was a combination of a group of boys holding a huge platter with a woman on either side holding an urn, all pouring water into the lake.

On the far side of the garden is a chapel with really pretty flowers planted on either side in neat geometric rows.

I thought the gardens were laid out nicely and kept in really good condition. I found them to be a calming space with the sound of rushing water from the fountains drowning out some of the background noise and pretty flowers soothing to the eyes. I’ll definitely look to visiting it again at some point.

Gift horse

Gift horse

Currently the fourth plinth in Trafalger Square is occupied by a skeletal figure of a gift horse with a ribbon around it’s leg displaying the London Stock Market. It replaces the giant blue chicken that was there previously. As artistic as the horse looks I think I miss the chicken. What do you think?

Strange sculptures

I was playing tourist recently in London (of which I will post more about soon) and on my wonderings I came across these interesting sculptures. The horse’s head is called Still Water and looks quite calming. The black beast-looking thing across, I have to admit gave me the creeps so I didn’t take any closer photos of it but it’s called She Guardian and I’m sure will also be scaring others. There was also a temporary summer observation wheel which gives you a view of the local area including Hyde Park, which seemed nice.

statues

Buses and bears

During my visit to London recently I came across these interesting, small(ish) buses that have been painted in different styles by artists. These and many other painted buses can be found scattered across London to encourage walking around the city.

bus

bus

I really like the waterpainted bus with the hazy outlines of famous London landmarks in bright colours. The second one in the style of pop art I also quite like, depicting the Queen’s guards, in a simple but effective way.

I’d also heard about the ‘Paddington trail’ in London so on my travels I kept an eye out for bears too, and to my excitement I found one!

paddington bear

These statues of Paddington bear, like the buses have been scattered around London, each one painted by a celebrity in a different way. The idea behind this one seems to be to celebrate the new Paddington film just out but also raise money for charity when they will be sold early next year. In addition to the statues the London high street seems to be Paddington crazy at the minute with all things Peruvian bear being displayed in windows and posters.

psddington bear

In the past I have encountered painted bright giant eggs, colourful elephants and artsy phone boxes, all of which I am always pleased to find and to me they make a nice addition to the London streets, especially as its always for a good cause. I look forward to seeing what they decide to paint next.

Poppy Day

Poppy day or Remembrance Day as it is officially known, is marked in the UK to remember the armed forces that died in the line of duty. To mark one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War the Tower of London has installed an art installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which is made up of 888,246 ceramic poppies encircling the Tower, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war. The poppes have been added to the moat of the castle from August with more being added everyday.

As Remembrance Day was drawing near (11th Novemeber, after which the poppies would be removed and sold) I decided to go take a look. I got to the Tower early in the morning and it was already really busy with lots of people. Luckily I was able to get a view from the angles I wanted and I got some pretty good pictures, I would have loved to be able to go down to ground level and see them but that was out of bounds to the public.

Tower london poppies

The poppies together really do look like a sea of red, even more so by the poppies being placed at different heights to create waves and the idea of movement

The poppies filling the moat, surrounded the entire Tower. I found that around the back of the Tower it wasn’t as busy and also the walkways were closer to the ground and allowed to people to get a closer look

poppies

Later volunteers and members of the navy arrived to help to install some more poppies. From 12th November more volunteers will come along to help take out and clean the poppies so they can be sent to members of the public that have bought them

I think the simple idea of using poppies was very striking when all put together, it really brought home just how so many British people had died in the war. It also made me think about all those that had died around the world in the past due to wars and are still continuing to do so.

There were also other installations around London to mark remembrance day, some traditional and long lasting and others temporary and modern. The poppy wreaths are usually found around November, the engraved words I found really sad, which can be seen all year round and speaks about all those that were lost at sea. The most modern installation I came across was in Trafalger Square called ‘Every Man Remembered’, which is based on the Unknown Soldier and has poppies that blow around inside the glass

All of these are really interesting and make you think about how many lives were lost in the wars, what I think is really sad though is how little we seem to learn from history

Embrace

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This bronze statue called ‘The Meeting Place’ can be found at London St Pancras station and is made by the artist Paul Day. You may not be able to tell by the photo but this statue is huge, standing at 30 feet tall. My favourite part though, is the giant handbag on the woman’s shoulder and the backpack that the man has, which I’ve been told changes every so often for advertising