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.

Enchanting Doorways

I recently went around London to visit some locations that are very popular as they’re pretty and eye catching. Here’s some that I thought were great.

I started in Kensington at this cake shop. The outside was very charming with it’s pastel pink and quaint tables and chairs. The arch of flowers and pumpkins was very seasonal and made for a grand entrance to the inside where there were some delicious looking treats.

Nearby was a bakery which was also looking very Autumnal with an archway that represented the harvest at this time of year.

Next I went to see a very picturesque house that was painted immaculately in white with the shutters and door painted in a popping pink.

Walking to the station I came across a lovely restaurant with a flora and fauna decorating the front with a well placed bicycle to add to the look. There were also other well kept doorways and walkways and of course the huge beautiful building that is Harrods. The best thing I saw all day though, was a huge suspended rhino above a jewellery shop. It looked surreal and it really made me smile.

I can see why some of these locations are sought after and busy, and it’s always nice to come across something unexpected too. I have more photos of other locations that I visited, that I will post soon.

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.

A walk in Manchester

I recently went to Manchester for work and stayed in a stunning hotel and although I had a few super, busy days I did managed to disappear for a while and go for a walk. I came across some old buildings and a courtyard that looked beautiful in the bright, sunny afternoon. I would’ve liked to explore further but sadly, I ran out of time. I hope that next time I’m in the city I will have more time to explore and find the many other places that I’m sure are worth seeing. I’ll also need to remember to take my camera so I can take some better pictures of my discoveries (and maybe of the fancy hotel too)

Kew Gardens – Autumn visit 4

One of the things I was most excited about seeing at Kew Gardens was the Xstrata Treetop Walkway that was constructed a few years ago. The idea behind the walkway was to enable people to walk among the tree tops to get a closer look at the best part of the trees; the branches and leaves which aren’t usually easily accessible. Walking toward the structure it seems to appear suddenly from amongst the trees.

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To access the walkway you have to climb up a winding staircase with mesh sides, allowing you to see the view as you ascend. For those that can’t quite manage the stairs there’s also a lift that will take you to the top. The walkway is 59 feet high from where you get a great view

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I was able to get really close to some of the branches but as it was Autumn some of the closer trees had already shed their leaves. I expect the walkway is even more enjoyable in Summer when leaves are aplenty

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Another one of the other things I spotted almost immediatley as I entered the Gardens was this tall structure in the distance. I could tell straight away that it looked like a giant Pagoda like those found in Japan and wondered what it was doing in London!

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It turns out that the Pagoda was completed by Sir William Chambers in 1762 and that there is also a section dedicated to a Japanese landscape, with plants and flowers typically found in the country as well as a structure called the Chokushi-Mon meaning Gateway of the Imperial Messenger

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I thought the Japanese landscape was really nice and something different. I especially liked how tidy and organised it was (and if you look carefully you can see there is a circular pattern created in the pebbles)

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Kew Gardens, I saw some amazing plants, trees and flowers, some that don’t originate from England and learnt a lot whilst walking around, soaking in the fresh air and peace and quiet. I think the gardens are something really special and the thing I like most is that you could visit at various times over a twelve month period and there would always be something new or different to see. I really hope I will be able to go back later this year when the plants and flowers are in bloom and nature has something else to share.

I hope you have enjoyed my photos and there is still so much I didn’t see or haven’t posted about so please don’t think that I have covered even a fraction of what else can be found at Kew. I would definitely recommend a visit if you like being outdoors and are interested in all things green.

For more on Kew gardens please see my previous posts

Kew Gardens – Autumn Visit 1
Kew Gardens – Autumn Visit 2
Kew Gardens – Autumn Visit 3

Magic walkway

This is the pathway that leads to St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.
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Those who know about it, know that when the tide goes out the walkway becomes clear for you to walk on and leads you to the small island that has a castle or ‘mount’. The Island has many stories about it’s history, some factual, some in folklore, the most famous being it was once home to King Arthur.

Once the tide begins to come in the pathway begins to disappear beneath the waves (which I found out half way down on my way back to the mainland with my shoes getting soaked)

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Once the tide is completely in from afar it seems like the pathway never existed and was perhaps even magic!

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I’d love to hear your experiences of St Michael’s Mount and if you saw the tides coming in or out