Thursday, June 4, 2015

UK Trip 2015: Day 7 at Hampton Court Palace and Harrod's!

It's the last post in this series! I've loved recapping our trip and I'm so glad I will be able to look back and remember one of the greatest weeks of my life. I can't say enough how thankful I am for the opportunity and I'm so glad we did it.

One of the nerdy quirks about me is that I really have always loved history and have for whatever reason read several books about the Tudor dynasty and Henry VIII and all of his ridiculousness. So when I knew we were going to go to London, I knew that I really wanted to go to Hampton Court Palace, the residence of King Henry VIII and his gaggle of wives. Elizabeth I also lived there, as well as William and Mary.

Hampton Court Palace is outside the city so we had to take a pretty substantial train ride (comparatively to the other places we saw) but it wasn't bad. We took the tube to Hampton Court and then had to RUN to take another train out to our destination. We had lunch at this cute little cafe that was operated by 5 blonde sisters in yoga pants. They might have been quintuplets, we're not sure.

We took the short walk over to the palace. SO. COOL.

We were able to walk in to the Great Hall, where the feasts were held and entertainment was performed. William Shakespeare and his men even performed in that room. 

The Great Hall had some tables sitting out with some rules of the palace written on cloths for us to see.

There was another rule listed in what was the bathroom area that said you must cough when you relieve yourself. I just thought y'all would want to know that. 

Henry realllly loved himself. 

I really enjoyed going into the Chapel. We saw one of the original King James Bibles and the private balcony where King Henry would observe mass. The Chapel was really exquisite.

One of the coolest parts of the Palace was the outdoor gardens.

One of the most famous things about Hampton Court is its famous hedge maze which was originally planted sometime between 1689 and 1695. We did, indeed, get lost. But we eventually found our way and it was a great experience!

At some point during the walk through the palace I realized that I had yet to have tea in England, and I decided I needed to change that. 

We went to Elizabeth's Privy Kitchen and I had tea and scones. It wasn't high tea or anything like that, but at least I could cross it off of my list!

After we made it back to Kensington that afternoon, we made our way over to Harrod's!

It was pretty packed with people, but it was totally worth seeing. There was so much FOOD in Harrod's which I was not expecting. Chocolates and candies and coffee and so many restaurants. It was so cool. And beautiful.

We loved Shoe Heaven!

We also went to the Children's area and got Ellie a little happy from our trip. It was an overwhelming place but I can totally see how you could lose a day in there if you had some money to burn!

For our last meal, we went back to the boys' favorite pub, the Hereford Arms, to get another of what Grant has dubbed the best burger he's ever had.

If you're ever in Kensington, go to the Hereford Arms on Gloucester Road!

We woke up early the next morning and took the tube to the airport. (Side note: I found the tubes to be incredibly convenient. We never took a cab once!) We got ourselves all checked in, had one more English breakfast at the airport, and then headed to our gate.

During our whole trip, we never had a late flight or lost baggage or any kind of logistical nightmare, but our last flight was a little complicated.

Our flight was combined with two other flights for some reason, so it took some extra time to get all of those people's luggage on our plane, as well as additional food for the trip. Once we were on the plane, our pilot informed us that records showed that there was a piece of luggage in the cargo area that did not match anyone on our flight manifest, so they had to go through each piece of luggage one by one and remove the mystery bag. 

While this took over an hour, no one minded because HEY, GET THAT SUITCASE OFF OUR PLANE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

On the flight home I watched 3 episodes of The Newsroom and became obsessed with it. Grant and I had an empty seat between us so I spent some time sleeping which was just lovely. 

We got home, my dad picked us up from the airport, and immediately took us to Del Pueblo for Mexican food! Tiff's parents were there as well as my mom and ELLIE GIRL.

She ran and jumped into my arms and I'm telling you... she would not peel herself off of me for over 30 minutes. I ate my chips and queso with a child leached onto me like a monkey. But I didn't mind one bit.

Go to London. Go to Scotland. You won't regret it.

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