Take a boat cruise out from London to Hampton Court Palace in Surrey.
Expect to spend the entire day on this adventure. From April to October getting to Henry VIII's stunning stomping grounds from Westminster can take up to 4 hours, so check before embarking. If boating does not interest you, just hop on the train or bus to get to the Tudor Palace, built in 1515 by Cardinal Wolsey, for the amazing gardens, the maze, the kitchen (it is like a village in itself), historical tours, and many and ever changing activities.
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The 16th-century palace of Cardinal Wolsey can teach us a lesson: Don't try to outdo your boss, particularly if he happens to be Henry VIII. The rich cardinal did just that, and he eventually lost his fortune, power, and prestige, and ended up giving his lavish palace to the Tudor monarch. Henry took over, even outdoing the Wolsey embellishments. The Tudor additions included the Anne Boleyn gateway, with its 16th-century astronomical clock that even tells the time of high tide at London Bridge. From Clock Court, you can see one of Henry's major contributions, the aptly named Great Hall, with its hammer-beam ceiling. Also added by Henry were the tiltyard (where jousting competitions were held), a tennis court, and a kitchen.
Although the palace enjoyed prestige and pomp in Elizabethan days, it owes much of its present look to William and Mary -- or rather to Sir Christopher Wren, who designed and had built the Northern or Lion Gates, intended to be the main entrance to the new parts of the palace. The fine wrought-iron screen at the south end of the south gardens was made by Jean Tijou around 1694 for William and Mary. You can parade through the apartments today, filled as they were...read more
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Our Local Expert Says:
Not too far from Hampton Court, this wild park is full of deer and offers horse back riding & cycling for the disabled. Great place to take in (& figure out the rules) of a cricket match.
Bushy Park covers some 445 hectares (1,100 acres) of historic deer park. It was originally enclosed from ploughed farmland into three separate parks by Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII between 1500 and 1537. Still teeming with deer as in Henry's day, wander through this beautiful park, past Leg of Mutton Pond, Heron Pond and the Diana Fountain for a tranquil break.