Finding myself a short drive from the Palace and with a couple of hours to spare I arrived and parked easily within the palace grounds, all for the bargain price of £4. Before exploring the palace and grounds I walked along the river to grab some lunch. The weather was lovely and it was heavenly to sit by the river and watch the people and boats go by. A female swan was nesting nearby, and when she moved you could see that she was sitting on 7 eggs, which she was guarding fiercely!
The Palace was busy, but not at the point that you were tripping over people, many taking advantage of the lovely weather and picnicking in the grounds. From its majestic entry, through into the courtyards and chambers, the palace is a beautiful building. The last time I was at Hampton Court was for one of its musical events which was fantastic.
Recently the Palace have unveiled the Chocolate Kitchen which is the first time they have been open to the public in 300 years. The 18th century Chocolate Kitchens were once the domain of Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I. Throughout the year historic chefs will be hosting chocolate making lessons from the kitchen and exploring Tudor cookery classes. I have bookmarked a couple of dates to return.
With the sun shining it was perfect weather to explore the grounds and gardens of the Palace. I avoided the Maze as they freak me out slightly and hate the feeling of not being in control! The Privy gardens were stunning, the landscaping was so precise it was a work of art. I loved the little nooks in the hedgerows which gave sneak peeks into the gardens.
I loved the structured gardens, however some of my favourites were in the cottage beds running alongside the palace. With Iris's, foxgloves and stocks settling against the mottled old brickwork, it was a photography dream.
The rose garden was my final meander before leaving the palace. Alas, the roses weren't at their best, but they still smelt heavenly and full of gorgeous colour palettes. With the palace as a backdrop it is a gorgeous setting for a rose garden.
Its been a few years since my last visit to the Palace, I am determined that I will visit more often. There are a few events that they are hosting this year that I would like to attend. This historic landmark is within zone 6 of London's tube & train map, so I have no excuse for visiting if I don't want to drive, as the palace is a short walk from the station. Alternatively you can pick up a river bus from Westminster, Richmond & Kingston.