£43 Family Admission to Palace, Gardens, and Maze
£25 Lunch at Cafe in Palace
£23 Tea Time Snack
£91 GBP which is about $145
Here is a video overview of our trip. I will warn you towards the end the kids did a Blare Witch knock off through the hedge maze, so do not watch it if you are prone to motion sickness.
Here is what the family has to say about the experience.
This place was a 15/30 of goodness. The food was already, but it wasn't the and it wasn't the worst. I got the bacon butty for lunch and a toffee pudding cake for a tea time snack.
As for my tour of the palace, it was awesome =)
The day started with us entering the gates guarded by the Lion and the Unicorn -
the banner symbols of the king. Symbols which would not be lost on followers of C.S. Lewis Narina book series.
Though the gilded doors (that means golden) into an inspiring walkway towards a palace whose bricks are painted nearly pink by the still rising sun we stroll. We view what appears to be a fairly normal but well maintained grassy garden, but as we approach we notice street lamps which could be out of a fairy tale story in their unlit grandeur. As we approach the main gate we cross a brick bridge, guarded by white granite mythical creatures. Dragons, manticores, lions, unicorns, and more stand over a now drained moat area. The gates are open, the portcullis raised, we enter through the grand entrance and into the main courtyard.
This courtyard was designed by King Henry VIII's engineers to host a large contingent of Europe's kings and queens and all their entourage. It has a wishing well near the center. We all make wishes and toss two pence pieces (to ensure our dreams come true).
There were three courtyards total. The one after
the main courtyard was called the clock court. It had a large, incredibly ornate time/day/month/zodiac clock insert in one wall. Another wall was very Romanesque in its white marble columns.
The other courtyard was more of a normal medieval court palace yard. It was a simple fountain with four lamps and grass. Nothing exceptional, but both functional and elegant. It would have been peaceful but accommodating to those who would use it to move from place to place within the palace.
The palace is setup around these courtyards. Each apartment is for one person -- the King did not sleep in the same bed or even the same room as the Queen. And each apartment views a courtyard and a portion of the gardens, which surround the palace.
The king's apartment started with the guards armory. A large room, the armory is empty except for its decorations - daggers, drums, swords, pistols, rifles, and armor adorned in decorative patterns around the room.
From the armory we moved through to the poker room/personal eating area/office. It has a small four man table ready for a night of poker, another table for snacks, and another for the composing of letters.
The kings bath chamber was more of a passing affair, half hidden. A tub, a fireplace, and a vain glorious personal vanity were tucked in away from the other rooms. The king's bedroom and Anteroom were nothing compared to the Queen's drawing room, but such is to be expected from an egotist king and an adoring wife.
An incredibly well manicured garden surrounds three sides of the palace. One side is a hedge maze, another a couple of secluded ponds with sitting and thinking space, and the third is the backyard garden replete with marble statuaries, rose garden patens, and gilded fences overlooking the river Thames.
This palace was not at all as austere as I imagined a palace would be. Don't let me mislead you, thought, it was beautifully and very tastefully built, designed, and maintained. I would definitely have gotten an ego and acted like the kings of old did if I lived there.
This was a fun adventure out and about. The best part of the palace was the fact there was something for everyone. Lexi enjoyed the kitchen areas, Neil and Ray loved the armory, everyone enjoyed different parts of the gardens. They even had a toddler play area. The palace was really set up as a family oriented attraction, with thought going into how to make the place attractive to all ages. At some point during the day, we all felt like royalty.
On the downside, with the palace and grounds being so enormous, it made it hard to make everyone happy at the same time. Of course we all loved the hedge maze, but to be honest I expected it to be more. The reviews I read said it was a world famous hedge maze, this maybe but only because it is so old. It didn't take more than five minutes to find our way out. Of course it was fun to play in it for awhile, but really I had expected it to take much more of our day.
Today we went to the Hampton Court palace. It was boring. The food was bad. For example, the yogurt with the kids meal tasted like citric when it was strawberry flavored. When I walked in I thought it would be cool but it wasn't, so here is a joke for you:
One night a prince and a princess went out on a boat ride.
The boat tipped and the prince and princess fell in.
Who was left on the boat?