Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens

London Travel Blog

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The day started off rather early. We were out of the hotel by 9am, went to Victoria station and caught the train to Hampton Court Palace from there. The train journey as such was uneventful. The only thing that struck me about that day was how HOT it was. The sun was unrelenting, I just couldn't believe it.

Anyway we made our way through to Hampton Court palace in that sunny weather. I'd booked tkts on the Internet in advance so we didn't have to wait, thank God for that. I was looking at the queue of people there and thinking "God BLESS the Internet".

Our 1/2 day at the Palace was luvly. Those audio guides really helped. We started off at the kitchen and that was GRAND. We (my dad and I) had this joke that the people who lived there were probably our ancestors, seeing as they dedicated so much of space for FOOD!

The George Apartments were average at best, the State and King apartments were very impressive, esp the paintings.

Gardens
I still however couldn't help but notice the similarity btn this place and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, and I still like that more, sorry! :-) Lunch was in the palace itself, had some luvly tomato soup and tons of other knick-knacks. (I luv the UK in that you get vege options wherever you go).

After the palace, we went to the gardens. And this was amazing. Really, way cool. Way way too cool. It's so big, so well maintained, all sorts of plants, flowers and trees in all sorts of arrangements. I luved the overall layout of the gardens, and I loved what they've done with the trees - the cone shape. I don't think I've ever stood in one place and taken so many pictures. The gardens, the 'back' view of the palace, EVERYTHING.

Gardens at Hampton Court Palace
This was the one time I actually forgot how bad the sun was!

we'd hoped we'd leave Hampton by 1pm and make our way to Kew Gardens, it was already 3pm! And getting from here to Kew was a nightmare. For 2 areas that are the biggest attractions in that 'zone', you'd think they have direct tube connectivity, or for chrissakes AT LEAST directions on how to go to Kew. But no! We had to walk to the bus stop, spk to the driver who said he was going on the bus that takes us to Kew and in the same breath proclaims how excited he is today cos it's his 1st week on the job. OH DEAR! My dad kept clutching to me saying "I hope you know what you're doing Vik".

The bus was crowded, total nightmare. And we had to sit near the driver so that we can hear him signal us when Kew Gardens arrive. It finally did, it was around 4pm now that we got in using that discounted fare seeing we arrived so late, LOL!

You know, this Kew Gardens dubiously takes the record of BIGGEST ANTICLIMAX/DISAPPOINTMENT of our London trip.

Hampton Court Palace
Seeing as I hail from Bangalore, India (the Garden city, home to Lalbagh and Cubbon Park, 2 of the biggest gardens in India), I grew up in Kitwe (another city filled with gardens) and I'm writing this trip report after my New Zealand trip (Christchurch, hello!) I cannot believe how overrated this Kew Garden is. (Sorry to the Kew Garden lovers, I'm just telling you what I felt).

We started off at the glasshouse. Pray, why were the plants decorated with stupid K-Mart Xmas style decorations? And pray, why were tourists taking pictures of them?! They not only looked cheap, but ridiculously unnecessary. The Greek bit was good, at least we found a structure to stand behind for a pic. And now the HIGHLIGHT, or should I say the lowest - the rose garden. My God it looked like it had been caught in a forest fire.

The plants had all wilted, the roses were scarce and it was RIPE for hay stacking if you ask me.

What we enjoyed most about Kew Gardens was the fact that it so close to Heathrow. All 3 of us are plane lovers, and seeing as a plane lands every 30 sec in LHR, it was fun playing "guess which airline" looking at its livery. Ironic innit, for a place that prides itself on tranquility, our highlight was noisy planes from up above! We got done by 5:30pm, thank God for an ice cream van outside. We caught a tube back to Paddington.

Dinner was at rstnt there called "Golden Shalimar" which was another RIP-OFF. What I didn't know about rsnts in London serving Indian food is that if you order a meal that's only veg, then the veg curries are 'supersized' and the price is also increased which doesn't snow in the menu.

The waiter never explained it to us, so off we order the choicest of curries thinking "oh this is cheap". Dad couldn't wait to pig in to it seeing as he was famished. And the bill arrives, we're like "WTF"! We kicked up a storm there till the rsnt mgr apologised and our price was the same as mentioned in the menu card. Unnecessary experience after such a hectic day, if you ask me.

Another day done in London town. It's unbelievable, all the places the TripAdvisor population would talk about , I finally got see and witness. And I always think of Anemone everytime I see Kew Garden. There I am going Kews and Anemone correcting me "Vikram its KEW"!

Eric says:
Haha, very entertaining entry! I like your description of the rose garden as "RIPE for hay stacking"...Didn't get a chance to check out Kew Garden when I was in London, but now I don't feel so bad about missing it :)
Posted on: Dec 13, 2005
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Gardens
Gardens
Gardens at Hampton Court Palace
Gardens at Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
London
photo by: ulysses