I am a longtime reader of Rosie’s blog Eat Read Glam, and I pretty much enjoy and comment on every post she writes. I love that she reads and interacts regularly over here too. So when we began to discuss meeting up in real life, naturally we decided to visit a castle together, as they’re a mutual fascination of ours.
We had decided to visit Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire, as 1) it was about an hour and a half’s journey for both of us and 2) it looked amazing.
I arrived before Rosie and when I left the car park, I was greeted with this stunning garden and gift shop. My excitement was mounting!
I also made friends with a cat as I wandered around the plant stalls, she wanted lots of attention and I played with her for a little while.
After buying a ticket and heading through the gardens, I stopped to admire these sheep. Random!
When Rosie arrived, we immediately headed for lunch in the Orangery and a good chat. The first rule of castle exploration is to enjoy cake beforehand, and we settled down to the task.
After lunch we made our way into the castle. Immediately we were struck by the suits of armour and the (rather creepy!) animal heads decorating the wall. The most impressive/gruesome by far was this lion on the staircase.
My favourite rooms were the bedrooms which had been beautifully renovated. I think this one was the loveliest of all.
Downstairs again, we went into the ballroom, which for me had an aura of Jane Austen about it. I almost saw Lizzie Bennett waltz past!
To booklovers like us, the library was the best room. There’s even a secret door! I also had to admire this piano, as Oliver is a piano teacher and I always think of him when I see one.
When we got back outside, we headed around the castle to get a better view of the outside of the building. Isn’t it beautiful?
We ended up on the woodland path to a clearing with some swings and a zip slide. We continued along the path and made our way along the river and back to the castle, just in time to watch the birds of prey display. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos but it was fun to watch the birds flying and even performing tricks. The eagles were huge!
Next, we made our way towards the grounds. No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that’s a door in a tree!
The gardens really were something. So many beautiful flowers, colours and water features.
Then we decided to try our luck in the maze. There was a tower in the middle and obviously we had to get to it. On three sides there was a locked door, and guess how many locked doors we found?! We finally made it to the open door and were faced with a flight of stairs going down, and one going up. We went downstairs and soon found ourselves in a tunnel so dark, we hesitated to continue for fear of walking headfirst into someone! Thank heavens for phone lights.
When we came out at the other end, we were met with an idyllic garden and a waterfall. It was the icing on the cake of a great castle. We even ran behind the waterfall!
Back in the tower, we headed upstairs to view the castle from the top of the tower. It was a view worth struggling round the maze for (although we couldn’t work out the way out of the maze from up there unfortunately!).
And so ended a lovely afternoon. Hampton Court is a great day out and I absolutely loved every moment of being there and being in Rosie’s company. She’s just as lovely as I knew she would be, and it’s great to be real life friends now.
As a castle, Hampton Court fulfilled all of the criteria. Secret door? Check. Armour? Check. Library? Check. Fairy glen style gardens? Check. As we wandered around, we discussed our imaginary castle-like homes, which will feature in a future blog!
Also, the search is on for the next castle to conquer. Do you have any recommendations?