Sunday, 25 September 2011

London - continued

Monday was taken up catching up with my cousin in Dagenham. Boy was it a long way out of London itself, by the time we left and headed back home it was early evening.
Regents Park
The next day we walked through Regents Park which still had beautiful roses in bloom and beds of colourful flowers even though it is autumn there. The park was started in 1812 and was designed by John Nash. There is a lake which attracts many water birds which also have breeding areas there .Queen Mary’s Garden was still a wonderful sight in autumn though must be spectacular in summer.
We then came to Regents canal, a tow path and followed that along to Little Venice, so called because a number of canal boats a moored along the banks. Many people actually live on the boats as they have a number plants, outdoor furniture and barbecues beside their craft on the land.

After lunch we decided to go out to Hampton Court. This was Cardinal Wolsey’s palace which was built in 1514 which was intended as his riverside home. He later offered it to King HenryVIII.
It is a magnificent piece of Tudor architecture, which includes a Renaissance picture gallery and the Royal Chapel with its Tudor pendant vaulted ceiling which is stunning.
Hampton Court
On the ground floor there is a huge kitchen and food preparation area. The main food seemed to be meat and more meat, about1200 oxen and 8000 sheep as well as slightly smaller quantities of pigs, poultry and deer were consumed per year. You certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be a vegetarian in Tudor times.  
Our last day was spent going out to Hampstead Heath. Actually the town of Hampstead itself was quite delightful and we enjoyed wandering around it for a while. We then walked to Kenwood House taking in a brief walk through the heath, as it is huge and you would need a whole day just to wander many of the paths.
Kenwood House
Kenwood House is a beautiful old house which is filled with many paintings, including those of Vermeer, Turner, Rembrandt and Reynolds. I think some of these small galleries are often nicer as there is a wide variety of works without the huge numbers as in the large galleries, which can tend to be overwhelming.

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