Day 1 – Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace and Runnymede

Windsor castle

Windsor Castle is the official residence of Her Majesty, the Queen. It is world’s oldest castle that has been continuously occupied.  See the magnificent State Apartments; furnished with some of the finest Baroque art from the Royal Collection, St. George’s Chapel; the burial place of Henry VIII, Charles I and many other Kings and Queens. Also see Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and marvel at the exquisite detail of the fully functioning light fittings and plumbed bathrooms – designed by the same man who re-designed parts of Buckingham Palace; Aston Webb.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is the famous, most favorite palace of Henry VIII. Built by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514 and situated along the beautiful River Thames. Five of Henry’s wives lived here.  Apparently, the ghosts of Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard still haunt the palace. Highlights include, the Great Hall, with its exquisite hammer-beam roof and hung with some of Henry VIII’s most splendid tapestries, the Tudor kitchens built to feed 700 members of court, 60 acres of beautiful gardens featuring sparkling fountains and glorious displays of over 150,000 flowering bulbs, the world’s largest grape vine planted in the 1760’s, the maze and astronomical clock. After Henry VIII the palace was home to subsequent Stuart and Hanoverian monarchs.

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace

Runnymede (Magna Carta)

Around 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons on this small patch of countryside. It was at Runneymede that he sealed Magna Carta, seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy.  Visit the memorial to this great event erected by the American Bar Association in 1957 and on the same hillside, set in a symbolic acre of land donated to the United States of America by Queen Elizabeth II in in 1965, is a seven-tonne block of Portland stone commemorating the life of President John F Kennedy.    On the way to Runnymede, see Eton, the famous boys’ school that Princes William and Harry attended, where pupils still dress in traditional black tail coats.

Both Hampton Court and Runnymede are near the world’s oldest castle at Windsor.

runnymede-american-bar-association-memorial
Runnymede, Surrey

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