King Henry VIII’s extravagant Hampton Court Palace turned 500 this year. The colossal collection of buildings and gardens, and the extravagant antiquities that fill it, is a mind-boggling rabbit warren that show’s the excesses and follies of the Tudor era. On the outskirts of London and by the Thames, the huge property not only houses the Palace, but has extensive gardens that include the Maze, Privy Garden and the Royal Tennis Courts. Whether by guided tour or using the provided audio guide, it’s easy to get lost in history whilst delving into the very public and private life of the former king. Formerly used as Queen Elizabeth 1’s private kitchen, the discreetly located Privy Kitchen café was built in the late 1550s. The 16th century style dining hall offers a refectory style of dining as well as a smaller, more intimate dining room next door. The café dishes up a no-frills morning or afternoon tea of scones, Tiptree strawberry jam and Rodda’s clotted cream. The fruit scones are yet again served at room temperature and by lunchtime, my scone is leaning towards the dry side. Hampton Court Palace shows the fascinating history of the Tudors and is well worth a visit, and if the Privy Kitchen café doesn’t suit, there is always the Tiltyard Cafe to try.
Tea: A basic selection of Twinings tea bags served in a mug.
Overall: Sporting a 16th century vibe, it’s cosy in lousy weather.