Our first full day in London was also my 30th birthday! We started the day with breakfast at a local coffee chain we ate at numerous times, Cafe Nerro. I fell in love with their tomato/mozzarella croissants. Delicious.
Our plan for the morning and the afternoon was to take the train from Waterloo station over to Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court Palace was one of the main palaces of the Tudor era (and later William & Mary), that I was so excited to see, as I'm obsessed with The Tudors!
The train ride lasted about 30 minutes, and the palace is just a short walk over the Thames River bridge. The palace itself looks just like what you would imagine a castle from the 1500's would look like. I was so glad we had such a beautiful day to explore the grounds.
We arrived just in time to watch a little performance featuring Lady Jane Boleyn and Thomas Culpepper. They involved the audience (we were new arrivals that would be members of Queen Katherine Howard's court). And the story told was of the arrest of both Jane & Thomas. I loved seeing the characters in historical dress, and it really was a fun show.
We spent a good couple of hours navigating the different exhibits and rooms in the castle. I loved it. We even got to sit in "throne" like chairs and pretend to be queen and king.
The gardens were beautiful. And we spent some time walking through the famous hedge maze, taking about 20 minutes to get to the center.
Before we left, I purchased my favorite souvenir from the trip. These are ornaments featuring Henry VIII and his six wives. LOVE them.
When we got back to the city, we ate at a pub (Earl's Court Tavern), which was right outside of our hotel. On my last trip to London, I did not like the food (outside of fish n' chips). But I enjoyed it a little more this go round. I had bangers & mash, and Adam grabbed fish n' chips. I also drank a lot of cider.
In the evening, we went to the West End performance of Kinky Boots. I really love musicals, and it was really hard to chose which one we wanted to see on the trip. But a girlfriend praised Kinky Boots so highly that it was my final decision.
We loved it so much (even Adam who has trouble following musicals understood it). It was funny & touching. And during the last song, the whole audience stood up and danced. And since we arrived home from the trip, I've been listening to the sound track on repeat.
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