My First Solo Trip: Day 3
Today, I decided to visit Hampton Court Palace. I took the tube over to Waterloo Station, got a little confused and nearly got on the wrong train, but thankfully a nice rail employee sent me back in the right direction. After boarding the correct train, I made a quick change at the Surbiton Station, before arriving at Hampton Court Palace. I should add that the train wasn’t complicated at all, I just got nervous and tried to rush, which is why I ended up being slightly confused. Just one of the many joys of travel!
I had purchased my admission ticket to the palace online at a minimal savings, so I just had to stop in at the ticket office to pick it up. Admission included an audio guide, which I really enjoyed using while I wandered the grounds. There were also employees in period costumes who performed short demonstrations and provided short speeches on certain aspects of the castle’s history and occupants, which is something that children especially seemed to enjoy. It wasn’t at all crowded the day that I visited and I was able to move from room to room at my own pace and visit each of the exhibits without rushing. After exploring the various exhibits within the palace, I headed out for a leisurely stroll through the expansive gardens. The grounds are glorious and there quite a few different types of gardens to explore. Spending the day at Hampton Court turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip to London and I highly recommend it to others who find themselves with a free day to visit.
I think I got back on the train toward London at around 15:00, but I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that this train was direct and took me back to Waterloo without having to change. It was on this particular train that I finally had a real conversation with another human being. I typically manage pretty well on my own, thanks to my introverted nature, but it’s nice to have a real human connection every now and again. This brief chat occurred with an older gentleman who was on his way to meet his wife and daughter for dinner in central London. As the train chugged on, we amiably discussed the weather and the various places we’ve each visited around the world. Turns out he had been trying to convince his wife to travel by boat all the way from England to Australia and she still was not convinced. I was so grateful that this kind man took the time to talk to me and I ended up being able to repay the favor when he forgot his gloves on the seat across from me and I was able to hand them back before he left the train.
Upon arriving at Waterloo Station, I decided to make my way back over to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the hopes of making it to Evensong, which is basically a church service given entirely in song. I made it to the Cathedral with a little time to spare and was able to get in the line to be seated in the Quire! The quire area is where the choir sits and typically has restricted access in places like St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey. Usually the only way to see the quire area up close is to attend one of these services, plus you sit directly across from whichever choral group happens to be leading the chorus that day. This was one of the items on my bucket list and I was happy to check it off. Evensong is very different from the types of contemporary church services that I’m used to attending, but I thoroughly enjoyed joining others in a unique form of worship.
Can’t remember what I had to eat this day, it may have been another trip to Pret-a-Manger or some other form of fast food at any rate.
Have you been to Hampton Court or attended an Evensong service? Please feel free to comment below!