Customs moved quickly and the luggage was out by the time we got through, so we picked up our rental car and drove to Hampton Court Palace -- Thomas Wolsey's residence that Henry VIII decided he liked so much, he snatched it from him, moving his second and third queens in (Edward VI was born there and Jane Seymour died there). The conference that produced the King James Bible took place there, too. It's been open to the public since Queen Victoria's reign and Henry VIII's tapestries are back on display after a fire in the 1980s inspired major restoration. There are days' worth of gardens to explore and art to see, but we only spent a few hours before we were all too tired from the flight to keep walking much longer. It had been drizzly when we arrived, but the sun came out by afternoon.
So we drove to the rental apartments in Catford where we stayed in 2003, dropped off our luggage and walked to Tesco to buy essentials (tea, Aero bars, salt and vinegar crisps...oh, and chicken korma and tandoori and things like that). Then apaulled took the kids swimming in the Roman bath-decorated indoor swimming pool while I recharged our various electronics, took the photos off the SD card and called my friend with whom we are going to dinner and the theatre Friday night. We ate the aforementioned Indian food and are now watching a bit of the Elton John birthday concert on TV and before collapsing so we can get up and do lots of things in London tomorrow.
Spring has clearly come to palace.
Through the arch beneath Anne Boleyn's Gateway.
The front of the palace from the entranceway.
Beneath the lions' gate.
A view of the Thames.
The Catford Commons cat.