Monday, August 16, 2010

16 August 2010 River Cruise to Hampton Court

Lyn and Zara

Freezing on the River Thames

Battersea Power Station gutted and Heritage listed


Thames House - MI5 HQ

Teddington Lock which incorporates a fish spawning ramp

And the sun came out!

Mick in the gift shop - just a big kid!

Mick in the gift shop - just a bigger kid!

Front Gate to Hampton Court Palace

Lyn in front of Hampton Court Palace

Lyn with the Guard at HC Palace

Lyn behind the guard - I guess HR means Henry Reigns.

Lyn and Zara on the boat

Anyone notice anything unusual about this tree?

16 August 2010

Up bright and early this morning for our trip up the River Thames to Kew, Richmond and Hampton Court. The weather was very overcast and quite cool so we rugged up with jeans and jumpers for they day expecting it to be chilly on the water.

We had bought day travel tickets the night before at the local shop for £10 so we were off and running by 9am. Bus to the station, then train into London, then tube to Westminster right next to the Westminster pier from where the boats leave.

We got chatting to a couple of Scottish tourists whilst waiting for the boat and they told us that the cruise to Hampton Court took 3 1/2hrs. That was news to us still it beats walking I guess.

Anyway we got underway on time and cruised past the Palace of Westminster to Kew where we stopped to drop off and pick up passengers. It was then on to the Teddington Lock further upstream, the first of two locks on the journey. The second lock is where the effects of the tide stops and the river becomes fresh water. Prior to this the water level changes quite dramatically between high and low tide and some of the bridges become unnavigable at high tide so the skippers have to watch that they don’t get trapped upstream because they can’t get under the bridges.

We stopped at Richmond further upstream to pick up and set down further passengers and then headed to our final destination at Hampton Court.

The trip took about 3hrs 15 minutes but was mostly very interesting with a good commentary as we traveled along. There are many islands along the Thames and several of them have been declared wildlife sanctuaries so there are many and varied birds living on and around them including many Herons.

People inhabit some of the islands but the price of the real estate on them is high.

At other points of the river there were communities of people living on their boats with some of them having quite elaborate gardens.

Towards the end of the trip upriver the sun appeared and the day became much warmer so we found ourselves overdressed and under prepared for the brilliant sunshine. Tonight Mick’s face looks like a beacon with white circles where his sunglasses prevented the sun getting to his skin. We had no hats and no sun cream because we hadn’t expected the dramatic change in the weather.

One thing of note whilst traveling up the River and back was the number of planes flying over on their way to Heathrow airport. We reckoned there was about 1 every 20 seconds and we could regularly see 3 planes on their approach at the same time. The parade never stopped both on our way up and back.

When we got to Hampton Court we got off the boat right outside Hampton Court Palace. The place is huge and although noone actually lives there according to Zara, our host, the 60 acres of grounds are immaculately cared for with beautiful rose gardens, flowerbeds and lawns.

Since we only had about 90 minutes to get something to eat and have a look around we didn’t have time to do the full tour so spent out time wandering around in the bright sunshine, taking it all in. Oh, and of course the gift/knick knack shop. The entry price to the Palace was £14 (each).

The return boats left at 4pm and 5pm but since it was a 3 ½ hour trip we decided on the 4pm departure, as we had to travel home when we got to London and have dinner.

On the way home we decided to stop for dinner at Woolwich which is the rail stop before home. It is a bigger town than Plumstead so had a better variety of eateries. Zara chose a place called Nandos which specialises in chicken but does serve other meals. The menu took a bit of understanding due to the combinations of meals available but we soon sorted it out and ordered what turned out to be a lovely meal.

In fact it was so good and we were so hungry that we ordered and ate some more! In addition a number of the soft drinks were bottomless cups so we rehydrated nicely after what turned out to be a hot day.

Appetite sated, we used our day transport passes to hop on the bus and head home.


  1. Linda thinks the tree things are either wasp nests or wild bees hives.

  2. HR stands for Henry Rex as in latin Rex means King. Currently you see ER everywhere for Elizabeth Rex as she is the reigning monarch. If you were king of UK they would need to write MR everywhere.

  3. I think R in Lizzies' case means Regina though if Ted ever becomes King it could stand for either.