Being just a short train ride away from fascinating places is one of the things I love most about living in London. In just under an hour you can be in the countryside or in a little village filled with history! I love spending a day or even a few away from the London in order to appreciate it even more. I am in love with this entire country—city, country, coast, and all!
With a few friends we made our way to the Southwest of London to Hampton Court Palace. Situated in the beautiful countryside Hampton Court Palace has been home to Henry VIII’s Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII himself, and King William and Mary. It is a city in itself surrounded by pristine gardens, one of the oldest mazes in the country, and a variety of wildlife. We loved walking in and around the gardens taking in the English countryside.
Hampton Court Palace itself is enormous. When we entered the gates we were taken back by the size of the palace and how it dominated the countryside. Each room we entered was filled with a deep and royal history. As we walked through the hallways we were transported into a world of kings and queens, politics, and religion. Hampton Court Palace was a place where the monarch, government, and God met, and England was shaped.
Thought it was not the main house of any monarch it was a place where they retreated to roam the gardens and discuss matters of state and church. I loved being able to see where the influential people I have been studying lived their lives.
Last summer my brother, Jacob, participated in a Rotary Short Term Youth Exchange program to England. He went to live with the Gray family in Peterborough for a month, and then returned with their son, Will, so we could show him around for a month. Over the weekend I was able to hop on a train north and visit the wonderful Gray family!
After a short train ride I arrived in Peterborough and was greeted by David and Sadie! We then made our way to the small village of Stamford where they showed me around the quaint British village. The roads were surrounded by light brown pearly stone, much like what is in Bath, and the tiny shops scattered about the village were filled with vintage items.
We then returned to Peterborough we went for a bike ride through the trees, fields, and lakes. It was so wonderful to be back in the nature again. Living in a bustling city does make you appreciate moments of quiet that come with being in the countryside. I missed being able to bike about so much that the next morning Will and I biked into the city centre of Peterborough to see the famous Peterborough Cathedral- where Katherine of Aragon is buried- and grab a bite to eat. It is neat the ability to create and revisit friends from all over the world.
After a relaxing morning bike ride we made our way to Cambridge! Cambridge is one of world’s most famous university towns, and The University of Cambridge has been educating students since 1209. There is a river running through the university and people have used punts to get about, and see the town from a new perspective. We did just that. It was lovely and slightly nerve-racking to have David and Will punt us about, but the view was amazing. The area became quiet and there was nothing but green grass between the grand buildings and us. After punting through the city we took a walk around the stone roads, and I was able to take in the atmosphere of the city.
It was delightful to be able to venture around the countryside and Cambridge with wonderful friends! By visiting Hampton Court Palace, Peterborough, and Cambridge I have been able to round out my knowledge and understanding of the English country! Since my arrival I have been taking advantage of every adventure that come up, and have been blessed by each one!