Day 1 of half term and the plans and we had an unexpected day off from Irish Dancing, the sun was shining, so a day out was a definite must. We had suggested Hampton Court when we met some friends recently, but the group decision was a beach trip instead, so I thought, why not go for Hampton Court this time. It is a bit of a journey over there, but the girls are not too bad at travelling and are entertained by I Spy and singing. The challenging was something beginning with CS, which turned out to be steering wheel.
There was quite a queue to get in to Hampton Court car park and though we knew about the overflow car park, we had mistakenly thought it would be signposted, but no, that would be far too easy. So, we ended up frantically trying to find this illusive car park and ended up in a park, which on googling, turned out to be Bushy Park. I was then told that the fountain was called the Diana Fountain, which came as a shock from my geographically challenged husband. It turns out that he had seen it when he was checking out the area earlier on google maps. I thought it was all about Princess Diana, but it was actually the Greek, or is it Roman, goddess.
Bushy Park is a beautiful expanse of green space with trees, a fountain, play area and deer (who appeared in the evening). We decided to get started with our day there, so we got out the picnic there and then. There was an ice cream van in permanent residence, so we promised them an ice-cream if they had a bit of a run around first. After about the thousandth, “Can I have an ice cream now?” I gave in. DD2 is a fussy little beast and didn’t fancy anything from the van, so we headed off to the café, so she could get an alternative. Sadly, she was met with the same choices, so had to make do with a Magnum, such first world problems and so young!
The Not So Ugly Ducklings
After playing on the basic, but fairly well-equipped play area, (there was a huge sandpit that we managed to avoid, but highly recommend for the younger traveller), we thought we should go over to Hampton Court as that was why we had come. It was a 5-minute walk to Lion Gate, which is right next to the maze. We walked over to the Magic Castle as we didn’t have a ticket for the Maze but found that the entrance fee for the magic Castle and The Maze was going to be £27 for all 4 of us. The girls were already a bit floppy and asking to be carried; no, we didn’t carry them, but nice try for asking girls. They decided that they were too hot to play and fancied a boat trip instead. What a result. I like the Maze but on a hot day, I’m not sure I can raise the enthusiasm, so was quite pleased I didn’t have to do it.
We walked through the gardens, down to the riverside and hopped on a boat to Kingston. I fancied Richmond but we decided the 1 ½ journey time was just that bit too long to keep them entertained, so opted for the 30 minutes to Kingston instead. It was not crowded and we got a great seat by the window; the girls hung out of it and I took photos. There were a few lone, slightly rounder men in speedos sunbathing on the banks; bit random and not exactly photogenic, which the girls found hilarious, “Look at that man Mummy, he is naked!” snigger, snigger. That happened about 3 times, what was that about? It was a really lovely trip though, so relaxing and just the right amount of breeze on a hot day. It cost around £36 for the four of us, but as we had not had to pay for parking, or entrance to Hampton Court, we didn’t mind paying.
I’ve not been to Kingston for years, so it was good to have a wander around and inhale the amazing street food aromas. I found a gluten free bakery and succumbed to some fantastic cupcakes, definitely going back there. After just over an hour, we caught the boat back to Hampton Court, they only ran until 5 pm so we didn’t get much time in Kingston. Bit smaller boat this time and the girls were not so entertained by river watch; they decided to play musical chairs instead. That filled the 30 minutes quite easily, without having to resort to speedo watch again.
By the time we got back and had another play in Bushy Park playground, it was getting quite late and with the hour journey home, we decided to call it a day. But the park was coming alive with families and groups of friends having late picnics and popping prosecco corks, that’s one for another time. Just as we got back to the car, the deer had come out to eat; they were so tame, we could almost touch them. The girls thought it was fantastic, even though they were a tiny bit nervous. “Mummy, do deer antlers feel like Sylvanians?” that is actually a pretty good way to describe antlers.
All in all, an ordinary day, but these are the highlights of their childhood. I hope they will remember these simple days forever.