Charrette is not my name. It's a French design term meaning, in essence, "an intense meeting of the minds". And after all, isn't that what we do here? (Thanks for stopping by, and contributing your ideas. That makes being here all the more worthwhile.)
We spent the day at Hampton Court. It has changed a lot in the 15 years since we were last here. The castle, of course, is the castle. But the presentations have vastly improved. Now as you enter you can pick up a device with recorded audio tours...and you may don a velvety cape, if you like. (I declined.) The first thing we were greeted by was a hedge spelling out SHOP...haha. Clearly there is vast mercenary purpose behind opening up the royal palaces to the public.
They have carefully recreated Henry VIII's kitchens—including all the period props, and a separate chocolate kitchen!
They have live dramatizations, beautifully costumed, illustrating key moments in history that happened there. Great photos ops appear around practically every corner. This is Lady Avery, handmaid to the Georgian princess.
And then along strolls King Henry VIII, headed toward the clock tower.
Can you believe this gorgeous stained-glass dining hall? Notice the antlers—could be the world's first Country Club...
After exploring the palace, it's time to traverse the expansive gardens.