Friday, 25 September 2009

On the Roof

You climb up 107 steps

(past the point where the paint changes
from expensive blue to cheap black
for servants quarters)

open a tiny door with a huge key
and come out into a forest of chimneys.

You walk around carefully on boards,
squeezing through small gaps

peering over balustrades

and looking down onto skylights and courtyards

There are exotic Tudor chimneys,
unique carvings from handmade bricks

which cover the buildings created by Cardinal Wolsey
and coveted by Henry VIII and his new Queen.

However, it was not the chimneys or the skylights
that drew us up the stairs on a Sunday afternoon
but the views.

The formal gardens...

the river...

the topiary and the fountains...

It was amazing.


  1. Ooooh!
    Have you ever been to those rooftops in Barcelona? Do you know the ones I mean? It reminds me a little bit of that.

  2. What a privilege to be able to look at something much loved and so familiar from a totally new perspective

  3. Wow! I'm just lost for words. I wonder if you could see our flat from up there? K :)

  4. Amazing views! We had the opposite sort of tour when we went with a 4-month old baby in a pram. Rather than negotiate the stairs, all the lovely staff escorted us via dusty corridors and back ways from room to room - quite fun, and worth borrowing a baby for!

    Pomona x

  5. How wonderful to see it from a different viewpoint.

  6. Goodness! That's an astounding view, and a great privilege.

    Though if it had been me, the tour would have continued with "You cling for dear life to one of the famously ornate chimneys, and finally, gratefully descend the steep stairs on your bottom because your legs have given way." I'm not good with old narrow staircases, and spiral ones reduce me to a gibbering wreck. I'm glad you're made of sterner stuff!

  7. Those photos of Tudor Chimneys did it for me! Wow! Lucky, lucky you!

  8. Beautiful, yes...but 107 steps?

  9. Well worth the climb - just for those amazing chimneys.

  10. What view from up there.

  11. Thank goodness for balustrades! Makes me feel a bit tippy just looking at the pictures, but I can never resist climbing for a view. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wow! Taken my breath away. Love those topiary trees viewed from above.

  13. Wow. I was only thinking about Hampton Court today, as Eldest is learning about Henry VIII at school.

  14. Oh Mrs M how I have missed you. I heard on the blogging rumour mill that you were back in action, I even visited and said how excited I was to find you. I then made the simple school-girl error of not updating my bookmarks and losing you again...

    Oh joy of joys, a Sunday morning with a cup of tea, a quick reminder, frantic google and I've found you again!

  15. Oh and how Typepad seems to be messing up my identity!

  16. I've been there! With you! So 'cited!

    What a beautiful view...

    PS-Those Yew trees remind me of something from Alice in Wonderland.

    PPS-Hahahaha! bb just got back from Positano. You must understand, she's now a stair-climbing expert...

  17. How beautiful! What an amazing thing to be able to stand there and envision history!


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