Hampton Court Palace – The Magic Garden and The Maze 

I wasn’t kidding when I said I intended on seeing the best sights in (and around) London, making the most of my  3 day week. Last Friday was a beautiful day so we decided to head out to Hampton Court. We took the tube to Waterloo and then South West trains to Hampton Court via Surbiton. A quick walk from the Station and you step into grounds that would fit into a Phillipa Gregory novel easily. At first glance Hampton Court Palace is quite majestic. This beautiful Tudor Palace was built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. It was never meant to be a Royal Palace but when he left in 1529, King Henry took it over. In his efforts to impress people with his grandeur and wealth, he spent what would be millions now to expand it, employing Europe’s most gifted craftsmen and gardeners. It might be almost 500 years since it was built but Hampton Court Palace (unlike the outside of Buckingham Palace) is quite simply stunning.


Last year saw the opening of The Magic Garden on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. I’d read quite about it but we didn’t have a chance to go. Friday was the ideal day. We didn’t go into the Palace…Let’s be honest, it would be lost on our 5/6 year olds so instead bought tickets for The Magic Garden and The Maze. If you don’t intend on going into the Palace and it’s quite a warm day, don’t queue up at the main ticket kiosk. Instead make your way to The Magic Garden and buy your tickets from there instead. 


It lives up to its name…the kids had a blast!


Almost two hours later we made our way to the maze. The kids were super excited by the maze and enjoyed navigating the many corridors. At one point we thought we’d found our way out but alas it was the middle of the maze.


Right outside the exit there’s a patch of grass for the adults to rest their weary legs and hidden in what appears to be a huge bush is one of the best trees to climb.


We finally ended our day walking through the rose garden and picking up some amazing real ice cream (made with clotted cream!!)


If you’re thinking of visiting this summer, The Magic Garden is open until October. Remember to take sun cream, a spare change of clothes (there are fountains and a mini lake, as S describes it, in the sandpit) and lots of snacks (the cafés there are limited).

Don’t forget to take a picture under this beautiful arch on your way out.


It cost us £9.20 each return from Waterloo to Hampton Court on Southwest trains. If you to manage get a direct train it’s approx. 35 minutes (we had to stop at Surbiton both ways). Hampton Court Palace is very family friendly and makes for a great day out. It’s got our stamp of approval.

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The scarecrows wedding, London 

A couple of months ago my friend R asked if S and I would like to join her and her little girl to go and see The Scarecrows Wedding. To be honest I’d never heard of it but S loves going to the theatre to essentially watch books he’s read. We’ve previously been to see The tiger who came to tea, Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly. So I ordered the book and he’s read it quite a bit in the last month.

Leicester Square theatre isn’t huge and R had booked us tickets in the very first row so we got to watch the show up close and personal. The stage was quite “busy” with props but the show only had 3 actors. Although they do follow the story, they set the scene with a few songs. 10 minutes in and S asked me when the scarecrows were going to come out 😕 They were already on stage…
Once they got into the show, it was pretty entertaining. There were lots of songs (which obviously they don’t have in the book), Betty and Harry were played by 2 individuals but everyone else in the play was depicted by 1 actor. There were a lot of scenes where you had to use your imagination and I did wonder if it would go over the kids heads but I think I underestimated them. It was quite humorous (they involved the audience a couple of times) and I looked over to see S sniggering. Another time I looked over and he was bopping his head to one of the songs.

The whole show was only 55 minutes. S did get a little restless half way through but overall I think he and N enjoyed it. I do think it would have been nice if they had one other actor playing all the animals and left the original actor to just be the farmer and the narrator.

As far as plays go, it was pretty well done. The acting was great and their musical abilities were fantastic. As far as stories go (I realised this a bit late), I think it’s weird that a children’s book introduces smoking of cigars. But I’ve used it to my advantage and S now declares “mummy smoking is very bad!!” everytime he sees a no smoking sign or when we get to that part of the book. 


The Scarecrows Wedding is playing at The Leicester Square Theatre until the 4th of September so you still have lots of time to catch the show.