The Thames Path Days 11-12

Von Helen
Hampton Court

Our destination for today was Staines, a town just before London and known for its proximity to Heathrow airport. Understandably it took some time to get used to the planes flying overhead and the stark contrast of the beautiful nature and the endless noise of the planes coming in to land at Heathrow made us question why people would spend so much money to live in these areas.
Today was also the day that we saw more historic buildings, strategically built beside the Thames and signalling how close we were getting to London. The impressive Windsor Castle came into view quite suddenly and with the Royal Standard flying we knew that the Queen was in residence. Apparently Windsor is her favourite weekend residence which we found hard to believe after watching the planes fly directly over the Castle.
Our path also took us directly through Runnymede which is famous for being the site where the Magna Carta was signed. The term Magna Carta symbolizes for most english people the start of constitutional law. It was signed in 1215 and was the first document to limit the powers of the King. The Magna Carta became the basis for english citizens‘ rights.

It was day 12 and London was calling. The walk from Staines to Hampton Court was easy-going and marked by more houseboats moored beside the river bank. We took a little ferry at Shepperton to cross to the south bank and arrived early afternoon in London. 250 km and the Richmond sign showed that we were almost at our journey’s end. Hampton Court is a wonderful palace to visit, dating back to the 15th century and steeped in history. Just investigating the kitchens which had to cope with providing food for the 600 people belonging to the Court daily was a fascinating experience. We decided to use Bromley as the base for our four nights in London and found the 15 minute direct connection to Victoria ideal.