A couple of miles beyond Kingston upon Thames is Hampton Court. It is a magnificent house, built by the river for Cardinal Wolsey and, in a belated attempt to save his position of power, given by him in 1529 to King Henry VIII. In most years, it is a major tourist destination. For us, it has long been the turn around point on a River Thames walk.
This morning was bright and sunny when we headed out, westward bound. As far as Richmond, it was busy with runners, cyclists and dog walkers populating the riverside. From Ham House onwards, it quietened and beyond Kingston, we had the path more or less to ourselves. The palace, when we reached it in the early afternoon, was also more or less deserted. It is great news for Londoners, hemmed in as we are normally by the tourist masses, but poorer news for the capital’s battered economy.
Our trip took us through Putney to the bridge, along the Thames path to the equivalent bridge at Hampton Court and then back to Kingston, where we picked up a bus home. On a warm day, with a touch of autumn in the air, our winding journey along the river covered about 32 kilometres. We put our feet up for a while when we reached home.