Sunday, 13 October 2013

Apple Day at Fulham Palace

Fulham Palace is right at the other end of our long and narrow borough. To get there from our northern tip of H&F you have to navigate the Hammersmith roundabout, with all of it's roadbound crazies, and then the crawlathon down Fulham Palace Road. And all the while trying to evade our Council from entrapping you into a traffic fine. But it's well worth it, as I found out earlier today.

A bit damp
Having lived in the borough for getting close to ten years I had always relegated Fulham Palace to one of those places I knew I should really go and see but never found the time to. This morning, thankfully, I finally made it.

The Palace proudly lists its creation date as the year 704, but most of the buildings you see are fascinating layers of history with each building on top of the other. You cross a medieval moat, enter what looks like a Tudor yard and visit the cafe in an 18th and 19th century house.

Links with local schools
Consulting the Palace website all of this is confirmed and set in context - and the main point is that it has been the home of Bishops for well over a thousand years. These guys were only one rung down from Kings and continued to play a leading role in running the country via the Church of England until well into the 19th century. They still, of course, occupy seats in the House of Lords.

So back to the Palace - first off, its free to enter. That is amazing. These grounds, and the buildings within them, are a living museum. Every room has a plaque explaining its origins and there are guided tours too. Secondly, it's kid-proof. Always a plus. In fact the gardens are perfect for running in although they'd draw the line at ball games with those french windows. Thirdly, it's a living breathing garden complete with pumpkins, other vegetables and apple trees. Oh, and there is plenty of parking if you're so inclined (pay meters mon-sat on the road outside) or the 220 from the Bush will take you right outside and back.

Real life pumpkins
Which brings me to the slightly bizarre apple festival they had there today. Having been there I am still slightly unsure as to why the humble apple was chosen to be celebrated but joining us in the rain were a very good band, and a few apple themed stalls that included everything from the use of apples in getting drunk on gin or cider, and some serious eating going on with a pig being roasted on a spit.  It wasn't one for vegetarian animal rights people.

In fact it was one of those scenes you only ever see in the British Isles - people in rainjackets chewing on apples, drinking gin and dancing in the pouring rain to a band playing medieval music. Which is great in its own unique way, but sadly I also didn't get the impression there were too many people there from outside a fairly high income bracket and a local postcode. That's either because they don't know about it, or the prices of things in the cafe put them off (£2.50 for a kids box drink, really!?)

So the purpose of this is to get some of you fellow hoy polloi-ers from oop North of the borough down there. It really is well worth a visit, and there is a nice looking kids park just next door too. Fulham Palace - another corner of our borough I am very glad to have discovered. I'll be back. 

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