Yet a third ancient coronation site proved a superb holiday road trip stop – this time, the historic market town where Saxon kings were once crowned. Kingston upon Thames is situated in southwest London and is a more affordable alternative to staying downtown. The small and vibrant borough is easily walkable and true to its market heritage, well worth visiting in its own right.
The White Hart Hotel was one of the best hotels we stayed in on our trip. Comfortable, dog friendly and with a great pub attached Wonderful for walkers, there are trails up and down the Thames and the Hampton Court Palace grounds are perfect for off-leash dog romps The Coronation Stone was used during the coronation of 7 Saxon kings of England The base has names and dates of each king and a coin from their rein. 7 kings in 79 years, from Edward the Elder in 900 to Ethelred the Unready in 979 – they didn’t last long! Adjacent to the Coronation stone is one of the oldest still-standing bridges in England, The Clattern Bridge A deed from 1293 references the medieval name “Clateryngbrugge”, thought to reference the clattering sound of horses hooves when they crossed The bridge was used for “ducking scolds” – that is, the longstanding practice of tying quarrelsome women who were considered a public nuisance for disturbing the peace to a stool and lowering them by rope into the river as punishment. The landlady of the Queen’s Head pub was ducked most recently from this bridge before a large crowd in 1745 Bosco imagines what it was like to be ducked here in the Hogsmill river The Guildhall is now the town’s administrative headquarters Bosco met many new friends during our walks in the Hampton Court Palace grounds The palace grounds are massive. Henry VIII hunted here, George IV bred race horses, and William and Mary made it more formal baroque park-like in the 17th century Captured the exact moment Bosco decided to roll in something smelly beside “The Long Water” constructed by Charles II, home to swans, geese and white faced birds called coots Not all Bosco’s new friends were dogs. He was shocked to discover the horses and was puppy-pouncing around like mad trying to get them to play with him There is also a herd of about 300 adorable little fallow deer. They roam freely within the park walls and stay mostly in the uncut acid grassland, where they can easily hide The northern Hampton Court gate is impressive and leads to the opulent palace beyond All Saints Church is the only Grade 1 listed building in Kingston (a status reserved for “buildings of exceptional interest”). It dates to Saxon times and hosted the great council of Egbert, king of Wessex in 838 The town has lovely pubs, shops, and a big Christmas market Jeff and Bosco enjoy a fireside brew at the White Hart. Bosco was one of several canine guests and thoroughly enjoyed himself (aside from the part where I scrubbed the smelly goose excrement off of him). Good times had by all