Saturday, 30 May 2009

Visit Hampton Court Palace, Gardens in London UK and Learn the History of Henry 8th and His Wives

After visiting Hever Castle, we decided to visit Surrey, one of the wealthiest regions in the UK. Hampton Court Palace is located within M25 in Surrey next to the River Thames to the south west of London.

I googled and found out that Hampton Court Palace is a good place to visit; The English King Henry VIII (1491- 1547)was crowned there and it was his residential Palace where his six wives lived 500 years ago. So why not continue our journey to find out a little bit more about the history of this controversial king...

The Palace architecture looks magnificent and impressive from the outside with classic design and you can see that even the chimneys were uniquely carved. The Palace is surrounded by several very well maintained gardens, both large and small and each with its own characteristics and purposes. There are fountains, ponds, flowers, trees, lawns and even the river Thames flows around the Palace. There is also a maze that claims to be the most famous in Europe, children and adults were really enjoying it.

Inside, it's not the most glorious and best maintained Apartments, however you will be very impressed with the classic wall and ceiling paintings, pictures and antiques.It seems Henry's Women's Apartments were most popular, because there were such a long queue waiting to get in we decided to give up on that part. Maybe they were trying to find out Henry 8th secrets to attract women?...

Obviously the English King Hentry 8th love stories and his marriages with six wives have been huge interests to the public and getting lots of attention from the tourists. Henry 8th was a very controversial King due to his marriages, he had struggles with the Catholic churches and the Pope from Vatican in Rome.

There was also some activities where people dressed in Royal clothes to entertain the audience. If you want to see the whole Hampton Court Palace and gardens you'd be advised to start your day early. We were not impressed by the audio guides as it confused us and the signs telling you where each section started are not very well posted. However we loved different styles of gardens as these are uniquely designed and tells its own stories.

As with Hever castle there was some falconry. They would line a load of kids up in two long lines and then get the falcon to fly low from one end to the other between the two lines. There was also a famous astronomical clock in the main courtyard but we did not know which part of the audio had its history.

It was another historic place to visit and we enjoyed the gardens as well as the Palace, we brought our own picnic and had a good lie down to enjoy the fabulous sunshine and beautiful gardens. This was another memorable day and money well spent.

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Thursday, 28 May 2009

Visit the Historic Hever Castle in Kent UK, the Garden of England and Enjoy the Spectacular Gardens

It was a bank holiday weekend in the UK and the weather was beautiful and sunny. My husband and I decided to visit Tonbridge Castle in Kent as we couldn't bear to waste such a marvellous day staying inside. Kent is called the Garden of England and as we were admiring the beautiful country scenery while we were driving we could understand how it got this title.

When we drove to a roundabout in Kent just off the M25, our satellite navigation system started to act up and we got lost. We drove around the same area again and again at least three times and then we suddenly found a sign pointing the direction to Hever Castle. We decided to give up on our original plan and visit Hever Castle instead.

It was almost 4 o'clock in the afternoon, but there was still a big queue of people to get into the castle, it seems the castle is very popular and it was open till 6pm. The castle is set in beautiful and spectacular surroundings and has many gardens, fountains and beautiful water features as well as a small maze and a moat.

By visiting the Castle we learned that Henry VIII(1491- 1547) , the king of England's second wife's family as well as his fourth wife lived there before (obviously not all at the same time). Henry VIII is popularly known for his political struggles with Rome and is infamous for his ruthlessness and six marriages. He divorced his first wife, beheaded his second wife, his third wife died, he divorced his fourth wife, beheaded the fifth wife and the sixth wife survived.

We then visited the Italian Garden, which was awarded Garden of the Year in 1995. It's a spectacular garden with ponds, exotic plants and flowers, fountains and Roman classic architecture. The garden was followed by an island and a large fabulous lake where you can hire a boat for some romantic rowing. There is also a section where you could try your hand at some archery but we were too late for that so go early if you want to practice being Robin Hood.

We were so glad that we got lost and had this mysterious tour to Hever Castle that we had never planned to visit or even heard of. We had a fantastic day and as we were quite late to arrive, we were not able to see all the sites, we are planning to visit there again when more of the rose bushes should be in bloom. We were also fascinated about the lake, and as my husband use to be in a rowing team during his college time, he of course wants to show off his boating skills to me!

It is definitely recommendable to friends, families,or anyone who simply wants to escape to the countryside for fresh air, enjoy walking through some beautiful gardens and along the lake side to enjoy a fabulous weekend. It is also suitable for overseas visitors who want to visit an historical site and to enjoy the spectacular English countryside.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Meeting Dolf De Roos, the Multi Millionaire Property Investor in London (21 May Thursday)

I went to the Property Investors Network (PIN) in London last night in the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch. This is a monthly meeting hosted by Simon Zutshi who owns a multi-million property portfolio and internet businesses as well as providing property seminars and mentoring courses in the UK. Dolf De Roos is one of the world's most successful multi-millionaire property investors and is a Rich Dad (Robert Kiyosaki) advisor. He was invited to give a short presentation . He is also a famous author having published 14 books including the New York Times best seller Real Estate Riches, this is one of the best property books that I have ever read. I was so excited, as this was my first time meeting him.

Dolf is a world class speaker, he also speaks at the Trump University which was founded by Donald Trump. Even though his speech was short (one and a quarter hours) I found it interesting and fascinating. You can tell he is a very experienced and serious investor, but he was also very witty and told some jokes that were relevant and made everyone laugh. It was a fantastic evening and I can safely say that my money and time were well spent; I was inspired by his positive attitude considering the current global financial meltdown.

Dolf claimed that now is the best time to purchase properties and he believes that property is still the best investment vehicle.....ever, because YOU WORK ONCE AND GET PAID FOREVER. He said we can still make money in the up and down market as long as we get a good deal in the first place with a positive cash flow each month. He predicted that UK property prices will go up for the following reasons:

  1. The UK population is still growing, he suggested to invest in the areas that have potential population growth.

  2. Inflation, is another major factor that drives house prices up.

He advised us to research and invest in the areas that will have higher growth than the national average and also said that properties near the sea, water fronts or beside lakes have proved to have consistently better growth potential. For commercial property he advised us to invest in an empty property having already lined up tenants beforehand who are ready to move in. Then with the tenants moved in, the value of your property could double or treble, this is a much better option compared to tenanted commercial properties which are very expensive.

I have found that most highly successful business people always have one thing in common; when most people panic and get scared, that is when they see opportunities. Did you know that in Chinese the character for “crisis” comprises of danger () and opportunities(). Take some recent examples: Warren Buffett, the most successful investor and second richest man after Bill Gates on this planet has never been so busy. Since last year he has acquired more companies than he did in 2007 which is when everywhere was booming. Donald Trump, the celebrity billionaire recently purchased a prestigious golf course for cash near the capital in Washington DC, citing that he would never have been able to buy it 2 years ago, because it was not available.

After the presentation I got Dolf 's signature on my copy of his book that I purchased last year, he wrote “Shannon, Successful Investing! Dolf De Roos”, I also took a few pictures with him, so check them out! What a fantastic and productive evening!!!

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