Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

ISCA 2016 visits Wimbledon and Hampton Court Palace

An AMAZEing Educational Day Brimming with English Heritage

If someone had only one day to experience the legacy and customs of this country they could do no better than to have accompanied ISCA today on our trip to Hampton Court Palace and Wimbledon.
At Hampton Court Palace we witnessed 500 regal years of history before our very eyes. We were able to get a glimpse of what life would have been like for one of our most famous monarchs: Henry VIII. What joy to walk around the same magnificent gardens the great sovereign and his entourage would have walked through! We also saw his crown and royal tapestries. There were other artistic delights to be seen in the art gallery, home to works of art by Rembrandt and Caravaggio as well as many other old masters of the brush! Perhaps the most popular attraction amongst the students was the 17th century maze lined with seven foot hedges.
We even saw the world’s largest and oldest grape vine that was planted in 1768. There was a time when only people with royal blood were allowed to eat the grapes, and a servant had to count every grape to make sure no one was stealing them!

Another of Henry’s past times was playing real tennis in the Royal Tennis Court. This is a court like no other, with long ledges along the side walls where the ball would have to be served to start the game.
From real tennis to the more recognisable incarnation of the modern game, we moved on to the Wimbledon; home of the oldest and possibly the most prestigious international tennis tournament (which surprisingly started as a place to play croquet in 1870). Whenever you turn on the television and see tennis being played on grass by players wearing all white, there can be no mistake that you are watching the Wimbledon Championships!
Our guided tour took us round the courts where we first learnt of the pride a precision that goes into making the grass tennis courts so lush and prestigious. Did you know that there are 56 million blades of tough rye grass on centre court alone?
We also visited the press room, where after a gruelling tennis match the players have to show similar quick thinking and dexterity when answering questions from the press. We then moved on to the players’ lounge, where we learnt that the most popular meal before a game is pasta and, surprisingly, sushi is the meal of choice afterwards.  

We also went to the inconspicuous court number 18 that was the venue for the longest game of tennis ever: 11 hours and 5 minutes (over a three day period) between Isner and Mahut in at the 2010 Championships!