Hampton Court Palace
© Historic Royal Palaces/newsteam.co.uk
Time Out says
Wed Aug 15 2012
Henry VIII had many palaces, but Hampton Court is one that oozes drama - and its prestige continued long after he had departed: Elizabeth I entertained here, Shakespeare performed for James I, and Cromwell made it his home after the Civil War. Still, Bluff King Hal is always the favourite with children, who are fascinated by his portly appearance and six wives. The ghost of Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard - executed for adultery at the Tower - is said to shriek around in the Haunted Gallery, but despite Henry's reputation for brutality, Hampton Court was for the most part a place of pleasure. There were tournaments and feasts, musical entertainment, plays and dancing - frequently revived at the palace for special events. There's even a lovingly reconstructed 4m-tall wine fountain in the Base Court, largest of the palace's several courtyards, serving wine (red and white, £3.50 a glass) on weekends and bank holidays. The Tudor and Baroque buildings sprawl across six acres, with lively costumed guides on hand to keep visitors to the state apartments, courtyards and cloisters informed and engaged. The gardens too are a delight: the maze – an essential on every child's itinerary - was planted between 1689 and 1694, making it the oldest in the country, and there's also a fine heraldic knot garden. Themed activities - including Rooftop Tours - are plentiful during the school holidays, and Tudor cookery demonstrations take place in the huge kitchens on several bank holidays and weekends, with cauldrons bubbling and the carcasses of game birds.
Hampton Court Palace East Molesey
0844 482 7777, bookings 020 7492 1561
- Opening hours:
Apr-Oct 10am-6pm daily (last ticket sold 5pm). Nov-Mar 10am-4.30pm daily (last ticket sold 3.30pm). Closed Dec 24-26
Rail: Hampton Court
£17.60, £14.85 concs, £8.80 children (5-16), under-fives free, £45.10 family (2 adults + 3 children)
Hampton Court Palace
- East Molesey
- 0844 482 7777, bookings 020 7492 1561
- East Molesey
- Hampton Court Palace
Theatre. Dance. Attractions and museums. Sightseeing. Historic home. History. Music. Classical & Opera. Cabaret. Things to do. Families. Kids' activities. Themes
Eating and drinking facilities. Café. Accessible facilities. Wheelchair access. Devices for the hearing-impaired. Signing services available
What's on at Hampton Court Palace
Things to do
Six royal beds lie at the heart of Hampton Court's exhibition. Through stories about royals and servants, this exhibition will show how the bedchamber became the most important destination in the palace and reveal the elaborate and sometimes bizarre...
Things to do, Arts and crafts, Holiday activities
Pack your picnic hamper for a day of live entertainment, games and family craft activities on the Palace's East Front Gardens, including hands-on activities inspired by the gruesome stories brought to life in Lucy Worsley's TV series 'Fit to Rule: How...
Specialist tours, Things to do
Friday and Sunday evening tours show the palace in a more intimate light and focus on the scandalous and risqué stories of life in the Baroque court. Tours sell out quickly, booking essential. Over-18s only.
Art and design, Specialist interest, Things to do
Hot on the heels of the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show in May, this high-summer event takes place in the spectacular grounds of Hampton Court Palace and features gardens as well as marquees showcasing work by some of the country's leading...