Frolic in the maze where kings and queens once played then see where Henry VIII ate his scoff
To cut a long story short, Hampton Court Palace was originally built by Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, as a showy country retreat to host state visits. Unfortunately, he did such a grand job of out-blinging the king, that Henry pretty much seized Hampton Court Palace from Wolsey as compensation when the Pope wouldn’t let him divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon so he could shack up with Anne Boleyn.
Thus, Hampton Court Palace goes down in history as the playground of the Tudors and today, some of the most inspiring parts of the Palace to visit are the sixteenth-century quarters that still stand proud. The considerable kitchens, for instance, which were once filled with cooks preparing meals twice a day for a court of 600 people. They also contain spice rooms and cellars that were used to store the king’s treats (Italian olives, French wines, locally caught game).
To get a real feel for what life was like back then, time your visit to coincide with one of the costumed ‘encounters with the past’, where actors dress up and play out typical scenes around the palace, including a Tudor Kitchens encounter and scenes with Henry’s courtiers. There are talks and tours you can join for free, too (check the website for dates).
Post-Tudor reign, Hampton Court maintained a royal allegiance. King James would invite Shakespeare to present Christmas season of plays with a small group of actors, and later, new additions were built at the palace by the Georgian king William III and Mary II. The grand staircase is among these, adorned with an Italian fresco depicting William as the hero Alexander, and the special rooms where a private chocolatier was hired to work for George I so he could have drinking chocolate whenever he pleased.
From the Tudor indoor tennis court to the Royal Maze, from the King’s private loo to the brand new Magic Garden adventure playground (inspired by the medieval joust), Hampton Court Palace is several different visits in one place. If you love history and art, buy the ticket for the Palace and the Gardens, or if you have children with you who just want to run around, buy the Magic Garden and Maze ticket. And while you decide what you want to do, wander the rose gardens for free and enjoy a coffee in the Tiltyard Café.
|Venue name:||Hampton Court Palace||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||For 2017 Mar 26-Oct 28, 10am-6pm; Oct 29-Mar 2018; Magic Garden open Apr-Oct 29, 10am-6pm.|
|Transport:||Rail: Hampton Court|
|Price:||£23, £19 concs, £11.50 under-16, £41 family (1 adult and three children), £57 (two adults and three children). Online and after Nov 1 cheaper.|
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RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Returning once again in 2017, this high-summer event takes place over 34 acres in the spectacular grounds of Hampton Court Palace and features world-class gardens as well as marquees showcasing work by some of the country's leading designers and nurseries....Consumer shows and conventions Monday July 3 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017
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You really need to dedicate a whole day to this incredible jewel in historical Britain's crown. Internally there are 2 whole palaces to explore- Henry VIII's Tudor wing & William & Mary's Christopher Wren's extension. There's lots of fascinating extra's bringing it to life like cooks in the kitchen & wandering troubadours singing songs & performing in the Great Hall. The garden's are a day out in themselves with the iconic maze & the world's biggest vine all being tucked away besides beautiful at times intricate formal gardens & areas of what feels like expansive parkland. The whole site is fascinating & astonishingly well preserved.
Over the weekend went to Hampton Court Magic Garden.
It has a wide variety of activities for the children including a climb on dragon, a sand pit with water pumps, a climbing area with several towers and bridges and a couple of slides.
Tickets for the Magic Garden and Maze only can be purchased.
There is a small kiosk offering snacks and ice cream and a small seating area.
The children loved it and I would recommend a visit.
I recently went to Hampton Court Palace for the Hampton Court Palace Festival. It was amazing, the grounds are so beautiful! Walking through them you can smell roses and all the other beautiful flowers throughout the air. Henry VIII did a bang up job creating his holiday home!
The festival was fantastically laid out with a great deal of thought put into not only the aesthetics but also the use of space. Their choice of food and drink vendors was spot on, they were very high-end but also reasonably priced and great value for money. The palace itself is stunning and as a music venue it is a surprisingly large with very good acoustics. I was lucky enough to get tickets to go see Tom Jones, he was spectacular, as you would expect!
Outside the Palace there are beautiful views and lovely pubs to enjoy a beer or two in making the area as a whole well worth a leisurely pub crawl. The station was within easy walking distance to the Palace and pretty easy to get to from Central London from Vauxhall or Waterloo. I will be going back there to explore the palace further, it looks to be an especially good picnic spot!
A really beautiful building with stunning views. Firstly, It's near some great little restaurants so great to have a quick lunch before you head in (if you don't want to buy food in the palace restaurant!) The gardens are spectacular and you can stroll around for hours taking beautiful images! Or grab a seat on one of the many benches dotted around and watch the sun go down. Quick tip - if you go at the end of September/ early October it's free to get in!
This glorious building is spectacular and the gardens are stunning. It is by far one of the most worth while places to visit just outside of London. If I could, i'd move in, in a heart-beat.
The costumed guides and actors really engage younger visitors, bringing the history of the palace to life. Wonderful venue for ice skating too!
We visited when it was very cold and the huge rooms were even chillier but I have warm memories of that day, as it was like a travel back to time!