dThere is something about Palaces and Castles that are magical and makes you feel like you have stepped back in time for both young and old. Even as I sit here on the green grass in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace England writing notes. There are children dressed up running around giggling and pretending to be princesses and kings.
Table of Contents
- Hampton Court Palace
- Tudor Palace History
- Entering the Palace
- Tickets for Palace and Gardens
- Ghosts of Henry VIII’s wives
- Take one of the adult ghost tours
- Getting to Hampton Court Palace
- Top Tips for Hampton Court Palace
- Festivals and Events at Hampton Court Palace
- Is Hampton Court Palace worth a visit?
- Additional Information
- Historic Royal Palaces
- Discover more of England
Hampton Court Palace
One thing is for sure, Hampton Court Palace England truly is a magical place, one you could base any fairy-tale movie on. Not only does it have spectacular gardens and river views, it is saturated with a fascinating history that goes back as early as 1236.
Tudor Palace History
Hampton Court Palace is owned by Queen Elizabeth II and the Crown and managed by the Historic Royal Palaces collection. It is a ‘Tudor Palace’ and one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned and acquired by Henry VIII. The other being St James’s Palace, which is not opened to the public.
The palace is located in the greater London area (11.7 miles from central London) and accessible by a short train ride. This is perfect for a day out or if you are on a short trip to the capital.
Another place associated with Tudor History is the Tower of London
Entering the Palace
As you step out of the station and walk the 5 minutes across the bridge to the entrance gates of the palace. One of the first things you will notice is how splendid and grand Hampton Court Palace looks.
Whenever I have visitors from overseas, I always bring them to the Palace and they have exactly the same reaction.
I only live up the road from Hampton Court Palace and I just love coming here and sitting in the entrance gardens and taking everything in when I am working. Especially during Spring and Autumn when the flowers are blooming and the leaves are changing colour.
The only problem you are going to have to face is deciding what to do first, explore the Maze (one of the few surviving features of the old layout) or the unique interactive magic garden. Before venturing around the glorious formal gardens of William II and Mary ll.
Afterwards head inside the Palace to stroll around the rooms taking in all the history on the free audio guide. You can see, the elegant baroque apartments and the best-preserved kitchen of Tudor England.
You can see why it is easy to spend a whole day here, as there is something for the whole family to see and do.
Take in the Smells in Henry VIII’s Kitchens
You cannot go all the way to Hampton Court Palace and not visit the largest Tudor Kitchen in England. To put in perspective how big this kitchen area is, when Henry VIII was alive the kitchen would produce over 800 meals a day for the household. This was prepared by over 200 cooks, sergeants, grooms and page workers.
Check the program before you leave because sometimes the kitchen does daily demonstrations. I think is great because it allows you to experience the sights and smells of what it used to be like during the Henry VIII era. You will really feel like you have stepped back in time wandering through the labyrinth of kitchen spaces
- This is near the entrance and I think is a great starting point when exploring the palace
Be Henry VIII at the dinner table in The Great Hall
It is not a palace or a castle without a great hall and Hampton Court Palace is no exception. It is one of the most impressive and is the largest room in the Palace.
During Tudor times, this was the most important room of the palace and it would be here that the Henry VIII would dine upon his raised dais (Raised platform often for the dignified).
With a carved hammer-beam roof and magnificent tapestries that hang on the walls that tell the story of Abraham, I can see why this room is so grand. The hall took five years to complete.
- When you enter the room there is a bench against the wall. It is a great spot to sit for a few minutes and take in the whole room
Tickets for Palace and Gardens
Tickets are time allocated, due to the current situation with Covid-19 and social distancing rules. This is so they can limit the numbers of visitors to keep everyone safe. Tickets have to be prebooked online in advance and can be delivered two ways. Either by PDF to your mobile phone or via email.
Individual, family tickets and concessions are available, as well as group tickets. If you are a Historic Royal Palace member, your ticket will be for free but you will still need to book.
A great incentive to book your tickets online before you go is it’s cheaper.
⇒ Looking for another palace in London? How about Kensington Palace
Two Types of Entry
You can get a ticket for visiting both the Palace and gardens or a ticket for just the gardens. Some parts of the Hampton Court Palace gardens are free to walk around, like the entrance gardens. It is also a spot I like to sit when it is sunny and want to read about English History.
Hampton Court Palace ticket prices and booking are available online on their site here.
Ghosts of Henry VIII’s wives
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? It is said that Hampton Court Palace is haunted by numerous ghosts. Two of which were Henry VIII’s wives Queen Katherine Howard, Queen Jane Seymour.
Jane Seymour ghostly supposedly wanders downstairs and into the courtyard looking for her son. Katherine Howard ghost roams around the gallery inside the palace. Visitors and staff have even said they have heard her screaming and felt her presence.
Take one of the adult ghost tours
Wanting to see for yourself who haunts Hampton Court Palace? Then you can do one of the adult ghost tours held in the evening. You will hear stories of paranormal activity and ghostly apparitions at the palace.
Getting to Hampton Court Palace
Getting to Hampton Court Palace is relatively easy and straight forward, due to it being a popular attraction in England. It is situated in the county of Surrey only 12 miles just outside of London, along the river Thames.
If you are coming from central London it is only a 35minutes journey making it an ideal location for a day out. There are various ways of getting there from Trains, buses, car to even catching a boat.
Catching the train
There are direct trains from Waterloo station to Hampton Court Palace which run every half an hour. The train journey should roughly take 35mins. From the station, it is only a 5mins walk over the bridge and to the entrance of the Hampton Court Palace.
⇒ Travelling by train to other parts of England, Wales or Scotland? How about the Interrail Great Britain Pass, a convenient way of taking a train journey?
- Sometimes the trains will offer discounts for visiting attractions outside of London. When you are buying your ticket just ask to see if they do the discount.
You can get a Boat from Westminster, Kew & Richmond along the Thames, from one of the various Boat companies to Hampton Court place.
If you are driving the postcode is KT8 9AU and there is car-parking available when you enter the palace grounds. It is £1.50 per hour but parking is limited.
Additional parking is made available across the road from the Palace for a small fee. When events and festivals are held at Hampton Court Palace.
⇒ Travel Supermarket has a free and easy fast comparison on car hire.
Address: Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
Top Tips for Hampton Court Palace
- You can visit the Hampton Court Palace’s East Front Gardens for free. They are opened daily from 09:00-10:00.
- Stay connected with 4G SIM Card while visiting in United Kingdom to keep update with maps and things to do.
- You can purchase your entrance ticket online and miss the ticket queue
- Obtain an audio guide which is a part of your ticket price and stroll around at your own pace. It has a lot of great interesting facts about history.
- If you have the time and you like walking and hiking, catch a train to Kingston-upon-Thames and walk along the Thames to Hampton Court Palace. This is about 1.7miles and should take you roughly around 30-40 mins.
- The Mute Swan across the road is pretty good for food or a drink afterwards, if you are looking for a pub.
Festivals and Events at Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace offers various activities for both children and adults, all year round through events and festivals. There is everything from concerts and films in the summer to food festivals and flowers shows.
If you have a Historic Royal Palaces membership card, some of the events and festivals are for free. Like the Food Festival, which is the one that I attended and enjoyed.
You can check what’s on at Hampton court palace today here. Where you can see up and coming activities and programmes. You can also purchase your ticket online at the same time, allowing you more time to explore.
Hampton Court flower show
One of the events to add to your calendar is Hampton Court Garden Festival formerly known as the Hampton Court flower show. It is the largest flower show held in the world and one of the most popular events at Hampton Court Palace.
This spectacular flower show is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and held annually in early July.
⇒ Here are some good suggestions for day backpacks for all your yummy purchases, at the festivals. All are reasonably priced and light to carry.
Is Hampton Court Palace worth a visit?
There is a saying “You are never too old to learn” and I could not agree more. I think Hampton Court Palace has done a great job in making learning interesting and fun all year round for both adults and children alike.
It is also good to see such organisations as the ‘Historic Royal Palaces’, safeguard these amazing places for future generations to explore and be educated by history.
How about some of these activities related to Hampton Court Palace, London England
- Duration – It should take you around 3-4hours to get around the Hampton Court Palace, England including the gardens.
- Opening Time – from 9 am to 6:00 pm daily (10am to 5:30pm on Sundays and Mondays)
- Last entry – is 5:00pm or an hour before closing
- Closed – 24th-26th Dec and 1 Jan
- Online Bookings – You can book your tickets online to save time and money. Make sure you print them out before you go.
- Multimedia Guides – You can one at an additional cost.
Historic Royal Palaces
If you are planning on visiting one of the other properties like Tower Bridge London or even Kensington Palace. it might work out cheaper for you to obtain a Historic Royal Palace membership. As paying individually for each palace, will cost a lot more.
Hampton Court Palace is not part of the English Heritage or National Trust. Instead, it is part of the Historic Royal Palaces membership. Which makes up one of 6 properties that is part of the Historic Royal Palaces collection. The Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that manages some of the unoccupied royal palaces in Great Britain.
I had a Historic Royal Palaces card and I have visited all of the properties, some of them more than once. It is definitely worth it if you are planning to visit more than one of the properties.
Discover more of England
- Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour – Old Docks – London, England
- Nottingham England – A Perfect Weekend Away – Nottingham, England
- A Day out at Hever Castle – London, England
Have you been to Hampton Court Palace England before? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below, I would love to hear about it.
Thank you for reading this article on Hampton Court Palace England. I hope it helped you to decide what to to do while visiting.
⇒ Looking to discover other parts of England, please feel free to head to my United Kingdom Page
Disclaimer: I paid to go to Hampton Court Palace, England. All views are my own and based on my own experience.