Hampton Court Palace, England
A Palace fit for a King
There 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 pretending they are princesses and kings.
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 fascinating history that goes back as early as 1236.
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Tudor Palace History
Hampton Court Palace 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.
Love at first sight
As you step out of the station and walk the 5 minutes across the bridge to the entrance gates of the palace, you will notice straight away how splendid and grand Hampton Court Palace is and why it will take your breath away. 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, venture into the Palace itself to stroll through the elegant baroque apartments, see the best-preserved kitchen of Tudor England or simply just walk around the glorious formal gardens of William II and Mary ll.
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.
Interested in know more about Tudor History
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. Not only is the Great Hall the largest room but is also considered to be one of the most impressive.
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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
How to get to Hampton Court Palace
Situated in the county of Surrey just outside of London, along the river Thames is Hampton Court Palace England. It is only a 35minutes journey from London making it an ideal location for a day out.
Getting to the Hampton Court Palace is accessible in various ways from Trains, buses, car to even catching a boat.
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.
- 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.
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.
- If you want to drive when a festival or show is on at Hampton Court Palace, then that is not a problem. Additional parking across the road it made available at a price.
- 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 the 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.
- If you are looking for a pub afterwards, The Mute Swan across the road is pretty good for food or a drink.
Festivals and Events at Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is opened all year round and offers various activities for both children and adults. There is everything from concerts and films in the summer to food festivals and flowers shows.
Check online what activities and programmes are running during the period you are visiting and make the most of your trip. You can also purchase your ticket online at the same time, allowing you more time to explore.
- If you have a Historic Royal Palaces card, you can get into some of the events and festivals for free, like the Food Festival.
Would I recommend Hampton Court Palace
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.
- 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
Hampton Court Palace London is 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.
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If you are planning on visiting one of the other properties like What to do in the Tower Bridge London or even Kensington Palace, it might work out cheaper for you to obtain a Historic Royal Palace membership instead of paying individually for each palace.
I have 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
Thank you for reading this article ‘A Palace fit for a King, Hampton Court Palace England’, I hope it helped you to decide what to to do while visiting the Hampton Court Palace England.
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Disclaimer: I paid to go to Hampton Court Palace, England. All views are my own and based on my own experience.