When you are in London, it soon becomes clear that this city has two faces: on the one hand very modern with fancy towers and construction pits where new stones are laid. On the other hand, it has been kept alive for many years and has been well maintained to this day. London is the capital of England and therefore you will not be surprised that London has been a residence for centuries for its kings and queens. London still has a great history and counts several monuments and palaces that have been made accessible to the general public, such as Kew Palace in Kew Gardens and the famous Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens. But also Hampton Court Palace, the former home of King VIII can certainly not been missed.
Hampton Court Palace can be found in the South West of London on the North Bank of the Thames. The gigantic palace consists of a park of 304 hectares, many gardens and several courtyards. The deers that live in the park are still descendants of the deers that Henry VIII has ever hunted. The palace is surrounded by several gardens including the famous maze, the Great Vine and the royal tennis court.
Next to the beautiful gardens, there are plenty of fascinating things within the palace walls to entertain visitors. Hampton Court Palace is a palace where you can spend a few hours, but also a whole day. The palace is divided into three parts. These parts also reflect the different phases of the development of the building.
Henry VIII’s Great Hall, with its huge tapestries, is one of the highlights when visiting the Hampton Henry VIII’s Court Palace. Just like the Chapel Royal, which is famous for its stunning ceiling and which is still in use today as a chapel. Besides the beautiful art collection and the Royal Chapel, you can also take a look in the Tudor kitchens, the Georgian chambers and the Kings apartments.
Throughout the day various demonstrations can be seen and people in authentic costumes walk around to give visitors information. During holidays and selected weekends, extra activities are organized, you can read more about it here. If you want more background information during your visit to Hampton Court Palace, you can also use an audio guide that you can get at the information center.
After a long walk through the impressive corridors and beautifully decorated rooms of Hampton Court Palace, we decided to explore the outside area. A beautiful park with fountains, big trees and more than 200,000 flower bulbs and 40,000 plants. You can explore this by foot or during a horse-drawn carriage ride.
The gardens were redecorated according to the style of the gardens as they were built by Henry VIII in 1536. In addition to the gardens with different themes such as a rose garden, a vegetable garden and an exotic garden you will also find the Great Vine, a deer park with ponds, the Tiltyard with adjacent a café and the famous maze.
If you are traveling with children, a visit to the nearby Magic Garden is also worthwhile. In this hidden, beautifully decorated playground children can discover the history and stories of Hampton Court Palace. The garden contains various elements where they can enjoy themselves with sand, water and climbing equipment. Please note that a ticket to Hampton Court Palace does not provide access to the maze and Magic Garden. For this you have to buy an extra ticket. If you have a membership card for the Royal Palaces, you can go through.
Hampton Court Palace is a unique experience for the whole family. In addition to other castles and palaces where you often have to stay at a distance, you can come very close to the setting and even experience how life was back in the days: playing in the kitchen, standing next to a burning fireplace, fitting costumes and sitting on a replica throne. There is so much to see and to do. The temporary exhibitions are also of high quality and engaging.
If you want more information about Hampton Court Palace and plan your visit in advance, take a look at the website. When you’re living in London and you have a big interest in the Royals and its history, please also read the conditions of the membership card. With this card you have unlimited access to various palaces and castles in London during the year. Definitely worth it!