A day out at Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is one of the oldest Palaces to visit in London, after its sister down the River Thames of the Tower of London. Hampton Court Palace was established in 1515 by Cardinal Wolsey who was the advisor to Henry VIII. When Wolsey fell out of favor with Henry VIII he gave it to the king to appease him, it is a fine example of Tudor Architecture that stills survives. (look up onto the roof of the Palace to see the decorative Tudor Brick Chimneys that would have been the focus point in Tudor London)
Over the next 2 centuries Queen and Kings of Britain have made their mark on the Palace by adding their touch and the latest architecture of the time. They wanted a Palace that would rival Versailles.
I love that you can walk down a Tudor corridor and enter a Stuart Saloon then stroll into a Georgian Courtyard. One of my favourite little architectural feats I adore of the Palace that shows this juxtaposition of time with the which is outside in the Gardens when two exterior walls meet with the herald of Elizabeth I and William of Orange next to each other, it is the perfect mixture of Tudor and Baroque.
When discovering the Palace you can visit Tudor Kitchens which are still in use today, you can visit the Banqueting Hall that Henry VIII once sat in with his many wives. (Make sure you look up in the hall at the stained glass windows that are a tribute to Henry VIII with his 6 wives; Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr. As well as a tribute to his 3 children that would become the last King and Queens of the Tudor Period; Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I who would lead England into a Golden Age.
Do not miss out on seeing the Chapel Royal that is nested in between Henry VIII’s Wing and the Fountain Court. It is covered in the most beautiful details, from the starry night sky underneath 100s of arches to the golden angels that watch over you, not to mention the famous Tudor Rose which was the mark of a new dawn for the Britain’s Monarchy with the joining of 2 houses.
Stepping forward into the next dynasties are the Stuart and Georgian Wings that show off the finest life that was lived by the incredible architecture, stately rooms, gaming saloons and grand galleries, all set off with fantastic views out the grand windows of the rolling park and gardens of Hampton Court Palace
The huge Gardens plays host to many glorious walks and beauty to discover from the Magic Garden & Maze which is perfect to lose yourself into a fantasy world. A Rose Garden full of bright colour and wonderful smells, to the Deer Park which is perfectly framed by a garden of green lanes, to the Privy Garden which rest on the banks of the Thames River, and not forgetting the Great Vine which over 250 years old and the largest grape vine in the world. You will not be able to get enough of these lush gardens that have had Queens and Kings strolling amongst them.
It would have been a fantastic life as a Courtier to be asked to attend court, to travel across the country to be welcomed into these stunning hallways and courtyards that was the glorious Palace of the British Monarchy for 2 centuries. As you weave through all these courtyards, passageways, corridor and rooms you are able to get a real sense of the time and that you have fallen through time to relive life at this palace.
A interesting thing to know about Hampton Court Palace is that is it still a working Palace of sorts, many people that have worked for the British Monarchy now call Hampton Court Palace there home today. As well as the Royal School of Needlework calling the Palace their home where they offer many different courses as well as contributing to many fantastic garments of work such as the Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress.
Each year Hampton Court Palace plays host to many great events such as the Hampton Court Palace Festival every June which is full of wonderful Music. The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show every July which 100s of lush flowers, displays and talks. An Open Air Cinema every summer pops up in the grounds as well as an Ice Skating Rink for the Winter Season. There is always something exciting to see and do when visiting Hampton Court Palace.
The palace is open every day, it is reached from Central London via the train departing from Waterloo Station to Hampton Court Train Station which is in Zone 6. There are many buses from Richmond and Kingston that will get you to outside its gates. As well as 2 car parks that charge £1.60 per hour.
I am lucky enough to be a member of Historic Royal Palaces which allows me into all 5 sites in London such as the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Banqueting Hall and Hampton Court Palace so if you plan to tick all of these off your list I encourage you to be become a member for the year. If you only plan on visiting Hampton Court Palace purchase a ticket online before as it will save you money on your entry to the Palace. The Gardens are free to walk in if you only have a passion to see what majestic gardens have been created here.
So step back into time of the Queens and Kings of Britain that once made this unique Palace there home and see what there is to discover at Hampton Court Palace.