If you are in London, your trip is incomplete without visiting the Hampton Court Palace. Steeped in royal splendor, it is a treat to the eyes. After all, the history of this royal place traces back to 1514. Hampton Court Palace, in all its glory, used to be the palatial residence of King Henry VIII. But there is more to its fascinating history. Just a small drive away from London, tourists should definitely not miss the opportunity of taking in this royal sight. But before we discuss everything Hampton Court has to offer, let’s begin with the basics.
The History Of Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace’s history is its own story altogether. In 1514, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Chief Minister to King Henry VIII, began work to establish this architectural feat. His vision was inspired by the cardinal grace that was seen in Rome. Work was completed in 1525 but Cardinal Wolsey didn’t get to enjoy the finery of Hampton Court for too long. In 1528, as tables of fortune turned, he was forced to gift the palace to King Henry VIII.
King Henry VIII was delighted. After all, he had been staying in the Hampton quarters for a while as Wolsey’s guest. The King quickly began work on the expansion, adding the Great Hall and Royal Tennis Court. Since King Henry VIII’s death, the palace has been witness to many English monarchs. Parts of the palace were demolished. Newer parts were added. And today, Hampton Court Palace stands tall and regal, the way we know it to be. The rich Hampton Court Palace history is reflected in its architecture. The blend of Tudor and Neo-classical architectural, flanked by massive gardens, is unlike any other establishment in the country.
How To Get To Hampton Court Palace?
If you are wondering how to get to Hampton Court Palace, the place to start in London, United Kingdom. Once you’re here, you can take a train, boat or bus. Hampton Court Palace is situated in the south-west of Central London, United Kingdom. The best way to get to the palatial gardens is by train. South-west bound trains leave Waterloo Station every 30 minutes and you can get to your destination within the same amount of time.
You can also opt for buses from Kingston. They stop right outside of Hampton Court Palace. The R68 from Richmond is particularly highly reviewed for its fine views. River services certainly have a nicer view to offer but they can take up to four hours. During summer months, you can take the Turk Launches between Richmond and Hampton Court Palace.
As for Hampton Court Palace tickets, you can buy them online or at the palace itself. Online purchase is always a good idea as they are cheaper and you can also skip the queue. But you can also buy them on the spot. Besides, ticketing is quite simple. There are tickets for adults and families and concession tickets for children. But make sure you reach on time! Hampton Court Palace hours begin every day of the week from 10 am to 6 pm and until 4 pm during winter.
Highlights Of Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace has an abundance of attractions for visitors. Being the residence of monarchs, there are fascinating tales too. Take the Hampton Court ghost, for instance.
The screams of Catherine, the 5th wife of King Henry VIII, are said to echo down the gallery. The Grey Lady of Hampton Court roams down the Clock Court and the state apartments. There is even footage of an apparition known as the “Skeletor”. But enough about the Hampton Court ghosts. Because there is so much more to the palace. The maze, Chapel Royal, Flower Show are just a few of the attractions that we love.
Hampton Court Maze
This is a favorite among children. The oldest surviving hedge maze in the UK is challenging but easy enough to be enjoyed. Completing it usually takes around 30-45 minutes. The Hampton Court Maze is open to entry from April to late October.
It is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the Chapel Royal. The magnificent church embodies the best of Tudor architecture. The blue ceiling, gilded with gold stars, is indeed breathtaking. Besides, the hallowed walls of the church are witness to many historic events. This includes the baptism of Prince Edward VII and the issuance of the accusations against Catherine Howard. To experience the best of Chapel Royal, attending a choral service is highly recommended.
Hampton Court Wedding Venues
Who wouldn’t want a wedding in the palatial gardens of Hampton Court? The Hampton Court Palace has several wedding venues – The Garden Room, The Little Banqueting House, The Great Hall, The Orangery and Privy Garden. Our favorite is perhaps The Great Hall, originally the feasting chambers of King Henry VII. It is considered among the finest wedding venues in the UK and rightfully so. The stained glass windows, hammer-beam roof, Abraham tapestries are jaw-dropping, to say the least.
Hampton Court Flower Show
If you are in London in July, be sure to attend the Hampton Court Flower Show. The largest flower show in the world, it is a great opportunity to experience the best of nature.
Besides showcasing gardens galore, the Hampton Court Flower Show is also packed with programs related to health and wellbeing. The live music, of course, adds to the experience. This is a truly wholesome event!
Experience The Grandeur Of Hampton Court Palace
In about half a day, you can visit the entirety of Hampton Court Palace. You can even stop for a bite to eat at The Fountain Court or The Tiltyard Café. This historic palace, cloistered in the south-west of London, certainly doesn’t disappoint on any front. So, when in London, make a quick journey to the royal grounds of the Hampton Court Palace. The Baroque palace, its historic regalia and the fascinating lore that surrounds it – there is much to see and learn. And for a traveler in London, the Hampton Court Palace may very well be the highlight that completes the trip.