Do you love visiting castles, palaces, and gardens? Or perhaps you are looking for new places to explore outside central London? Then Hampton Court Palace is for you. It’s located on the banks of the River Thames in London Borough of Richmond about one hour away by train from the city centre. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vast Tudor Kitchens, climb the stairs to the magnificent Great Hall and Tudor State Apartments, and gaze down on the Chapel Royal from the Royal Pew. You are invited to venture into the enormous Queen's State Apartments in the Georgian Palace. Also, don't forget to visit the splendid Royal Gardens.22 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120292

A glimpse of the palace history

Construction works of Hampton Court Palace began in the early 16th century. Shortly afterwards King Henry VIII took it over creating an ornate royal palace with quarters for his new queen, Anne Boleyn, royal council chambers, and a glorious Great Hall to serve as the heart of palace life. Nowadays there are two palaces at Hampton Court: the first one is the Tudor Palace owned by Henry VIII, while the second palace is a baroque masterpiece designed in the 17th century for the Royal couple William and Mary. The Baroque Palace is surrounded by superb formal gardens.

First impression

When coming from the railway station, you will approach the palace from its older red brick side with red chimneys, and I must admit that it looks very impressive. There are over 240 red Tudor chimneys of various designs around Hampton Court.21 hampton thesanetravel.com P211095822 hampton thesanetravel.com P212029225 hampton thesanetravel.com P2110987

Entering the palace

Crossing the bridge to the palace entrance, have a look at ten statues of heraldic animals called the King’s Beasts, and stand on the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse. These statues of lions, dragons, yale, panther, bull, and unicorn represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour.23 hampton thesanetravel.com P211098124 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120284The palace buildings are built around three courtyards: Base Court, Clock Court, and Fountain Court. After passing the entrance gate, you will find yourself in the first yard with colourful well and painted figures in captivating postures. 11 hampton thesanetravel.com P211098812 hampton thesanetravel.com P2110989Then make your way to the Court Kitchen.

Henry VIII’s Tudor Kitchens

Exploring the Royal kitchens will make you understand what a big job it was to feed King’s Court, which consisted of over one thousand people. The kitchen was the place where Henry VIII's banquets were prepared. You will find the tools, virtual stories, and other artefacts of this big production to feed many royal dinners at the palace.69 hampton thesanetravel.com P212026071 hampton thesanetravel.com P212026472 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120267

Clock Court

The main decoration of the Clock Court is an awesome astronomical clock designed by the Bavarian master Nicholas Cratzer in 1540. At over 3 metres in diameter, it is an imposing sight, set in the clock tower that overlooks the courtyard. Not only does it tell the hour, the day, and the month, but it also shows the phases of the moon, the signs of the zodiac, the movement of the sun, and the time of high tide at London Bridge.34 hampton thesanetravel.com P212003135 hampton thesanetravel.com P212003236 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120255

Then continue your visit to, in my opinion, the most impressive room of the Tudor Palace, the Great Hall.

Great Hall

The Great Hall sits at the very heart of the Tudor Palace, towering over the surrounding buildings. It was designed to impress and to proclaim Henry VIII’s power and magnificence. To celebrate Henry and Anne's marriage in the early 16th century, Anne's coat-of-arms was added to the roof and the entwined letters H and A were carved on the wooden screen at the end of the Great Hall. 27 hampton thesanetravel.com P212000729 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120004Look out for the 'Eavesdroppers' – the carved and painted heads that decorate the roof of the Great Hall.28 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120003

On the walls of the Great Hall hang a series of tapestries showing scenes from the life of the patriarch Abraham from the Book of Genesis. They were woven in Brussels from wool, silk, and gold and silver thread.

Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace is one of the country’s most beautiful places of worship. Just a few people realise that its services are open to everyone. 32 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120018The Chapel Royal also has an internationally renowned choir. You will marvel at the stunning crown of the Henry III exhibited at the Royal Pew.33 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120020

Baroque Palace

After visiting Tudor’s Hampton leap forward a few hundred years and enter a stately elegance in the apartments built for the Queen Mary II and her co-ruler, William III at the end of the 17th century. The apartment block have their own staircase and suites. The King's Staircase features fabulous murals by Antonio Verrio. 38 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120048The King's Staircase leads to the Guard Chamber, which is packed with a massive collection of weapons from the 17th and 18th centuries.
40 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120054Take your time to visit other great rooms of the awesome Baroque Palace.41 hampton thesanetravel.com P212005542 hampton thesanetravel.com P212006743 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120082

Gardens

Hampton Court Palace’s world-famous gardens include 24 hectares of spectacular formal gardens and 304 hectares of parkland, all set within a loop of the River Thames. The gardens are home to the world's oldest puzzle maze, a record-breaking grapevine, three National Plant Collections, over one million flowering bulbs in the Wilderness, and a huge variety of wildlife.47 hampton thesanetravel.com P212010449 hampton thesanetravel.com P212012851 hampton thesanetravel.com P212014152 hampton thesanetravel.com P212014253 hampton thesanetravel.com P212015156 hampton thesanetravel.com P212018957 hampton thesanetravel.com P212019267 hampton thesanetravel.com P212025259 hampton thesanetravel.com P212020164 hampton thesanetravel.com P212023665 hampton thesanetravel.com P2120241

Practical information

The palace is located approximately ten minutes’ walk from Hampton Court Station.79 hampton thesanetravel.com P2110953 You can use your Oyster card to pay for your travel. I guess you will need at least half a day for your visit. If you have more time you will find plenty of things to do regardless.80 hampton thesanetravel.com P2110959Like it? pin it!

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What did you think? Have you been to Hampton Court Palace? Or perhaps you’re thinking of visiting in the near future? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so please add your comments below.

 

Posted by Anita on October 30,2020

Anita 03 18

About the author
Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman from Latvia, 
traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter, and Bloglovin.

 

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Oh Anita this is fabulous! I've been to Hampton Court - years ago. Your writing and especially your wonderful photos really brought it to life for me. I feel as if I've visited all over again, with more appreciation.
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What a beautiful architecture and interior! This palace is stunning! Thanks for sharing this place as I didn't know it before! To put on my list for my ext visit in London!
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What a stunning place to visit. Love your photos! We particularly enjoyed pretending to be royalty sitting at the banqueting table. There was also a performance troupe re-enacting a Tudor royal love tryst when we visited which really brought the history to life. The gardens are amazing too!


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