For history buffs like me, this is amazing. I can't believe it took me this long to finally visit. We only spent about 3-4 hours there, so didn't get to see absolutely everything, and the tennis court was closed the day we went. So sad. But it was amazing anyway!
So much history, and the audio guides didn't try to dumb some of the darker and more complicated bits down. When you go, the train is best, and try to go for the entire day if you can, especially if you're like me and have this weird fascination with Tudor history.
Don't you love a Sunday outing?! So, middle class I know. But I can be middle class.... Well, I can pretend.
Some friends and I decided on a little jaunt (ooh more middle class!) to Hampton Court. Such fun! Whilst a very polo-playing place in itself, the afternoon at the palace was actually REALLY good. Good cos of the people I was with, also cos we got half price tickets (8 pounds each is a BARGAIN here, 16 pounds I'm less sure if its worth it; for this you get the palace and grounds so I suppose that's good value).
On a nice day the grounds would be glorious - they were lovely here but I expect more colourful in spring. We did get to see 'real tennis' - apparently it's different to law tennis at Wimbledon and obviously VERY MIDDLE CLASS.
The palace was very Tudor and really interesting if you're into that period of history. Or if you're into affairs, debauchery and gluttony. It is Henry VIII after all ;)
This unique place is magnificient . Its totally a must-see fi you are staying a couple of days around London.
Great visit of the palace, indoor and outdoor. The gardens are really beautiful.
The oldest/biggest vine in the world is just amazing.
Its a bit pricy but its worth it
I absolutely LOVED Hampton Court Palace!!! A few months before my trip, I had read "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" so I knew a little bit of the Tudor history. It really didn't all click until I walked through the palace. I walked where he had walked, I sat where he had sat, I saw where he hosted great parties! It was an unbelievable experience. I also enjoyed the change in architecture between the two sections of the palace. The free self-guided audio tour was also very good and very informative.
The gardens were magnificent. Luckily the weather was beautiful when I walked outside and the grass was lovely green. There were so many colorful flowers everywhere. The Privy Garden was definitely my favorite. The maze was kind of dinky, but it was good for me since I was alone.
The palace was easy to get to from London. It was about a 35 minute ride from Waterloo station and a very short walk from the train station to the palace. I would definitely recommend spending a day here!
I was in London at the end of April beginning of May 2010 but from the recent reviews, I see that not much has changed at Hampton Court Palace.
Being that I'm a huge Henry VIII / Tudors fan, this was a must stop for me while I was being a tourist in London.
My friend and I happened to get lucky and while we were getting lost trying to get on the right train while at the Paddington train Station, we went into the Info booth and the guy helped us out so much more than we thought. We just went in their for directions of which platform but he ended up pointing out that they were doing a deal - buy one get one free tickets when you travel by train to London. There were a bunch of places including 50% of tickets for Avenue Q musical in the West End (which we totally took advantage of), so we were able to get basically half off tickets for Hampton Court Palace.
Since it wasn't quite the busy season yet, we were able to enjoy the Palace without it being SUPER crowded. There is an audio tour which we felt was a little too slow for us. It goes through a whole program essentially making you feel like you were there during the days of Henry VIII. We kept walking way past where the audio tour was and ended up trying to skip through some of the sections. I guess if we were more leisurely we would have enjoyed it more.
They also have actors playing the main characters from the day, like Henry VIII, Catherine Parr, Edward Seymour, guards etc. When I was there, they were supposed to have the Wedding of Henry and Catherine. They handed us a "program" of the days events, so there were particular locations where they would have full blown scenes, but you saw the characters walking around through out the palace walking around between scenes. It was quite cool.
There are also tennis courts in the back near the gardens. And it is not tennis as we know today but tennis as it was back then during Tudor times.
The gardens were beautiful to just walk around. And to think some of the plants have been there since Tudor times was very exciting. To think - 500+ years of these plants just growing is amazing.
Having been to Hampton Court a few times, the place just gets better & better.
Fabulous self-guided tours that you could spend a few days fully listening to, beautiful gardens, fun re-enactors at certain times, and demonstrations of life in Tudor times. As it's located in suburban London, there's no reason *not* to take a day out to Hampton Court. Be it for the Garden Show or just because, it's 100% worth it.
The garden maze is a little less-than-exciting, but being the only downfall of a whole castle complex, that's of little consequence. Wander, breathe it in, and really enjoy this fabulous royal home. It's quite worth it.
This place was incredible! My wife and I loved it! The gardens are beautiful and the palace itself is amazing. This is well worth the price of admission and the actors are a lot of fun to interact with.
This was our favorite stop in London.
Hampton Court exceeded my expectations. The most interesting thing to us by far were the huge kitchens meant to prepare lavish banquets for hundreds. The audio tour is a must-do, as it gave fascinating details on how the kitchens worked, including interviews from scholars actually researching on those topics.
Another must-do is to pay close attention to the live reenactment schedule given to you when you enter - actors bring historic scenes to life and involve guests in their exploits. We didn't pay them any mind but stumbled on the last bit while wandering around and am so glad we did. I won't spoil it for you, though, by going into any detail.
The grounds are also beautiful, and the hedge maze was fun (but small).
Come here and explore it by yourself, without any guides and groups. Just take an audio-tour and enjoy your travel back in time :)
Hampton appears to change and you can feel the Palace the way it really was hundreds of years ago.. You can easily imagine Henry VIII and Tudors taking care of their everyday stuff and preparing to all banquets on special occasions.
Rooms seem to be endless and sooo spacious..
I really liked the Rose Garden - it's like WOW, and the smell....mmm :)
AND GARDENS! They aren't the ones to be missed!
NEVER! NO, DON"T EVEN THINK!
Believe me, you'd like to spend a peaceful evening there, just observing the nature and walking around - just relaxing after everyday's routine. :)
If you are a fan of the Tudor era you must visit Hampton Court Palace. Make sure you devote your day here so you can really take in all the scenery. The grounds are beautiful. There are a variety of areas you shouldn't miss- such as the great hall which has a variety of medieval tapestry on the walls, the chapel royal- the ceiling is one of the most beautiful and ornate I have viewed, the gardens maze is fun but got a bit lost in it, and of course the beautiful gardens outside. This is one of the most unique historic royal palaces I've visited. There was an exhibition entitled "secrets of the royal bedchamber" going on when I visited which takes you through a variety of royal bed's & politics during the time. If this exhibition is still running it is worth seeing & packed with history. You can get 2 4 1 tickets currently if you use your London Day's out voucher from train travel (print in advance). Definitely worth visiting!
I am a history buff and my favorite time in all of history is the Tudor and Elizabethan era. It also helps that there is a possibility that my family is descended from the Tudors. Hampton Court Palace is a landmark for many reasons, but especially for Tudor and Henry VIII buffs. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore the palace via interior tours, and to keep an eye out for the medieval re-enactors.
The gardens are not to be missed. They are easily one of the most peaceful places that I have ever been. The meticulous upkeep should be noted. The gardeners and caretakers do a phenomenal job. One thing that I still would like to do is to head back there with a book and a picnic lunch to find a nice corner to observe the flora and read.
The Palace is within a five minute walk from the Hampton Court train station. Lots of little shops and places to eat if you want to grab a bite to eat.
I have to start this review with a question - why do American visitors all want to visit Stonehenge? It's far from London, desolate, under-developed and rather underwhelming in my humble opinion.
Much more worth your time is a quick trip to Windsor or Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court is a short train journey from London and you're rewarded to one of the best palaces and gardens in the south east.
Entry to the gardens and buildings have seperate charges. I do like the gardens very much. There's also the famous maze immoralised in Jerome K Jerome's 'Three Men in a Boat' - it's not too fearful though and worth a little wander.
It's been awhile since I've been inside the palace itself but visitors will lap up the history to be found within.
Hampton Court Palace is located right by the river but they don't seem to take much advantage of this.
Throughout the year, there are special events, the most spectacular of which is the Hampton Court Flower Show.
So, visitors from abroad, give Stonehenge a miss and head here instead.
Awesome history comes to life at Hampton Court. I actually got to see King Henry VIII walking down the hallway! (It was an actor, but it was still awesome!)
So other than that, Hampton Court Palace is really amazing. I heard a couple of people that had some hiccups with their audio tour, but mine had no issue. It's called "following directions" and it's a hard time for some. I chose the Henry VIII's apartments because it looked like the least busy. The guide was narrated by a page showing you around the buildings and pointing out the significance of each room and the artifacts surrounding it. When you take a moment to consider that these are the real places and the actual court of King Henry, it's really quite amazing! Mind-blowing, even.
There are a few other guided tours and since the audio guide is included in the price of your ticket, well worth exploring. Mary II's apartments, William III's apartments, the young King Henry VIII's apartments and kitchens. So much to explore and I was really quite pleased.
If you buy the full program ticket, it includes access to the Maze. It's silly, but it's fun and well worth spending ten minutes getting lost and then finding the center. It's the highlight "tourist" shot in front of the sign that makes it fun!
£13.95 for the ticket online (it's £15 at the door), plus £7 or so for the transportation here from Waterloo (there's an Oyster reader for you - Hampton Court Rail station is in Zone 6), it's well worth it for a good day's entertainment.
Note: There is a lot of walking. Most of it is on even ground and almost everything is indoors. Other than the short walk (1/4 mile) from the rail station, this is ideal for poor weather!
I agree wholeheartedly with Saskia P. Hampton Court Palace is a must see!
I remember being dragged around here when I was sixteen, complaining all the while. I guess it took me some twenty years to fully appreciate this place. My sister and I were here for six hours!! We literally went through every inch of the place using the map provided. My battery died after all the pictures I took. We loved this place! The boat ride back to Kingston was leisurely and provided us some down time for our walk back to the flat.
Everything about this place is so well maintained. You'll learn everything there is to know about Henry VIII, and no, he did not look like Eric Bana from The Other Boleyn Girl.
Having been an enthusiast of Henry VIII and his exploits for a few years, I was very excited to have the chance to visit Hampton Court while in London last week. I was NOT disappointed. The palace is easily reached by train from the Waterloo tube station in London, and a short walk takes you to the entrance. Yes admission was not cheap but I felt it was worth every bit. We toured the private apartments of royalty, walked through the kitchens and gardens, and had plenty of time to admire all of the artwork and tapestries. I really can't believe they let you take pictures of everything without restriction! They were also reenacting the wedding of King Henry to Kateryn Parr so there were actors dressed in character strolling the grounds. The staff here is very friendly and full of knowledge that they like to share!
I also recommend tea in the cafe - the scones and shortbread were delicious!
We visited the Tower of London the following day and while it was interesting, it was more expensive and much more crowded. I would recommend Hampton Court to anyone who would like a glimpse of English royalty's history. Allow yourself at least half a day to soak it all in.
This former Royal Palace is just on the edges of London but to my mind one of the must sees for locals and tourists alike. The building and grounds are stunning with a history dating back to the early part of the 15th century. The Tudors are the dynasty most associated with this place and one of the biggest draws is the story of Henry VIII and all his troubles with ladies.
The variation and changes in the building are amazing - not only the changes in architecture that reflect the movement of time but also the differences that reflect the people that lived and worked in the various spaces. In particular I love the contrast between the kitchens and the royal apartments. It was such a social space, a veritable town of courtiers, their guests (Shakespeare among them) and their staff.
The gardens of course are famous but probably best enjoyed during the summer. Being lost in a maze in January would make me want to set fire to the whole thing but who knows, maybe you're different.
This place was highly recommended by my local friends and I enjoyed my visit. Since it's not located in the central London, it's not as busy as some other tourist spots (well, at least when I was there).
I felt solid history and the building and grounds are just perfect match to the surroundings. I enjoyed seeing all the rooms/buildings, but my favorite was the garden - enjoyed the view from some of the rooms.
It is a nice excursion from London and highly recommended.
If you are going to see a castle while in England I would highly recommend Hampton Court for the whole Family. I also suggest putting aside a whole day for it, as you will have plenty to see and do there.
Beyond being a spectacular example of architecture from Tudor through the NeoClassical, There are tons of art and artifacts of various periods.
If your are lucky, Two Caravaggios and self portrait of Artemesia Gentillesci are housed in the Georgian Apartments, when they are not on loan travelling the world.In the same room you can find Artemisia's fathers work, and a two Lippos! Not to mention all the Rubens, and the Mantegna wall mural housed in its own room.
Beyond this, the whole Tudor section of the castle is filled with re-enactments and dramatizations of Henry and his wives.Now, it sounds cheesy but its extremely well acted, and not over the top.I usually do not go for this sort of thing but this was done extremely well at Hampton Court.Kids and adults engaged the actors through out the day.
The Usher's and guides are very helpful when you get lost, and you will get lost its very Labyrinthian. Oh and of course you can walk the Labyrinth Garden as well.There is plenty of information on how the house was built and functioned to serve the king in many different ways. Showing how food and wine was made and dispersed and how the palace functioned.
The gardens are spectacular- so make sure you set a side a chunk of your day to wander through them.
Chapel Royal is not open to the public during service on Sundays, so plan your trip on another day - as it is not to be missed.
Check their events calendar for the special Banquets for those visiting the castle because I imagine that event is like those medieval theme resteraunts, only awesome.
The king would like you to come to court.
This 16th century palace was originally the home of Cardinal Wolsey. It was lavishly decorated during his rise to power. You can see how the tide turned on the poor cardinal as he has his own little door leading to his hole. The monarch Henry VIII took over the palace and added his own embellishments to it. There is an astronomical clock over the Anne Boleyn gate. You'll see all the beds, dressing rooms, drawing rooms and chapels. Interactive audio guides highlight anything you'd like to learn about the palace or King Henry. It was interesting to learn more about his younger years and there are even some actors dressed the part about the grounds.
The palace was all about living the good life of the king. The kitchen and gardens give you an idea of just what that was like. The kitchen is basically a collection of several rooms where they fired an prepared meals for potentially hundreds of people in the royal court. It was quite the operation. The had huge spits of hunks of meat that they just rotated around the fire. Mmm bbq. The gardens feature a collection of fountains, statues and beautiful landscaping. Bring some good shoes because the grounds are huge. During the summer they have different parts open for an additional fee. You could spend a lot of time here taking in all there is to see. Why not live like a king for a day and stroll the grounds?
This place isn't as old as Windsor Castle, only about 500 years old.
Plenty old enough to have it's own unique story which you will learn about when you visit.
Parking is extremely limited and the place gets busy and crowded but not the extent of central London attractions.
The grounds around Hampton Court are especially pleasing and eye catching. There is actually a lot to see and learn here and a visit here would certainly not be a waste of time even if you are not a history buff.
A favorite which I remember from being a child was the maze and when taking a visitor to the palace a run round the maze was must. It's a lot smaller than I remember but still brought back fond memories.
Come and see for yourself.
I've been to a lot of castles in my life. But for some reason, this is probably one of my top 3. Maybe it's because I was a history major. Maybe it's because I have dreams about Henry VIII's children. Maybe it's because he's the king that I and most people are familiar with.
I think that as with any other historical monument, context really matters. Sometimes you go to a castle and really don't get much information about who lived there or when it was built... or even the kind of life people had in it. And I think Hampton Court is one of the few places where you can sort of really imagine what life might have been like about 500 years ago. There are a few hands-on areas, like the kitchen, and often there are people who are willing and eager to tell you about the place. There are gardens that are photogenic even when the flowers aren't blooming. And you can actually get to the place on public transport!
It was definitely worth the second visit... maybe even a third.
Forget Buck Palace, this is where the cool Kings hung out. Henry VIII's former pad, his summer chillout gaff, is definitely worth a visit.
Like stepping into some medieval movie, it is very surreal to wander about all the rooms thinking of the people who used to stand in the very same place. Oh if I had Bill and Ted's phonebooth all the cool things I could see! Sidetracked, sorry.
A more informal palace, you get to see the dining hall, kitchens and some of the royal apartments. Not Henry's though, his was knocked down years ago. I was disappointed, I wanted to see where 'the magic happened' or not, if you believe the rumours.
The gardens are very beautiful with conical trees reminiscent of a Super Mario game. We totally got lost though and lapped the palace about four times looking for the entrance.
The day we visited they were reenacting Henry's marraige day to Katherine Parr. Costumes, actors, speeches - tourists eat that shit up. And we did.
Felt like there could have been more to the palace, more props maybe? Guess it's just laid back that way, take it like you find
Wow - Incredible visit! Hampton Court does a very good job bringing history to life, with beautifully furnished interiors and lovely gardens. There are several small courtyards to explore as well as the vast park.
It's an easy day trip from London on the train, takes just about 30 minutes or so. It's nowhere near as crowded as the Tower and definitely attracts fewer screaming children.
I loved the Great Hall, the astronomical clock in the main courtyard, the Chapel Royal and the Tudor era chimneys. The kitchens were fascinating as the "downstairs" life in these palaces is often overlooked. And we know Henry VIII liked to get his eat on, so it was cool to see how the managed to feed a whole court.
If you want to live like royalty, you can actually rent an apartment at Hampton Court through the National Trust website. It's pricey, but who knows what you'll see after all the tourists go home.....
My favourite bit are the gardens!! They are always immaculate! The cone shaped trees & views of bushy park just add to the magic of it all. In the week you can usually get into them for free, so it makes a beautiful afternoon stroll.
I went around the whole palace last year, but i do think its rather pricey! I also found the maze just plain scary!
There are three reasons to see this grand palace:
1. You're interested in the history of Henry VIII or his wives.
2. You like gardens.
3. You have kids that love history.
This was the favoured residence of Henry VIII, and the whole place is infused with history about him, his wives, and his children. There are audio guides, re-enactments, rooms, paintings, and a massive, sprawling castle that contains whispers of early 16th-century intrigue in every grey block of stone.
Its gardens are immense. There are huge open lawns, topiary, rose gardens, a maze, the world's largest and oldest vine, statues, ponds, trees, fountains, and flowers and flowers and flowers. Every kind of greenspace imaginable can be found on hundreds of acres around the palace.
This place was made for kids. The palace has plenty of spacious courtyards. The lawns and gardens provide lots of space. There are horse-drawn carriage rides (for an extra couple of quid). Inside the re-enactment boffins bull out all the stops, and the many rooms of the kitchens, showing how they cooked Tudor food, are especially engaging.
It's £14 entry for adults (a pound cheaper if you book online in advance).
Hampton Court is most famously associated with Henry the Eighth as this was one of his Palaces. It is certainly worth a visit if you are interested in exploring royal history. Despite being damaged by fire about 20 years ago it is fully restored now.
The entrance used today is actually the back of the Palace, with the front facing on to gardens and what I believe is Bushy Park. There are lots of things things to see in the Palace itself, but if you get the chance to have a look at the real tennis court. The rules are almost impossible to understand, but interestingly enough if a player manages to hit a portrait of Henry VIII they win the point!
A couple of weekends ago, several friends and I went to Hampton Court palace.
It was a bright sunny summer's day, and all was great.
Overall, we liked Hampton court, but weren't particularly impressed by it.
The rooms are all empty, there is nothing of great interest to see aside from the young henry exhibit, and even that is a series of nearly empty rooms with text on the walls and a few paintings!
The gardens are lovely, and were in full bloom when we visited. It was a huge shame that nobody either in the palace or when we bought our tickets mentioned to us that the maze closed a few hours earlier than the rest of the palace. It is what we were the most excited about, and were gutted to have missed it.
Overall, it was a somewhat boring visit, with a big let-down at the end.
Hampton Court palace may hold a bit of interest for the younger crowd, or for huge architecture fans, but for us it was boring.
The fact that they had NO AUDIO GUIDES left when we went to get some (and we tried no less than THREE times, at varied intervals, during our visit) made us all decide that we'd never be coming back and that the visit wasn't really worth the whopping £14.
Hampton Court is Henry VIII's palace on the Thames River. I don't think I need to go into too much detail about the palace here except to say that there are basically six routes/tours that explain how the palace was used. Also there are daily programmes available including costumed tours and mini-recitals using period instruments. If you are pressed for time the most impressive rooms to visit are Henry VIII's State Apartments and The Tudor Kitchen.
The highlight to me are the various Palace Gardens. Covering over 60 acres there is a lot of greenery to see. My personal favourites were the sculpted and highly manicured East Front Garden or Great Fountain Garden (the trees reminded me of giant green Hershey Kisses) and the Privy Garden. And of course you must leave time to visit The Maze - its quite small and simple but fun anyway.
At only 30 minutes from London Waterloo, Hampton Court Palace is undoubtedly one of the most special places near London.
Having taken friends and family here, it never fails to charm with the antiques and artwork in the palace but also the selection of gardens in various styles. The classical gardens face onto the Thames which on a sunny day makes this feel like the British Versailles. At least as interesting though are the gardens on east and north sides of the palace with modern additions and beautiful flower beds. The apartments from both Henry VIII and William III are true recommendations. Beautifully decorated staircases and halls remind you of a time long gone but kept alive here.
Hampton Court is fun for young and old, English and from elsewhere. It truly feels like a holiday every time I go.
great day out and the gardens are great, its like stepping back in time, there are lots of offers on the net to get 2 for 1 entry etc.
You have to see Henry v111 great hall, its remarkable how big this room is and how well its decorated.
They have tours which take you around explaining the history tehy even have some costume guided tours.
The royal chapel is very nice to look at too.
Also you will have fun in the maze, make sure you go to the toilet first as you could be in there a while :)
You can even see the medevil kitchens and get a cookery lesson, which was fun.
Have visited Hampton Court a few times in the past couple of years, and is one of a number of royal palaces in London you can visit. The buildings and structures were very grand. I didn't not take a guided tour, but instead walked around with the free map. One thing to remember is that you can't take pictures inside the palace. They have good cafes and many places to eat for all budget ranges
The gardens were amazing matching the splendour of the buildings the flowers and trees are so colourful and well kept. Of course no trip it possible without trying the famous maze, first time was ok second time had to use the dummy way out.
This is a fantastic place to visit, there is a maze (cue racing your friends to the middle!), plenty of space for picnics, and great grounds to explore. I think you can also pay to go inside the palace but we stuck to the grounds as it was a gorgeous day.
Games such as frizbee are not allowed, we got into trouble for this after enjoying a nice picnic. I don't think there are signs about this, we were just told off after the event.
The maze is fun but didn't take up too much time, it would probably be more suited to a younger audience.
Better than Windsor in my opinion.
The home of Henry VIII, Hampton Court is a few hundred yards over the bridge and then to the right after exiting the railway station.
Entrance is pricey at close to £20 per adult - families can save a few quid on a joint ticket.
The palace itself is very well kept and is larger than the map they give you indicates. The courtyards are spectacular and the kings & queens rooms are jawdropping.
If its your kind of thing, you could easily spend half the day wandering around the gardens - they are beautifully kept. Don't miss the Maze, although not as big as I was led to believe, it is free entry when you purchase a ticket to the palace. Otherwise its £3.50 per adult.
All in all I feel you could spend a longer day out here than at Windsor Castle. If you're thinking of one or the other - in my opinion choose here.
I've been here 3 times. It's a fantastic country palace. Reminds me of Versailles - but slightly smaller, and less grand.
The best time to visit is in Spring, or Summer. Check the website for festivals and other special events. We went on the weekend for the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII's coronation which had loads of entertainment, events and fireworks for the same price.
You can also often get cheap entry through National Rail website and daysoutguide.co.uk. It can get as cheap as 2 for 1 so an absolute bargain.
It's not the easiest palace to get to, but fantastic if you like old buildings and gardens.
One of my favourite historical places in London. It never ceases to impress me. My father used to scary me when I was a kid and I can see why It's a little bit creepy and there are lots of ghost stories, but still if you are a history fan you should visit it and make sure you don't miss the gardens.
This is definitely a great place for a day trip, for the family or a group of friends. I'm a history nut and I especially love those crazy Tudors so I really liked Hampton Court. Henry VIII liked it too and stole it from Wolsey, I think, and loads of royals have lived there as well. The costumed tour guides were hilarious, and children will definitely love them- especially the kitchens, which are vast, and really make you realize exactly how many people were in a king's entourage back in the day.
Make sure you have time to see the gardens, they are really beautiful. If its a nice day out, I'd really spend half of it wandering around the gardens and sitting by the fountains.
I also love a good gift shop, and this one does not disappoint. There are especially good gifts for kids, mini swords and costumes and things like that. The jewelry is also intriguing.
Hampton Court Palace is accessible by train, its only a few blocks walk from the station.
I love my historical sights and the Tudor period is one of my favourites so Hampron Court is a must for me. When travelling from London, I take the train from Waterloo direct to Hampton Court which run pretty regularly or there's always the boat trip along the thames but I'm not the best traveller on water however !!
The palace itself is just delightful, there's educators there who deliver speeches and talks or you can hire those mobile head sets which are really handy too. The history is wonderful and if you're there throughout December and January time they even have an outdoor ice rink !!
I tend to buy the tickets as a London tourist type value ticket, which always works out at good value if there's a few places you'd like to visit around the same time. So, it' a wonderful all year round event for all and offer various gift shops where you should find something for everyone !!
Superbly preserved palace and grounds evoking the ambience of bygone days, particularly the era of King Henry VIII.
Allow at least a half-day. Well worth the effort to get to.
I think we are approaching double digits for the number of times I have visited this palace. And yet I never get tired of it. Highly underrated among my countrymen... probably because it isn't in Zone 1, but it is worth the trip. While I have always arrived by coach... with about 143 American university students, I would recommend taking the train rather than driving... especially on Sunday morning. And considering I have had students miss the coach on Sunday morning and a majority have met up with us at Hampton Court using the train... clearly it is an easy trip and affordable because if it wasn't... they wouldn't do it. The traffic around the palace really is a nightmare, so if you can avoid driving and parking there, it would be in your best interest.
The staff at Hampton Court are always so friendly and helpful, both when I am making advanced bookings for the group and when our students are looking lost and need a bit of guidance. The admission price is worth it... this is an all day sort of excursion with an audio guide if you would like, or you can wander about and find tour guides (dressed in costume) to join. We spend about three hours here, some students think it is too much time (they're probably the ones that don't bother going in or still hungover from their night out in London town) and some don't think it is enough time here. Having been many times and finding something new each time... you really should set aside a day for this palace... much like the Tower of London. This palace is great for all ages... they have a room where you can pick up a robe/jacket if you want to get into the spirit, sometimes you run into Henry VIII, sometimes they are having cooking demonstrations in kitchens, sometimes they have an ice skating rink... there is always something going on here!
While the place is open all year round (good for those of us that run programs all year round and for those that prefer to travel during off peak seasons to save money), the gardens aren't very spectacular during the winter. However, if they are doing a cooking demonstration in the kitchen, I recommend having a seat in front of the fire as they roast meat to warm up. In September, the garden shop sells grapes from the oldest grapevine. Having purchased some, they are lovely and very sweet.
Tips: Don't drive here; If you can, book tickets in advance, it will save you time from standing in queues; don't eat at the palace cafes, as long as you keep your ticket, you can re-enter, so head across the street to get some grub (read my review on 5 at the Bridge); and last but not least... JUST DO IT, you won't regret it.
Magnificent. Really captures the wonderful spirit of history and avoids the stuffiness of other places (not a mannequin in sight!). The kitchen, complete with chefs and live cooking, was a highlight as are the beautiful gardens. Keep an eye out for the reenactments around the palace and give yourselves plenty of time to enjoy this lovely place.
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