Hampton Court Palace
As our beloved Prince George celebrates his first birthday, we ventured out to Hampton Court Palace, the historical palace that was once a home to another royal George, as well as a Henry, a couple Charles’ and a Mary or two.
Hampton Court Palace sits proudly in its beautiful Surrey location beside the River Thames. Travelling from Central London couldn’t be easier, with trains from Waterloo taking you straight to Hampton Court station, which sits just across the river.
As you enter through the main gates of the palace, you will begin your visit in Base Court. Exhibitions and tours are based on the different eras of royal reign, and you have the freedom to explore each in any order.
As the first monarch to reside at Hampton Court Palace, and arguably its most famous resident, Henry VIII’s sumptuous history occupies much of the palace today. You may even see the King himself taking a stroll through the corridors.
See how Henry’s six wives had their own stamp on the palace. Door frame carvings, family crests and entwined initials can be spotted around Hampton Court as a constant reminder of his marriages, which occurred during different stages of building.
You can expect to delve deep into Henry’s royal life. Touring the kitchens will reveal how the king became well known for his larger physique, while also exposing what culinary life was like in Tudor times. Go further back in history to where it all began and discover his story before the palace at the Young Henry VIII exhibition.
The glorious Georges have not been forgotten. Smell your way around the Georgian Court with the ingenious scratch-and-sniff map, truly bringing history to life.
Original artworks and tapestries still hang within Hampton Court, and exact replicas have been created where necessary, giving you a complete look at life here. The Chapel Royal still stands as a working place of worship, and you can visit the Royal Tennis Courts during summer to watch the team practise.
If the Chocolate Kitchens, Fountain Court, and William III’s Apartments are not enough to explore, head out into the gardens. There are vast, trimmed lawns and endless rows of identical lollypop-shaped trees to wander between, as well as a hedge maze for you and your family to get lost inside.
Audio guides will take you on a tour around the exhibitions in the palace. You will listen to expert historians fill you in on all the details, including some who helped recreate Hampton Court Palace into the reconstruction you see today.
The audio guides are a great way to fully understand and appreciate where you are stood and what you are experiencing, and are available in nine different languages, so we would definitely recommend picking one up.
With a restaurant, two cafes, and an entire day’s worth of activities to enjoy, Hampton Court Palace is a place for all ages, history buffs or otherwise.