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Hampton Court Palace Highlights
The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace which has been in continuous use for over 450 years. The magnificent vaulted ceiling was installed by Henry VIII in 1535-6.
© Historic Royal Palaces/newsteam.co.uk
With over 500 years of royal history, Hampton Court Palace has something to offer all visitors.
- Tudor Kitchens
From 1529 the kitchens comprised 55 rooms, covered 3,000 sq ft, were staffed by 200 people providing 600 meals twice a day for the Royal court. What's more, King Henry VIII's court would have drunk an incredible 600 gallons of ale every year.
- Great Hall (Henry VIII's State Apartments)
England's last and greatest medieval hall, this was the dining hall for the king's staff but was decorated with tapestries as visiting ambassadors would walk through to meet the King.
- Young Henry VIII Story
We always think of King Henry VIII as a large man with many wives but he was an attractive young man and was married to his first wife, the Spanish Catherine of Aragon, for 20 years and they were very much in love. They had 6 children die leaving him with no male heir and Henry saw this as God punishing him for marrying his brother's wive. Hence the story we know: the new Church of England was formed so he could divorce and his further five marriages in his quest to produce a male heir.
- William III's Apartments
Mary II and her husband commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild a third of Hampton Court. Look out for the "necessary office" (the king's toilet).
- Georgian Private Apartments
The Cartoon Gallery was designed to display the large Raphael cartoons, but these are actually 17th century copies as Queen Victoria gave the originals to the V&A. Also see Queen Caroline's bathroom. What makes this surprising is the fact personal hygiene was unusual in Georgian times.
- The Chapel Royal
The chapel has been in continuous use for over 450 years. When Cromwell lived at the palace he removed the ornate stained glass. (You can see where this would been if you use the access lift.) Queen Anne later put a wooden alter in front of the removed windows.
- Hampton Court Palace Gardens
The 60 acres of gardens run down to the River Thames, with another 750 acres of tranquil royal parkland. Look out for the Privy Garden -- King William III's garden restored to its 1702 glory, and the Great Vine: planted in 1768 by the celebrated gardener 'Capability' Brown, it still produces a yearly crop of black, sweet grapes that are sold in the palace shops in early September. Plus you can't miss The Maze, the most visited attraction in the gardens. It takes an average 20 minutes to reach the center. Also look out for the Royal Tennis Courts: the oldest tennis court in England and still used daily.
- The Triumphs of Caesar
This set of paintings is one of the most famous in the whole history of European art. By Italian artist Andrea Mantegna, the paintings were purchased by King Charles I and brought to England in 1630.
A recommended book that includes a section on the Hampton Court Palace Gardens is The London Garden Book A-Z.
Hampton Court Palace Resources
- How To Get There
- Opening Hours
- Ticket Information
- Family Activities
- Access Information