Hampton Court Palace Guide

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey
Hampton Court Palace - © Steve Cadman

Hampton Court Palace is a famous Royal palace located in Hampton Court in South West London. The palace is located approx 12 miles from central London and is a popular and much visited tourist attraction from visitors from across the UK and around the world. The site is famous for its impressive palace and the gardens, it is the oldest Tudor palace in England and offers visitors with a range of attractions to explore. Among them are the State Apartments, Maze, Tudor kitchens and the wonderful gardens. The palace is set in grounds containing impressive gardens and scenic surroundings and offers visitors the chance to enjoy a day out to a historical and heritage site with attractions and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Attractions


Hampton Court Palace is located in scenic grounds in South West London. The palace is an imposing presence, the palace is one of the few surviving palaces of Henry VIII. There are 60 acres of wonderful surroundings, with gardens on the riverside and the world renowned maze. A trip for tourists here in the summer presents the chance to enjoy a wonderful day out in quintessentially English surroundings at a historic site that has always been popular among visitors.

The palace is synonymous with Henry VIII which during his reign was developed, extended and altered in a rather grand and ornate style. There were large sums spent on making the palace as lavish and ostentatious with wonderful collections of paintings and tapestries. The surviving Tudor buildings are of great historic value, whilst the palace benefits from its elegant design that was commissioned at the end of the 17th century.

The Great Hall at the palace is the last medieval hall in England, the room contains a well decorated hammer beam and has tapestries from the reign of Henry VIII. The Great Hall is among the oldest theatres too, William Shakespeare’s company performed here for King James I over the Christmas and New Year period at the beginning of the 17th century. More recently the hall has been used for a meeting of Heads of State and Government of the European Union in 2005.

The Tudor Kitchens offer an insight for visitors in to royal cooking and entertainment over the years. The kitchens were constructed back in 1530, the kitchens were built not only for monarch Henry VIII but also for the approx 600 members of the court that would eat at the palace two times a day. This required a vast kitchen and facilities to cope with the demands of feeding such numbers on a daily basis, there were a number of top cook's and staff that would try to ensure everyone was fed on time.

The Chapel Royal has been in constant use over four centuries, the chapel is colourful and of rich design. The chapel has witnessed some significant historic events in its history including in 1540 when Archbishop Cranmer gave Henry VIII a letter outlining a number of accusations against the King’s new wife, Catherine Howard. He soon turned against her and she was executed at the Tower of London a short time afterwards.

Hampton Court Gardens are set in many acres of scenic surroundings that run down to the River Thames and feature wonderful fountains, parkland and flowering bulbs. The gardens along with the landscape and the entire estate are of great importance and significance to horticulture not just in the UK but internationally. The park covers an area of 750 acres with the formal gardens covering 60 acres and the palace buildings 6 acres, all of these are set in scenic surrounding along the River Thames. The scenic setting offers visitors the chance to enjoy a picnic on the benches in the gardens and there are picnic tables in the 20th Century Garden.

The Great Vine was planted back in 1768 by the celebrated ‘Capability’ Brown, the Great Vine still produces sweet grapes annually and is among the highlights of the gardens. The Privy Garden is based on a design from 1702 and contains a symmetrical pattern that incorporates the varieties of plants and marble sculptures. It is one of the most accurately reconstructed gardens given much information was available on it.

The 20th Century Garden contains a range of contemporary plantings within a relaxed setting with a range of tree and shrubs in evidence here. The area offers peace and quiet for visitors to relax and enjoy whilst walking around. Home Park is a 700 acre deer park containing waterways and ponds that have a wide array of birds.

The Maze at the site is among the most famous mazes in the world. The Maze was planted between 1689 and 1695, it is approx one third of an acre with half a mile of paths. The Maze lies within the 60 acres of riverside gardens at the palace and makes a fascinating and interesting attraction for visitors to explore

Visitors to the palace can choose from a number of Guided Tours on offer. The guided tours are included in the palace admission tickets. Tours with costumed characters are available along with tours audio guide tours. The knowledgeable guides help re create the past with their colourful costumes and have good in-depth understanding of the palace, its long history along with a range of interesting tales and legends.

How to Get There


The Palace and Gardens are accessible by both car and public transport:

By Car:

The palace is situated on the A308 and is signposted from major roads. Drivers should follow the brown tourist attraction road signs to help find the palace. From the M25, exit at junction 12 on to the A308 and follow the tourist signs to the palace. From the A3 take the A309 at the Kingston Bypass that will take you on to the palace at Hampton Court.

For those using Satellite Navigation systems the postcode to use is KT8 9AU.

There is parking available at Hampton Court Palace at the Palace and Green Car Parks.

NOTE: The site is not in the London Congestion Charge however it is worth remembering if you travel from the area covered by the Congestion Charge in central London you are liable to pay the charge.

By Train:

South West Trains offer services from London Waterloo station to Hampton Court station. The journey time is approx 35 minutes and the palace a few minutes walk across the bridge from the train station.

Trains from Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield and Wimbledon among other stations are also available to get to Hampton Court station.

By Bus:

There are number of local bus services that visitors can use to access the palace, the bus route numbers include:

111: From Heathrow Airport to Hampton and Kingston
216: From Staines to Hampton and Kingston
411: From West Molesey and Kingston to Hampton
R68: From Kew, Richmond, Twickenham to Hampton

Bookings & Tickets


Enjoy a visit to Hampton Court Palace and combine it with a hotel stay to make a great short break. By booking a visit to the palace with a comfortable hotel stay you can benefit from great value deals. See Hampton Court Tickets & Booking for more details.

Contact Details


Hampton Court Palace
East Molesey
Surrey
KT8 9AU
England

For ticket sales:

Tel: + 44 (0)844 482 7799

Telephone: 0844 482 7777 (from the UK)

Telephone: +44 (0)20 3166 6000 (from outside the UK)

email: hamptoncourt@hrp.org.uk

Website: Historic Royal Palaces

Facilities & Information


Opening Times:

For the Palace and Maze:

Summer:

Mon to Sun: 10.00 to 18.00 (approx March to October) with last ticket sold at 17.00

Winter:

Mon to Sun: 10.00 to 16.30 (approx Nov to Feb) with last ticket sold at 15.30

For the Formal Gardens:

Summer:

Mon to Sun: 10.00 to 19.00 (approx April to Sept)

Winter:

Mon to Sun: 10.00 to 17.30 (at all other times)


It is recommended visitors check all opening and closing times and specific days visits are open when booking to get the latest information & avoid disappointment, as changes can occur.


Further Information:

Ticket prices:

Adult: £16 approx, Children: £8 approx, Concessions: £13 approx and Family Ticket : £44 approx.

NOTE: Tickets can be bought online or at the gate, it is cheaper to buy the tickets online before you go.

For visitors with disabilities it is advisable to check for specific provisions when booking your tickets. For wheelchair users there are alternative access routes to avoid the stairs at certain places on the tour.

There is parking for Blue Badge holders however it is limited and needs to be pre booked.

Map



View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Hampton Court Palace Map

Tips & Other Considerations


There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and the attraction you wish to see i.e. the palace, the gardens or the park. It is wise to double check before going to ensure the attraction you wish to see is open and avoid disappointment.

Always remain alert, vigilant and aware of your surroundings and environment. Take care of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to Hampton Court ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Check for traffic news and updates before travelling.

If you are looking for car parking near Hampton Court, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are not sure it is wise not to park there. Parking rules & regulations are strictly enforced & can result in fines and other sanctions.

Whilst the palace is out of the London Congestion Charging Zone, car drivers travelling from the zone or through it from Mon to Fri are liable to pay the charge. Visitors can save on any possible London Congestion Charge payment by travelling at the weekend when the charge does not apply or ensuring they use a route that does not go in to the chargeable zone. On Sundays it is possible to get cheaper street parking too with savings compared to other times.

If you are travelling by public transport, it is useful to check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.





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