Hampton Court Palace: History, info and tickets

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The Grounds
The Palace
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For centuries Hampton Court Palace was home to some of Britain’s most famous kings and queens, many of whom have left their mark on both the stunning exterior and the opulent interior. Come and discover this unique treasure house of British history, where 500 years of embellishments will leave you spellbound.

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The Grounds

Riverside Gardens
Immaculately restored and presented to perfection, the 60 acres of gardens that run alongside the River Thames create the perfect setting for this fairytale palace.

The Maze & The Great Vine
The winding paths of the world-famous maze cover over 1,350 sq metres – or more, depending on your sense of direction. Hampton Court Palace is also home to the world’s oldest known vine which still produces up to 700lbs (318kgs) of grapes each year.

Courtyards & Cloisters
The buildings of Hampton Court Palace cover an area of over six acres. Once inside, you’ll discover many courtyards and cloisters, decorated with gargoyles, coats of arms and Henry VIII’s Astronomical Clock.

Costumed Guides
There are six routes to follow around the palace, so don’t be surprised if you bump into someone from the past! Dressed in full traditional costume, our entertaining guides will transport you back through 500 years of history.

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The Palace

The Great Indoors

To appreciate the day-to-day reality of living and working in the palace, you simply have to go inside. Explore the endless corridors, vast kitchens, grand apartments and lavish bedrooms, with stunning tapestries and sparkling chandeliers exactly as they would have been when the palace was a royal residence. Join a free guided tour or take one of our audio tours (available in six languages) and hear for yourself what life was like inside the greatest palace in Britain.

Royal Residents

1514 – Thomas Wolsey is made Archbishop of York and takes up residence at Hampton Court.
1528 – Henry VIII forces Wolsey to surrender the ownership of the palace to him.
1537 – Henry VIII’s only son, Edward VI, is born here and christened in the Chapel Royal. His mother, Jane Seymour dies days later.
1604 – James I presides over the Hampton Court Conference, resulting in the institution of the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible.
1647 – During the Civil War, Charles I is imprisoned here by Oliver Cromwell’s army. He escapes three months later.
1653 – Oliver Cromwell is proclaimed Lord Protector of the Commonwealth and comes to live at Hampton Court Palace.
1689 – William III commissions Sir Christopher Wren to demolish Henry VIII’s lodgings and build a new palace more to his liking.
1702 – William III falls from his horse in the palace grounds and later dies at Kensington Palace.
1716 – The Prince and Princess of Wales take up residence at Hampton Court Palace.
1737 – Queen Caroline dies, consequently the King never visits the palace again with the full court.
1838 – Queen Victoria opens Hampton Court Palace to the public

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Rooms & Apartments

The Wolsey Rooms & Renaissance Picture Gallery
Hampton Court Palace is home to one of the greatest collections of Renaissance paintings in England,housed in a series of small, Tudor rooms.

The Tudor Kitchens
With over 1,000 meals served each day, the kitchens were usually the busiest part of the palace. Today, you can see for yourself how these great feasts were prepared.

Henry VIII’s State Apartments
Hampton Court was Henry VIII’s favourite palace, and he lavished money and affection on its embellishment. The impressive results can still be admired in the Chapel Royal and the Great Hall.

The King’s Apartments
The State Apartments of William III were restored after the great fire of 1986 and still contain all their original and extremely fine paintings, tapestries and furniture.

William III’s Private Apartments
The King’s Private Apartments reveal a more personal and intimate side of the palace, away from the pomp and ceremony of public life.

The Queen’s State Apartments
These rooms took thirty years to complete and the results are breathtaking. Hung with rich tapestries and paintings, they also offer stunning views over the gardens and park.

The Georgian Rooms
A fascinating insight into the private lives of George II and Queen Caroline, the Georgian Rooms are furnished today as they were in 1737 during the final visit of the royal court.

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