A Royal Visit to Hampton Court Palace

The Tudor Dynasty ruled England for well over 100 years: from Henry VII’s battlefield victory in 1485 to the death of his grand-daughter Elizabeth I in 1603. His defining ambition – to pass his crown to a male heir – resulted in six marriages and divided England from Rome and Catholic Europe. Henry’s religious and political policies continue to influence England’s political, religious and social life to this day. The magnificence and wealth of his court – his palaces and parks, tapestries and paintings and grand, lavish lifestyle can still be experienced at Hampton Court Palace, after 500 years. Hampton Court Palace is a wonderful opportunity to witness, discover and experience the life of Henry VIII and the Tudors and should not be missed on your trip to the UK.

Hampton Court Palace is grand, magnificent and gives you a wonderful insight into the lavish lifestyles of Henry VIII and the royal family. Located in East Molesey, Surrey and only a short 30 minute train trip from London, it is a wonderful piece of British history and a perfect way to spend a day of your travels. Discover the busting Base Court, beautiful Fountain Court, explore the vast Tudor kitchens, crane your neck whilst gazing at the Great Hall and marvel at the breath taking, magnificent State Rooms and Apartments where it is obvious that no expense has been spared.

In addition to exploring the Palace on your own there are a number of activities and tours happening at the palace at different times. These range from the viewing of Henry VIII’s crown, admiring the Mantegna’s Triumphs of Caesar paintings, taking part in banquet preparation, dressing up in traditional velvet cloak’s and discovering young Henry VIII’s story. Be sure to check online or pick up a brochure at the palace to discover what is on during your visit!

The Palace has been beautifully maintained and truly reflects the lifestyles of Henry VIII and the Tudors. There is information available for you everywhere you turn, along with helpful, friendly staff allowing you the opportunity to truly soak up an enormous amount of interesting and important British history!

Being a lover of all things chocolate, I was fascinated by the recreated Chocolate Kitchen in the palace, where Thomas Tosier; King George I and George II’s personal chocolatier prepared the very special chocolate drink for the royal family and their guests. We were lucky enough to experience a demonstration and talk about this topic and were shown how in fact the royal chocolate was made! 

The enchanting Palace gardens are spread over 60 acres and run alongside the River Thames. You can view one of the world’s oldest and largest grape vines, The Great Vine and take the time to get lost in the famous Maze and try find the centre! The extensive Kitchen Gardens were the where all of the fruit and vegetables were grown for the Palace. The gardens have been reconstructed to be as they were 500 years ago, and every Friday there is some produce available to purchase!

We made it to the Centre of the Maze!

The gardens are absolutely magnificent, with sparkling fountains, statues, perfectly manicured large yew trees, the Great Fountain and the old pond gardens which are sunken gardens that originally held a number of species of freshwater fish just to name a few! They now showcase an impressive selection of stunning, bright flowers. The famous Privy Garden has also been restored by gardeners to showcase the original flower and plant varieties. The grounds also include Home Park which now is home to a golf course, The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and over 300 deer. All the gardens have been reconstructed or maintained to reflect the way they would have looked like whilst Henry VIII resided at the Palace. You could literally spend days exploring the gardens and grounds of Hampton Court Palace, they are absolutely breathtaking.

Allow yourself plenty of time – we spent the greater part of a day wandering the Palace rooms and the enormous beautiful gardens and grounds. There are also a number of events held at the Palace throughout the year including: Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace Festival and Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink. Whether you are a history lover, art or architecture buff or flower and garden fanatic I can guarantee you that there is something at Hampton Court Palace you will enjoy.

Excitingly in 2015, Hampton Court Palace turns 500 years old! This will be a year of celebration with exciting activities and events, so if you are planning on visiting England then, ensure you add a trip to Hampton Court Palace to your itinerary.

To find out any further information about any of these exciting events, the Palace itself or to pre-book your tickets visit: http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/ 

What other Royal Palaces or Castles can you recommend?

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