Even before we moved to London, I’ve already read so much about the Hampton Court Palace from other London-based bloggers. To be very honest, I didn’t even know about it when I first visited London in 2012 and I guess it’s not only myself who easily missed out on visiting this palace while in London as a tourist. This I tell you though, you should actually make the time to visit Hampton Court Palace. It’s absolutely worth it.
I’m not a museum geek, I’m more inclined to visit the actual historical sites rather than seeing the things found in a site in a museum. A palace is one of the places I love going to – I love walking around it, exploring the grounds and imagining myself to be in the era when it was at the height of its grandeur. I guess I’m nosy that way.
I do have to say that the Hampton Court Palace is probably one of the best palaces I’ve ever visited not only because of its grandiosity but because it was so informative. The audio guide provided will trigger your curiosity and I seriously couldn’t stop myself from exploring every single part of the palace where the audio guide is available. There were a lot of staff as well who’d be willing to answer any questions you might have.
I also love the fact that they did a very good job to make you feel like you are exploring the palace during the Tudor era. Props together with the sound effects in some of the areas make the whole experience more fun and absolutely worth your while.
A Brief History of The Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace on the River Thames in the Royal Borough of Richmond was initially intended to be the home of Cardinal Wolsey, the advisor of King Henry VIII. However when Wolsey failed to get an annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the relationship broke down and the Hampton Court Palace was then transferred to its most famous resident – Henry VIII.
Who is Henry VIII?
Henry VIII is one of the most famous kings in English history and very well-known for being ruthless and having had six wives during his reign. He was called “Defender of Faith” when he wrote a book defending the Catholic teachings however, he later established himself as the head of the Church of England and became the Catholic church’s enemy when he failed to get an annulment of his wedding. He was also known to be the bloodiest Tudor ruler ordering 72,000 executions during his reign.
The Hampton Court Palace
My favorite area of the Hampton Court Palace was Henry VIII’s kitchen which was considered as the biggest kitchen of Tudor England. The kitchen was built to feed 600 people which of course became the central part of the palace life. The kitchen area was very interactive, the butcher shop had meat all around it and you can hear someone chopping inside (probably not a good place to be in the evening?). While in the roasting area, a staff can be seen rotating pieces of meat by the fire who can actually answer any questions you might have.
Above the kitchen is the Great Hall situated strategically so that bringing the food from the kitchen to the hall will only take half a minute. The hall of course was grand, decorated with expensive and bigger-than-life tapestries.
The Chapel Royal was amazing with its elaborate design which matches the palace’s opulence. A replica of the crown worn by Henry VIII is also displayed here, sadly photography isn’t allowed in this area.
While the apartments were of course just as grand, I was very much more drawn to explore the grounds of the palace most specially the Privy Gardens which was built during William III’s time.
“This garden from Henry VIII’s day was always the King’s private garden, and very few people would ever have gained admittance to it up until the 18th century. Even then, it remained a private garden for the grace and favour residents of the palace right up until the early 20th century.’”
– Susanne Groom, Curator of Gardens Exhibition
Historic Royal Palaces Website
There’s also a maze in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace however, I didn’t want to explore it by myself for the fear of not being able to get out of it. I do want to go back there for the maze though but not until I have someone to go with me. Lol.
Screaming Lady at the Haunted Gallery
Catherine Howard was the 5th wife of Henry VIII and was put into house arrest when she was charged of committing adultery. She was able to escape somehow and went towards where Henry VIII was to beg for his forgiveness. The guards dragged her screaming back towards her room and this particular scene is believed to be being reenacted by her ghost in the gallery posted above. People claim to hear the screams of someone being dragged down that hall. Creepy.
The Grey Lady
Sybil Penn was the servant to four Tudor monarchs and her haunting of the Hampton Court Palace began when her tomb was moved.
A ghostly figure was caught on a CCTV camera in 2013 which is now named as Skeletor.
“On the first day, CCTV footage showed the doors flying wide open with great force but there was nothing to reveal why. On the second day, the same thing happened but this time a ghostly-looking figure in period dress suddenly appeared on the screen and closed the doors. The doors opened again on the third day but there was no further sign of the ghostly doorkeeper.”
– Historic Royal Palaces Website
If you want to spook yourself out some more, see the Skeletor on the CCTV still here.
I spent 3 hours in the Hampton Court Palace alone and probably another 30 minutes in the gardens. You should definitely allocate at least half a day in this palace as it’s so informative and very interesting that you wouldn’t want to rush your visit.
Planning your visit:
Ticket price during peak season: GBP21 per adult / GBP10.50 per child
Ticket price during off-peak season: GBP18.20 per adult / GBP9.10 per child
Note: Buying your tickets online is cheaper than the gate price.
25March to 29October timings: 10AM to 6PM
30October to 24March timings: 10AM to 4:30PM
To go to Hampton Court Palace, it’s a 35-mins journey via the Southwest Train from Waterloo station. Nearest train station is Hampton Court which stops near to the palace itself. Hampton Court is in Zone 6.
Pin it for later:
[…] Court is famous for the Hampton Court Palace which is by far my favorite among all the palaces I’ve visited in England. It’s […]
[…] Hampton Court Palace is my favorite place in London, I’m a bit biased because I live very near it. It was the very first place that I visited when we moved to Kingston and I’ve been numerous times afterwards ever since. What I didn’t know is – Hampton Court is not only the palace, it’s a HUGE area and I haven’t even explored most of it. […]
I can’t believe I’ve never been to Hampton Court Palace! It sounds like a dream destination for me. I love a good ghost story, too. That skeletor CCTV capture is so cool! 🙂
[…] visited since I arrived in London 2 months ago. But that’s because I keep on going back to Hampton Court Palace whenever I can which is just a walking distance from where I […]
We should go to HAmpton Court Palace when you’re here. I don’t mind going back there again. 🙂
For me it was the other way around, I started traveling because I was nosy and wanted to see the historical places I read on books and watched on TV. :p
Wow! Your photos alone already tell so many stories. And you’re now based in the UK? I just came to know when i saw this.
Visiting palaces is always a delight, especially when they are full of spooky stories like this!
Lol. I love spooky stories eventhough I get scared easily. Lol.
Those gardens! Amazing. Henry VIII is our favorite Tudor – thanks in part to Horrible Histories! It would be fun to see one of the places all that horrible history took place! Thanks for sharing and linking up with #FarawayFiles – we are happy to have you part of our growing community! Cheers from Copenhagen! Erin
I have to watch that episode of Horrible Histories. After visiting the Hampton Court Palace, I think I’ve watched almost all of the documentaries about Henry VIII. :p
Great pics. I love going to Hampton court. I especially love it in summers when you can get the boat from Kingston or Richmond #farawayfiles
I live in Kingston! 🙂 I need to try that boat ride some time.
Your photos are absolutely stunning, Noemi. I’m so happy that you enjoyed Hampton Court – it’s one of my favourites too. Thanks so much for linking up with our very first #FarawayFiles
Thank you Clare, it was absolutely gorgeous. 🙂
So glad you enjoyed your visit Noemi! I adore Hampton Court Palace as you know. I particularly like the formal gardens where you can stroll among the flowers just as Anne Boleyn must have done before her head was lopped off. Absolutely beautiful photos. So glad you shared them with us on #FarawayFiles
Thanks to your tip of buying the annual membership, love that I can just go back there anytime I want. :p
Wow such a gorgeous architectural marvel! I need to go back to London and see more of the sights, 48 hours was not near enough!
Oh 48 hours is definitely not enough. 🙂 You should come back.
I have always had a fascination with Henry! I haven’t made it here to visit yet but your pictures are beautiful. Definitely on the list of places to visit.
After that visit, I think I am now obsessed with Henry VIII. :p
It has never occurred to me to visit this place but I like the ‘gossips’ and stories, that’s how I remember history lol! Thanks for sharing information about this lovely palace.
Lol. Yes, I do love the gossips and stories too. Lol
Wow this places looks so grand! Looks like somewhere I would love to visit when I am in London. And those gardens – magnificent! I absolutely adore visit historical sites and old buildings, because I am so fascinated by the history of places. I think I would enjoy the audio tour
Oh yes you would, you should definitely give this place a day when you visit London.
Wicked! I’m visiting London next week and I’ve never heard of Hampton Court Palace but I’ll definitely pay it a visit if time permits – maybe i’ll see a ghostly sighting hahah. Really nice photos. I’ll have to agree (even though I am a museum junkie) – visiting a historical site is much more interesting than a museum at times.
Oh I hope you enjoy London and be able to visit Hampton Court Palace. 🙂
Neither did we hear about the Hampton Court Palace before reading your blog. Completely in awe of the architecture of the building. Great Hall is impressive with those opulent decorations and remarkable tapestries.
Glad I gave you an idea of this beautiful place. 🙂
I am not fan of visiting historical places …. but your mention about the ghost sightings is making to visit this beautiful piece of art.
What’s your travel style then Jishma? Are you more into nature walks? 🙂
I am embarrassed to say I have never heard of the Hampton Court Palace either! I was just planning my trip back to London in March and will have to check this out. Beautiful photos 🙂
Oh! Glad I gave you the idea to visit it. Hope you enjoy your spring visit to London.
I love the dragon statue with the coat of arms. Very cool. All I knew about Henry VIII is that he was not a guy you wanted to be married to, but after reading this I see he did a LOT of executions. Wow – 72,000? Can you imagine the fear of those he ruled? The sheer size of places like this are mesmerizing. HUGE! Adding this place to the list of spots I want to visit with the kids!
I chuckled on this “he was not a guy you wanted to be married to” that is true. Lol
I never get tired of reading about Henry VIII and his numerous wives. Hampton Court looks like somewhere I’d love to visit. Although Henry wasn’t the nicest of kings (fancy accusing your wive of adultery whenever you want to get rid of them!), he certainly looms large in British history. I wonder if the palace really is haunted..
Lol. Adultery is always his scapegoat huh? Lol. I would definitely want to learn more about him. I think I’m obsessed. Lol.
great palace! I wish I visit it one day:)
You should! 🙂
I love visiting palaces and cathedrals. The workmanship in those 2 types of structures are fascinating. Thanx for the lost jewel. I did not know about it.
Loved the garden! I consider myself the same way, even though I am a huge fan of museums, I definitely enjoy more the actual historic places. And there is something about Britain trying to get me, I have read many things about it this week! I guess its a sign and I should go soon then!
Ohhh it’s definitely a sign. :p
What a beautiful place! We went to London early this year but didnt get to go here. I guess that gives me a reason to come back hehehe
Yes, always a reason to come back. :p
I missed out on this when I was in England on my last visit and I am sorry. We, of course, went to the tower where so many people including some of his spouses met their end. No ghosts but a good adventure. I would love to go to your spot, there are so many great photo opportunities. Would love to be there on the grounds nearing sunset.there
wow so much things to do in London! 🙂
Wow! This is super interesting. I’d love to see the kitchens. I love the British TV show”Supersizers Go: which explores different food trends from the past. Sounds like you could learn so much about life during those time by visiting there.
I will have to check that TV show. :p
Hampton Court does look magnificent. I’m not generally one for old building but I can appreciate the history and beauty of this one!