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“On-Your-Own” Trips From London - Edition 1 -
Welcome to the first edition of day trips from London that you (and your family or friends) can easily experience without taking an escorted tour. This series will not necessarily be presented in any particular order and, is by no means all-inclusive. The editions begin with a prelude that includes important information about how to get there, hours of operation and entry fees and, if available, a website address for further information. Please be aware that the information included in this edition should be verified before you start out to avoid disappointment if there have been changes.
Destination: Hampton Court Palace
How to get there: Rail from Waterloo Station to Hampton Court Station
Boat from Westminster Pier (upstream) to Hampton Court Pier
Hours: late-March through late-October
10:00am – 6:00pm Monday through Sunday – last admission 5:00pm
late-October through late-March
10:00am -- 4:30pm Monday through Sunday – last admission 3:30pm
Closed December 24 – 26 inclusive
Entry Fees: Adults – Gate £13.30 / Gardens only £4.60 / Maze only £3.50
Children – Gate £6.65 / Gardens only - free / Maze only £2.50
Family, student and senior rates also available.
To visit Hampton Court Palace is more than just a chance to wander through history. Weather-permitting, it is a wonderful opportunity for a picnic lunch, a wander through a maze or strolls through exquisite gardens.
The palace itself, originally a manor, was acquired in 1514 by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York under Henry VIII. Cardinal Wolsey made enormous changes to the manor and gardens and by the time he died in 1530, the palace contained 1000 rooms!
After the death of Wolsey the palace was expanded even more and rebuilt. Additional expansion and changes, both to the buildings and gardens, were made through the 17th century. In the late 1700’s the palace was modified and redecorated under Queen Anne. By the mid 1800’s the state apartments, gardens and park had been opened to the public by Queen Victoria.
The tours of the palace itself are broken down into 6 sections with the longest section being 45 minutes. Sections available to tour include the Tudor Kitchens, The Queen’s Apartments, the King’s Apartments, the Georgian Rooms, the Tudor Royal Lodgings and the Wolsey Rooms and Renaissance Picture Gallery. You can tour one or all sections as your interests and stamina indicate.
The gardens and grounds include fountains, knot gardens, privy gardens, a maze and acres of serene parkland that are well worth spending some time in. Children can have a good run-around and use up some energy. Or, if you are there with someone you hold dear, you can find some quiet little picturesque spot to share a special moment.
By combining your visit with an afternoon picnic you will truly feel that you have been transported far from the congestion of London! For a truly unique experience, consider taking the train to Hampton Court and the boat back or vice versa.
A short day trip from the centre of London allows visitors to see many unique homes, though none quite as grand Hampton Court. Other examples would be Eastbury Manor House in Barking, Valentine's Mansion in Redbridge, Strawberry Hill House in Richmond, or Forty Hall in Enfield.