Hampton Court Palace has been a absolute must see of mine ever since I did a project on Henry VII in year five and became very intrigued into his and his six wives lives. And let me tell you visiting the palace did not disappoint. I have walked the very same footsteps of a former King and Queen and that alone amazes me.
Standing on the River Thames, Hampton Court is a story of two palaces; a Tudor palace, magnificently developed by Carinal Wolsey and later Henry VIII, alongside a baroque palace built by Sir Christopher Wren for William III and Mary II.
Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many nationally important events.The original palace was built in 1515-1521 by Wolsey who spent lavishly to build the finest palace in England but it soon caught the attention of Henry VIII who took of six of his wives to reside. Wolsey was then later force to give the palace to Henry as he failed to secure his divorce from Katherine of Argon. Queen Victoria opened the palace to the public in 1838, where it has remained a magnet for millions of visitors, drawn to the grandeur, the ghosts and the fabulous art collection.
Here are some of my favourite spots of Hampton Court;
Upon entering the Grand Hall, I was instantly taken back by the sheer beauty of the hammer beam ceiling surrounded by stained glass windows. In order to accommodate his Court, Henry quadrupled the size of the kitchens and added the Great Hall, which was the last medieval great hall built for the English monarchy.
When Anne Boleyn was beheaded, all signs of her were removed from the Great Hall but one was missed; on the left wall of the entrance to the Great Hall are the initials A and H intertwined and engraved into the dark oak panels.
The striking blue and gold ceiling is the dominant feature of the Chapel Royal, the heart of the palace.
This is the church where the son, Edward the only male heir of Henry VII and Jane Seymour, was baptized three days after his birth. Just ten days later the church the held the funeral of Jane, Henry’s third wife.
This place is truly one of my favourite places within the palace. The gentle glow of candles flickering in the background with the sweet sound of the organ being played and the absolute silence where you could hear a pin drop; its the definition of bliss and so peaceful. I could sit there for hours, admiring the beautiful craftsmanship.
The Royal Gardens
Now for my ultimate favourite, the Royal Gardens, all 12 of them from the Great Fountain Garden, the Privy (private) Garden, the Great Vine to the Rose Garden. I was in my element strolling around the grounds, but slightly gutted that I missed the horse and cart tour of the gardens. Never the less I still enjoyed the stunning surroundings.
Hampton Court’s Palace’s world-famous gardens include 60 acres of spectacular formal gardens and 750 acres of tranquil of royal parkland all set within a loop of the River Thames. The gardens are home to the world’s oldest puzzle maze, a record-breaking grape vine, 3 national plant collections, sparkling fountains, glorious displays of over 1 million flowering bulbs in the Wilderness and a huge variety of wildlife, including descendants of Henry VIII’s deer herd.
A picture speaks a thousand words, much more than any description that I can give.