“Two beheadings out of six wives is too many”
– Henry VIII
What are you doing today? Nothing? Good… Jump on a train and head to Hampton Court!
A day trip to Hampton Court is a great way to spend the day getting lost in history and culture. It is not hard to get to and fairly inexpensive to gain access to this great palace, so jump on the train, get ready to learn and mind your head!
How to get there and cost
Hampton Court is easy to get to by tube and bus or tube and overground. If you want to travel by tube, jump on the District Line (that’s the green one if you haven’t figured the names out yet!) to Richmond. Once you arrive at the station, walk out front and catch the R68 to Hampton Court. This will take you directly in front of the palace but it takes about 45 minutes by bus/tube.
The second option is to take the same District Line to Wimbledon. Here you can catch an overground train which will also stop at Hampton court. This is much faster and will save you almost an hour in travel!
Here is a little tip: Look around the tube/train station for the Oyster Readers that are Pink. They are inside the station and as long as you do not get off or on in Zone 1, your fare will be reduced.
*There is one last way to get there if you have an insane amount of free time and money, by water. You can jump on (seasonally) the water taxi’s along the river and ride them out to Hampton court. I have not done this yet and am told it can take several hours.*
Once you arrive at the palace, follow the signs to the ticket office. Tickets for students are £16 and that will get you access to everything and an audio tour (it is essential to get one unless you are an expert).
What to do
Once you are inside the palace is yours to roam free. There are so many things to see that it is best to just start at left of the palace and work to the other side. If you follow the signs and audio guide, you will start in the kitchens. If you get there early enough you will be able to see an actual meat spit and fire in operation. The meat is real and you can eat it in the cafe once they start serving! Try it! The kitchens were built around meat and all things meat related… so try some if they have it available.
Follow the tour through into the apartments where they have actors staging different events in the palace. They give real speeches from actual period documents and they are really interesting and fun. Once you have seen all things Henry and the whole left side, move along to the opposite side where you will learn about William III and the other half of the palace.
Once you finish, the massive gardens, hedge maze, and “The Vine” are there for you to explore. The vine is a world record plant that still produces grapes. You can purchase them in the late summer/early fall in the shops.
Food and drink
The palace has a number of cafes. You can grab seasonal food in the Tiltyard Cafe or afternoon tea in the Privy Kitchen or Fountain Court Cafe. However, I will say that you should pack your own lunch and have a picnic in the massive garden to the back of the palace! It is amazing to sit in the shadow of the palace and enjoy lunch on a nice day. If you do eat at one of the places at the palace, the menus change seasonally and depend on what is available, so there is always something fresh and good.
Read this story and other posts on Nick’s personal blog