At his time of death in 1547, King Henry VIII had over 60 houses in his name, but during his later years, none of them were as important or as magnificently decorated as Hampton Court Palace.
Today, Hampton Court Palace makes a great place to visit for tourists and London locals alike for its fascinating historical significance and beautifully manicured gardens. The Palace is hugely popular every week as people flock to the grounds, eager to watch history come alive. If you make time for any attractions in the South East this season, make it this one.
During summer, the palace is open every day of the week from 10:00 till 18:00, and hosts a variety of events and activities to get involved with during your visit. Here are a few you should mark in your diary for this summer break.
The Luna Cinema
The Luna Cinema shows classic films outside at night. Their quoted formula is “a classic film on a big screen in a beautiful or prestigious setting”, and this August, they’re playing at Hampton Court Palace. They use state of the art equipment to provide a truly magical cinematic experience beneath the stars. Don’t miss out this summer on a fantastic opportunity to experience the Luna Cinema on the 12th and the 13th of August.
BBC Good Food Festival
For three exciting days over the Bank Holiday weekend on the 27th– 29th of August, Hampton Court Palace will play host to the third BBC Good Food Festival to date. There you can enjoy a variety of tasty artisan producers, a fantastic line up of cooks and chefs, summer entertainment, family friendly fun, and live music. The stunning backdrop of Hampton Court Palace makes this an unmissable event.
Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair
On the 16th and 18th of September, Kirstie’s handmade fair returns to the Palace. The Fair draws its inspiration from big names like Annie Sloan, Liz Earle, and Patrick Grant. Try everything from lino cutting to gliding in the Skills workshop, shop for unique, handcrafted gifts from over 250 sellers, buy crafts to make your own, and sample delicious homemade food and drink.
However, if you can’t make any of these dates, Hampton Court makes a fantastic attraction when it’s not hosting events, too. Take a look at some of the things the Palace has to offer below.
The Magic Garden
Hampton Court’s new interactive play garden is an exciting opportunity for families to bond over exploring its resident mythical beasts, towers, battlements, and even a hidden grotto. It’s also a unique way to explore the palaces illustrious past, built within King Henry’s former tiltyard in which extravagant Tudor tournaments played out and jousts were held. The Magic Garden takes its inspiration from the “fairy tale” quality to the Palace and the Tudor era, to appeal to its young visitors. The garden is set to host evening talks with renowned historians, gardeners, writers, and curators in which you can join them in exploring the compelling effect of the idyllic garden.
Check out their promo video: https://youtu.be/09LQxRewbVA
The Largest Kitchens of Tudor England
Visit the largest kitchens of Tudor England at Hampton Court and be transported back to the height of royal cookery. Built to feed both the king and his entire court, these kitchens had to feed 600 people, (at least), twice a day. This required a vast operation, larger than a modern hotel, in order to achieve this, and one that had to do without the conveniences of today. The kitchens were a central part of palace life, and no wonder when King Henry VIII is so heavily associated with food. It’s still a very popular part of the palace for people to visit, especially when it hosts live Tudor cookery events in which you are able to watch historical chefs prepare feasts fit for a king. This opportunity is available to watch every day until the 30th of September so make sure you don’t miss it!
If you can’t make it, give Tudor cooking a try at home with their cook-along videos: https://goo.gl/TXxb8G
The Great Vine
Planted back in 1768, the great vine in Hampton Court Palace holds the title as the largest grape vine in the world. Over 240 years old, Capability Brown himself directed its construction owed to a cutting taken from Valentines Mansion in Essex. The Great Vine has a long and fascinating history, with its grapes enjoyed in the royal household by Queen Victoria, and the vine famously thinned out during World War II by German prisoners of War. Just one of the many highlights in the gardens of Hampton Court, the vine is a must see.
‘It is the most famous Maze in the history of the world, and immeasurably the one most visited.’ (Ernest Law, 1926)
Commissioned by William the Third and designed by Henry Wise & George London, the UK’s oldest surviving hedge maze covers one third of an acre and is trapezoid in shape, delighting and confusing all who brave it. It was particularly popular amongst court members for its secluded benches and winding paths, perfect for entertaining secret trysts. Today it still provides entertainment for hours as visitors try to find their way around it.
These are just some of the reasons to visit Hampton Court Palace this season so make sure you check it out during the summer break!
Why not turn it into a summer holiday by staying at Gable End during your visit to the Palace? A beautiful historic attraction in its own right, Gable End guest house is set in a characterful Edwardian house and has been welcoming holidaymakers since 1995. Enjoy a warm Irish welcome and a complimentary full English breakfast when you choose us for your mini break.