Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace Maze
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Hampton Court Palace information
Built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1514 but coaxed from him by Henry VIII just before Wolsey (as chancellor) fell from favour, Hampton Court Palace is England's largest and grandest Tudor structure. It was already one of the most sophisticated palaces in Europe when, in the 17th century, Christopher Wren designed an extension. The result is a beautiful blend of Tudor and 'restrained baroque' architecture. You could easily spend a day exploring the palace and its 24 hectares of riverside gardens, including a 300-year-old maze.
Take a themed tour led by costumed historians or, if you're in a rush, visit the highlights: Henry VIII's State Apartments , including the Great Hall with its spectacular hammer-beamed roof; the Tudor Kitchens , staffed by 'servants'; the Wolsey Closet ; the Chapel Royal ; William III's & Mary II's Apartments , the King's Staircase and the Chocolate Kitchens ; Mantegna's The Triumphs of Caesar ; the restored and recently opened Cumberland Art Gallery off Clock Court; and the magnificent gardens, including the Kitchen Garden and getting lost in the maze.
Hampton Court is 13 miles southwest of central London and is easily reached by train from Waterloo. Alternatively, the riverboats that head from Westminster to Kew continue here (single adult/child £15/7.50, three hours).