Up Close And Personal With Hampton Court Palace

London’s countryside is a dream-like setting, and within this, you will find several picturesque houses and mansions resonance of the artistic flairs of various Lords and Dukes which once graced the setting with their presence. If you are staying in hotels like Park Grand London Heathrow Hotel or any other, it will become the perfect base for you to explore these elegant locations without spending much time on the commute.

While you know some of the known palaces of the city like Kensington and Buckingham Palace, head southwest of London to its north bank and discover another well-known gem from the past, Historic Hampton Court Palace lying on the bank of River Thames.

A Little History

Known to be the private residence of Cardinal Wolsey built in the year 1514, Hampton Court Palace was later presented to Henry VII to secure the favor of the reigning monarch. The palace was also the residence to five of the six of wives of Henry. Story goes that, the ghosts of third and the fifth, Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard still haunts the residence. It used to be the favorite residence of Elizabeth I and this is where she used to stay when news broke of the defeat of Spanish Armada. Next residence of this palace was Charles I that lived here both as Oliver Cromwell’s prisoner and as prisoner.

The place became a thing of attractions and rejoices after it was opened to public during the reign of Queen Victoria and by that time it was not a royal residence although, parts of it were occupied by individuals granted “grace and favor” apartments by the monarch.

At present, it is wonderful place to spend a day and indulges in the history of the Palace. There are also numerous fun things to do in here as well like celebrating festivals, enjoying royal feasts, fishing, flower shows, overnight stays and also bicycle tours.

Let’s get to know the things about Hampton Court Palace before visiting the place for a better understanding. You can stay at Hotel near Hampton Court Palace if you want a closer look.

Henry VIII’s Apartments And The Great Hall

No matter what tour you are taking to Hampton Court Palace, the State Apartments stays the highlight of this venue. Begin your visit with the Buttery that has the films depicting the dramatic lives and deaths of Henry VIII’s WIVES. Next, move to the surviving sections comprising of a Great Hall and a Great Watching Chamber. Apart from these two rooms, there is also the Processional route linking rooms and King’s Council Chamber. Amongst all, the Great Hall is the place to linger for the moment.

It is not only the surviving and the greatest medieval hall of England but, also the most famous theater of the country. It also hosted Shakespeare’s company in the year 1603.

The Apartments Of William III

These are the apartments for King William III which was designed by none other than Christopher Wren and decorated all through with delicate and beautiful wood carvings. The craftsmanship belonged to the 17th-century master craftsman Grinling Gibbons. You will find an opulent Great Bedchamber in the State Apartments. However, this is not where the King used to sleep but rather used to get dressed in the presence of his courtiers.

Downstairs you will find William III’s Private Apartments. These rooms are more livable and display some personal collections of favorite art of the King. The apartments of Mary II was also shared by George II’s wife, Queen Caroline and so they were all restored between 1716 and 1737.

The Chapel Royal

The Chapel is in continuous use for more than 450 years, and the breathtaking ti9mber along with the plaster ceiling will blow your mind with a little reminder of it being the finest example of Tudor interior decoration to the palace. The Royal Pew inside the chapel holds the replica of King Henry’s Crown of State whose original was melted down by Cromwell. The visitors are allowed to attend the Sunday services in this chapel inside Hampton Court Palace.

Tudor Kitchen And Cellar Of The Palace

Step inside the vast medieval kitchen and cellars at Hampton Court Palace which will give you a fascinating insight into the logistics and procedures of preparing a meal and feed the 600 members of the court of this palace that dined twice daily.

The kitchen was built in the year 1530 and was a central part of the palace which employed numerous staff and of course Master Cooks. Visit the newly discovered 18th-century Chocolate Kitchen that has its original equipment and braziers. The kitchen holds fun dining events that you can be a part of. The guests can try the traditional dishes prepared in the kitchen.

The Clock Court

T5he centerpiece of the Hampton Court is the Clock Court. It is home to the astounding astronomical clock made by Henry VIII in the year 1540. It is connected to a set of three bells in Belfry, oldest of which dates back to 1478. It was presented to Cardinal Wolsey by the Knights of St. John.

The Royal Gardens

Get yourself plenty of time and explore the 60-acre grounds of the palace’s Privy Garden, the Elizabeth Knot Garden, the Pond Garden, the Wilderness and lastly, the Broad Walk. Mid-May is the perfect time to visit the gardens when the flowers are in full bloom. The place of interest here is also the Great Vine, it is the largest grape vine in the world which is more than 200 years old. It still produces fruit. For Mantegna’s masterpiece, The Triumph of Caesar you must also visit the Lower Orangery.

The Maze

The Maze is one of those rarest moments in your life when you will not mind to get lost in England. It was planted in the year 1689 and covers  a third of an acre. It is a trapezoid maze containing half a mile paths separated by thick hedges too tall to see through or over.

These are some aspects from the entire palace which you need to visit when in London.

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Related posts:

  1. The Imperial Kensington Palace
  2. Buckingham Palace Tour: Summer Opening 2016
  3. Alexandra Palace: History and the Least-Known Facts
  4. Lost Royal Palaces of London
  5. Westminster Palace – A must see for tourists

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