Hampton Court Palace

I had wanted to visit Hampton Court Palace for years. As a Tudor lover, I felt that the palatial home of Cardinal Wolsey was a must see. I had a few free tickets so cajoled Bridie into coming on a day trip.

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Historic Royal Palaces are great at putting on re-enactments and pop up talks or tours. There was one on beds that was recommended to me but it only happened on certain days of the week so I missed out. So I would recommend looking up what is on before you go to make sure you make the most of your visit.

When you get your ticket you are handed a series of beautifully designed maps to help design your plan for the day. There are different routes based on historical periods/themes so you can tailor your day to your interests.

We started the day with a tour of the gardens by a volunteer. This too had been recommended but I have no idea why, it was painfully bad. The woman was just faffing about with her folder of notes for the entire time. It was supposed to last an hour but by 30 minutes we had not moved so Bridie and I made a quick exit.

It is such a shame because the gardens are phenomenal and I would have loved to know a bit more about them.

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The Tudor kitchens are amazing. With a roaring fire and impressively realistic food laid out, you really get an idea what it was like in the sixteenth century.

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The rest of the palace is wonderful. However after visiting places like Windsor castle, it does seem lacking in original material whether it is just wall hangings or furniture. But the amount of effort put into making everything more understandable makes up for it.

It is almost at it’s end but the current exhibition is on the Georgians and it comes with a ‘scratch and smell’ map which Bridie and I got very excited about (even though they all began to smell the same, and that is not a pleasant smell).

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Bridie and I made our day even better by taking full advantage of the catering facilities which are plentiful. We had lamb tagine when we first arrived which was divine. Later in the day we had afternoon tea, and I don’t think it could have been more perfect; drinking tea and eating cake whilst surrounded by so much history.

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Hampton Court Palace is certainly more tailored to those who don’t know as much about the sixteenth century but is lots of fun and well worth a visit. If you’re lucky you might even see the big guy Henry walking around.

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