Well Planned Travel

Day Trips from London: Hampton Court

An easy way to get out of London and see a true palace is to go to Hampton Court.  Hampton Court was built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey between 1514 and 1525.  Cardinal Wolsey was Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor which was the king's chief adviser.  He got very rich doing this as well as leading the church in England and built a very lavish palace at Hampton Court.  But he failed at securing Henry VIII's annulment from Catherine of Aragon, fell out of favor and was charged with treason.  Because of this, he "gave" the palace to Henry VIII and it became his palace and where he held court.  Starting with Henry VIII and continuing on through George II who died in 1760, it was the home of the Kings and Queens of England.  Each added on to the Palace and you can really see all of the different styles and periods of the royalty.
Hampton Court, an easy day trip from London

Hampton Court, an easy day trip from London

Getting There and Back Getting to Hampton Court is easy.  There is a direct train from London Waterloo that takes about 35 minutes.  It leaves every half hour and is offered by South West Trains.  A different way to get back to London is to take the River Boat as Hampton Court is right on the Thames.  Taking the river boat all the way to London can take four hours, so I recommend taking the boat from Hampton Court to Kingston on the Thames.  Operated by the riverboat company Turks it is a 35 minute ride to Kingston on the Thames.  Kingston is a great town to walk  around in.  There is great shopping, it is very historic, a great river walk, good food and markets.  In Kingston, there is a nice train station and it is a half hour train ride back to London.
A good way to get back to London is by going on a riverboat.

A good way to get back to London is by going on a riverboat.

Seeing the Palace Because Hampton Court was used for so long and added on to by so many Royals, you really get to see many different styles of architecture.  You can really spend all day there exploring the palace.  The Hampton Court website offers a really good trip planner based on what you want to see.  I recommend researching this before you go and printing out maps.  The must see list has to include Henry VIII's Apartments, the Tutor Kitchens, William III's apartments and the Chapel Court and Chapel Royal.  I recommend getting one of the audio guides as well because you really can miss a lot without knowing it.
Walk through history when you tour Hampton Court

Walk through history when you tour Hampton Court

The Gardens The gardens at Hampton Court are unbelievable and you can really spend a lot of time going through them.  There is also a maze that for an extra charge, you can get lost in.  I probably spent more time walking through the gardens than in the actual palace.  Make sure that you print off the different maps and information from The Hampton Court website so that you can best plan your time and see as much of the gardens as you can.  They are worth it and should be on everyone's bucket list if they are interested in gardens.
The Hampton Court gardens are a highlight of the visit.

The Hampton Court gardens are a highlight of the visit.

Look around for many different and interesting statues around the garden.

Look around for many different and interesting statues around the garden.

My favorite is the less formal more cottage style gardens that can be found at Hampton Court.

My favorite is the less formal more cottage style gardens that can be found at Hampton Court.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments and have a good time!