Every English child grows up learning about the tales of Henry VIII, one of the most famous features of English history – his six wives, six divorces, his establishment of the Church of England and the Royal Navy. If you want to dive deeper into the life of one of England’s most powerful and influential historical figures, or even just enjoy admiring spectacular Tudor architecture, then you need to visit Hampton Court palace!
Located in East Molesey, in Surrey, Hampton Court Palace was originally the home of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, King Henry’s chief minister. The palace was given to the King in 1529, when Wolsey was disgraced, and soon became of one his favourite residences where he made the palace even larger and more grand. It’s only one of two surviving palaces in England that were owned by King Henry!
Hampton Court is so magnificent in fact, that it has been used as a filming location for a variety of famous films. It appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as ‘St James Palace’, where Jack Sparrow was taken on a surprise visit to have an audience with the King. It also appeared in the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything, where it’s gardens acted as a stand in for the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Now you must be sold! At Hampton Court Palace, you can immerse yourself in Renaissance luxury. You’ll get a first hand look at where and how King Henry VIII spent his days, and the lives of his courtiers and family by encountering real, costumed characters played by trained actors. Explore the haunted gallery to hear the tragic tale of his beheaded fifth wife, where it is said her soul still roams the palace! Admire the splendour of the Tudor court at the Great Hall and the state rooms, where upon entering you’ll see the spectacular craftsmanship of the hammerbeam roof, the grand tapestries that adorn the walls, and the engraved letters of H and A that remain from Anne Boleyn’s time as the Queen.
Make sure you take the time for a relaxing stroll in the beautiful gardens and parklands too! The 60 acres of gardens, and 750 acres of parkland, are set in a scenic loop of the River Thames, and are a fantastic place to see all year round – see the great vine grapes towards the end of the summer, the striking colours of autumn in the Tiltyard and the amazing sight of Deers rutting in the parklands. Watch the gardens come to life in spring, as over one million flowers dot the gardens with an explosion of colours.
These are just a few things you can experience at this historical landmark – head to their website now to book your tickets!