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Hampton Court Palace
- Hampton Court Palace
- Alt Name:
- United Kingdom
- Early Modern (1500AD-1800AD)
- 1500AD - 1599AD
- East Molesey
- Henry VIII of England
- The Tower of London, Banqueting House,
about Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a medieval palace once favoured by Henry VIII which has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison.
The first buildings at what is now Hampton Court Palace belonged to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, a religious order founded in the 11th century. Giles Daubeney, later Lord Chamberlain, leased and then modernised the medieval manor of Hampton Court.
In 1514, Thomas Wolsey, soon to be made cardinal, leased Hampton Court for a period of 99 years. He began rebuilding on a grand scale, converting Hampton Court into a lavish palace.
Wolsey added new private chambers at Hampton Court Palace for his own use, as well as three suites for the new royal family: one each for King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon and their daughter Princess Mary. He also built 40 guest lodgings, each with an outer room and an inner room - and all ensuite with a garderobe (lavatory). This makes Hampton Court Palace sound like the Tudor version of a 21st Century luxury hotel!
Upon the fall of Wolsey, Henry VIII took Hampton Court Palace for himself. Henry set about further renovation of Hampton Court Palace, rebuilding and extending the existing palace, at a cost of over £60,000, rather a lot at the time.
Hampton Court Palace was then the site where some major events in Henry’s life took place: the break with Rome, the birth of his heir, Edward (VI), divorce of Anne of Cleves, and the accusation of adultery and subsequent detention of Catherine Howard.
The palace was used as a country retreat by Edward VI and Mary I. Elizabeth I used it as a venue for diplomacy and Hampton Court Palace was also used by James I, but none of them altered the buildings to any great extent.
Today, Hampton Court Palace is a popular tourist attraction, with visitors able to tour Henry VIII's apartments and the Tudor kitchens as well as its famous maze. Hampton Court Palace's official site has some good suggestions for itineraries.
Amongst its many attractions, Hampton Court Palace is home to a set of medieval “tenys playe” or tennis courts. These courts, then often used by a young Henry VIII and now England’s oldest existing “real” courts can still be seen there today. In fact, they are still actively used.
Just as empires rise and fall so do entry fees and opening hours! While we work as hard as we can to ensure the information provided here about Hampton Court Palace is as accurate as possible, the changing nature of certain elements mean we can't absolutely guarantee that these details won't become a thing of the past. If you know of any information on this page that needs updating you can add a comment above or now.
Address: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU
Phone: +44 (0)20 3166 6000
Trains run from London Waterloo to Hampton Court. There is a connection to the train station at the underground at Wimbledon. Bus routes 111, 216, 411, 451, R68 and 513 are also convenient.
31 Oct-26 March open daily 10am-4:30pm, 27 March-29 Oct open daily 10am-6pm (last ticket sold 1hr before closing, last entry to maze 45 min before closing). Entry costs £15.40 for adults, £7.70 for ages 5-16, £12.65 for full time students and over 60s (valid ID). Under 5s go free. Family/group rates and online booking discounts available.
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