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The tale of two palace's
Hampton Court Palace (Surrey)
Member Name: valentino1706
Hampton Court Palace (Surrey)
Date: 05/04/10, updated on 05/04/10 (52 review reads)
Advantages: 3 for the price of one, cheap, free audio guide
Disadvantages: Mainly outside or unheated.
Hampden Court Palace, a tale of two palace's, two era's and a world of history.
HCP is easily accessible being a very short (5 mins max) from Hampden Court station which is a short hop from waterloo, various other bus journeys can be used and there is also car parking.
Unlike some of the more modern lived in palaces (e.g. Buckingham) HCP throws you back into the real history of the royals. The palace visible as you walk up the drive is only half the story though as the 1400's palace inhabited by Henry VIII was rebuilt (major additions) in the late 1600's with much baroque influenced architecture. In addition to these two palaces are the beautiful gardens so a visit to HCP is a great Triple Whammy in one.
What's on offer?
For the reasonable price of £14 (£13 if purchased online in advance) you gain entry to the palace and gardens, access to all the exhibitions and free audio guide.
The main tour leads you a true behind the scenes journey through the working of the Tudor palace, from the kitchens, to dining, money keeping and accounting to the tudor staterooms and hall of mistresses. The impressive chapel shows the distinction between royals and staff and the tapestry's adorning the walls show the effort and time put in by the 'common man' at royal request. Amazing for the time.
You then move on to the new baroque 'white' palace, built to the side of the main courtyard and much more picturesque. The extravagant rooms and expensive portraits gives a much more personal journey through the lives of the royal residents and the scandals effecting their lives.
The gardens are delightful and the largest grapevine in the world is an impressive side show in the greenhouse.
In all you could quite easily spend 4-5 hours strolling around HCP and the audio guides do their best to give your visit some direction. One note of caution is to make sure you are wrapped up warm or it's a sunny day as it's mostly outside of unheated (being a C15th Palace what do you expect). The history is compelling, the exhibitions enticing and the live actors add to a fantastic all round atmosphere that will have you thinking you have gone back to the times themselves.
Summary: A great days entertainment for all the family with a wealth of history
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