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Exploring Hampton Court Palace

Like many, I find something so completely and utterly fascinating about Henry VIII and the Tudor era. The Tudors fascinated me at school when I was young and now as an adult, I am constantly looking things up about them, buying books and wanting to visit places that are in anyway connected to that particular period. Last week Adam and I excitedly took a trip to London to visit Hampton Court Palace - a royal palace that once belonged and was home to King Henry VIII. 

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace


Hampton Court Palace was first built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1515. He was a favourite of King Henry's until he later fell from power and when he did Henry seized the palace for himself. In the following century, huge amounts of work was done to the palace and lots of the Tudor palace was destroyed. Thankfully however, work was ceased early leaving some of the Tudor palace still in place.

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

I'd never visited Hampton Court Palace before so I was beyond excited to go and visit. For me, there's  just something about being in the same place as a Tudor King and his Queens once lived that I find so enthralling. I was most looking forward to visiting the Great Hall - a grand hall that was designed by Henry and his second wife Anne Boleyn, it would have been the most important room in the palace during the Tudor era - a place to dine and to entertain. As I walked in, it really did take my breath away - it's so hard to get across in a photograph just how impressive the hall is. Impressive because it's grand and magnificent but also because it's amazing to think about what those walls have seen over the years and who has been inside of them.

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

A striking image of King Henry VIII in this beautiful stain glassed window in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace. 


Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace
Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

Some interesting things to look out for in the Great Hall include Queen Anne Bolyen's and King Henry's initials etched together in a carving in the woodwork, as well as the eavesdroppers in the ceilings who would likely have been added as a way for Henry, as a sometimes paranoid king, to tell his court that he always had people that could see and hear them.

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace
 Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

The Tudor astronomical clock was made for Henry VIII and still functions showing the time of the day, phases of the moon, the month, the quarter of the year, the date and the sun and star sign. The gate below is known as Anne Bolyen's gate today.  The seal below the windows beneath the clock belonged to Cardinal Wolsey.

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor PalaceHampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

You can't beat a Tudor wall with an image of King Henry VIII can you?!

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

The royal paintings at Hampton Court Palace are incredible!

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

Because of work that took place, but then eventually ceased before all of the Tudor rooms could be destroyed, the palace is split between eras and phases of development - the Tudor era and the Georgian era. I obviously preferred looking at the Tudor rooms in the palace, but it was also still really interesting to see the Georgian side of the palace too. One thing that really stuck me was how small things like the beds were, not on height obviously, but in length) and of course how small the doorways are too. 

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

Another part of the palace I was so looking forward to seeing was the Tudor kitchens. The meat roasting fire place is the original Tudor fire place and would have been used to cook for King Henry, his Queen and his Court. 

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor PalaceHampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

Wherever you turn at Hampton Court Palace, you are presented with the most magnificent and grand views. Another thing I loved seeing was the royal tennis courts that King Henry added and played in. Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture but I did capture some footage of the court on my video from our day which I've embedded below. 

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace

We didn't get to see much of the gardens as quite honestly it was really too hot to be outside and we couldnt stand the heat, but as you'd imagine they looked amazing and there was a fun maze to go round too. 

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, King Henry VIII, Henry VIII, Henry Tudor, The Tudors, Tudor Palace


We had such a wonderful day at Hampton Court Palace, our tickets were booked via SuperBreak.com who allow you to book every element of your trip in one simple place; 2-5 star hotels, rail travel, Eurostar, flights and mini-cruises, plus all the little extras, so a huge thank you to them for working with us and providing us with the tickets to visit Hampton Court Palace. You can check out their attractions webpage here. And we'd also like to say a big thank you to Adam's Mum (my MIL) for looking after our boys for us so that we could go and enjoy the day together as a couple. :)


Have you been to Hampton Court Palace before? Are you also in to royal history and explroring historic royal places?


 Thanks for reading. Alex xo


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5 comments

  1. Ah I went here as a child, I love doing stuff like this! Looks like you had a fab time x

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  2. Aw I know how much you love the Tudors so can imagine how fab it was! Nice to have couple time as well xx

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  3. Ah this looks amazing, some really interesting facts too! xx

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  4. Hampton Court Palace is just up the road from me - love it there. I also am a bit of a history buff and find all things Henry VIII fascinating! You had some fab weather for exploring too :)

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  5. Wow what a beautiful place and such gorgeous photos! I've never been to Hampton Court Palace before, but reading this post and seeing your photos has really made me want to check it out now :)

    Jenny xx

    www.jaffacat.co.uk

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