Hampton Court Palace Tour

Explore a Tudor palace that reveals the legacy of England’s most infamous of Kings, Henry VIII
From US$967 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3.5 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
Hampton Court
Photos & Highlights
  • Examines the impressive Hampton Court, as well as the history of Henry VIII and other memorable residents
  • Led by a local British historian, visit the Tudor frontage, Great Hall, and huge kitchens
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Tour Description
Hop on a train from London to Hampton Court Palace, and visit the most well-known home of infamous Henry VIII. On this Hampton Court Tour, led by a local British historian, we will both appreciate the opulence and historical significance found throughout the grounds. Together, we will inspect the impressive Tudor frontage, the Great Hall, with its remarkable hammer-beam roof, and the huge kitchens that were once used to cook meals for over 1,000 people. We will also be able to see vestiges of several of Henry VIII's six queens, further informing our understanding of the history of the place—Catherine of Aragon’s symbol, the pomegranate, can be seen above a door frame, Jane Seymour’s arms decorate a ceiling, and it is in the Great Watching Chamber that Catherine Howard’s adultery was announced, leading to her execution.

Hampton Court Tour

 On the tour, while we will discuss Henry VIII and the Tudor palace, we will also discover that there is much more to glean about British history by visiting Hampton Court. We'll start our tour by disembarking the train and crossing the River Thames, where we will discuss the importance of the river to monarchs over the centuries. Upon entering the palace, our discussion will move to how, in 1236, the Knights Hospitallers of St. John Jerusalem acquired the Manor of Hampton and used it as a grange, or center, for their agricultural estates before it was leased in 1508 to Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII’s Chief Minister. Wolsey carried out vast building works and turned the manor into a magnificent palace; as such, we will discuss both his architectural innovations and his life.

" Our guide's knowledge of history kept us all captivated. It felt like reading a book you didn’t want to put down."

A Royal Residence

In the late 1600s, Hampton Court was adopted by the joint monarchs, William III and Mary II. They hired the great Baroque architect Sir Christopher Wren (the subject of our Christopher Wren Churches Tour) to rebuild the King’s and Queen’s Apartments. We will see the rooms that they used for public ceremonies as well as for private moments. while discussing the functions of these rooms and the daily lives of the monarchs who used them.

Royal Opulence

The Prince and Princess of Wales, the future George II and Queen Caroline, also lived at Hampton Court and redecorated the apartments using fashionable architect and interior designer William Kent. On our travels through the apartments, we will also see great works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings and precious sixteenth-century tapestries.

To The Gardens

Then we will move onward to the gardens, where we will discuss the history from the Tudors to today and wander through the many different areas, from the formal gardens to the orchard, from the 200-year-old Great Vine to the Rose Garden, as well as to the site of Henry VIII’s tiltyard where tournaments were held. At the end, if you still have the energy, you might like to get lost in Hampton Court’s famous maze.


Looking for more royal splendor? Try our Tower of London Tour.

FAQ


Is this tour walking-intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? Hampton Court Palace is an historic building and, therefore, has uneven surfaces. We therefore recommend that wheelchair users bring their own wheelchair for comfort and ease. Most of the routes within the palace are accessible to visitors unable to climb stairs as there is a lift to take visitors to the State Apartments on the first floor. Staff and experts will be happy to help. However, many of the staircases are wide and shallow (having been built for William III who was asthmatic).

What if it’s raining? Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.

Can I take pictures? 
Yes, photography and/or filming is permitted in all areas of the palace with the exception of the Chapel Royal, Royal Pew and Cumberland Art Gallery.


Is this tour good for kids?
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly experts who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible expert.
Where You'll Start
(4.83) 118 Reviews

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We were very disappointed with our tour guide. He knew very little detail and read us the signs that were posted.
Our tour and especially Vivienne were amazing. She was INCREDIBLY knowledgable and even inspired us to want to do more research about the Tudors on our own. Cannot recommend her (and Context) high enough.
Wonderful experience. Imogen is knowledgeable and open/responsive to questions. My third Context tour this week (both in Rome and London) and all were amazing. Good company with execptional guides.