What is Hampton Court Palace Castle grounds & gardens UK like now it has reopened with Covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Hampton Court Palace Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.
We look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference (but they were always reasonable value to begin with).
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Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).
Time codes to the Video:
0:36 Shortcut to Magic Garden Kids Playground & Tips
1:50 Palace Grounds, Café
2:13 Main Entrance and West Gatte
2:35 Henry VIII’s Apartments
3:00 Georgian Story
3:37 Fountain Court
3:53 William III’s Apartments
4:10 Clock Court
4:35 Base Court
4:52 Henry VIII’s Kitchens
5:15 Hampton Court Palace Weddings
5:35 East Front and Gardens
6:55 Privy Garden
7:30 Pond Gardens
8:22 Wilderness Garden
9:00 Hampton Court Palace. Is it worth it?
Transcript from the Show
G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is Hampton Court Palace Castle UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Hampton Court Palace Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.
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We spent the day at Hampton Court Palace Castle UK August 3rd, 2020 – 4 weeks after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines and we’ll give you a sense of if Hampton Court Palace Castle is worth visiting. On the screen you can see the names of different attractions pop up as we go past them.
The Magic Garden Kids Playground
We arrived at 10am when the kids playground, called the Magic Garden opened. From the carpark if you hang a left, you can get in the side entrance so you don’t have to go all the way through the Palace grounds to get to it.
First thing in the morning, other people have had the same idea so they give you wrist bands and a 90 minute time slot. After our session was done, we came back later in the day and could get straight in. It wasn’t super busy and might be the best kept secret.
The playground itself is really well done and naturally the kids love it and happily spent hours here. It does have a water springing up from down low so worthwhile bringing a towel and change of clothes for the kids if the day is warm. Compared to peak season last year, this has a fraction the number of people, really pleasant and easy to get tables and chairs.
The vast majority of it was open although the shop was closed, and the drinking water fountains turned off. So you are going to need to bring your own food and drink if you get hungry.
So after our 90 minutes we ended up leaving. With hindsight we probably could have stayed if we wanted as no one was chasing you out. Notice in general throughout the video how few people there are wondering around. The Palace and grounds are considerable but again, compared with last years peak season, nowhere near the numbers of people walking around.
As with most places at the moment, you have to pre book tickets and we didn’t have any problems with that. We’d previously gotten an annual pass that also includes the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Hillsbourgh Castle and Gardens. So if you go two attractions, it is cheaper than paying individually and really good value.
Main Entrance and West Gate
Here is the main pathway leading up to the West Gate Entrance. The main entrance, slightly to the left, is closed as in general they have a one way loop throughout Hampton Court Palace Castle and grounds. With your pre booked tickets, it was straight through, Leeds Castle could take some pointers from this.
There is hardly anyone here, it’s a nice day during summer school holidays, its really surprising!
Henry VIII’s Apartments
So we head on into Henry VIII’s apartments. Hampton Court Palace Castle is huge and sprawling. In a sec we’ll go into the Royal Chapel, which still functions, so there is no filming for it or King Henry VIII’s crown, that is also here on display.
These rooms all look out onto Fountain court, named so for obvious reasons. Later in the video we’ll be in the courtyard. We are now in the Georgian Story part of the Palace which dates from 1714 to 1737. This is the Public Dining room. So all this area relates to Geroge II and Quuen Caroline when they lived here 300 years ago.
This overlooks the Great Fountain Garden… any ideas as to why it was named that?!
Next into the State Bed and the Queens Gallery. Architect William Kent was employed to design new furnishings and decor including the Queen’s Staircase, in 1733.
And here is Fountain Court from the lower level. The architectural detailing is really quite impressive. The Fountain Court was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the same guy who did St Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of London.
William III’s Apartments
From here we head on over to the area called William III’s apartments. We take the Queen’s Staircase up to the first floor and head into the Communication Gallery. These were for the time period of 1689 to 1702.
And down the King’s Staircase which obviously has to be grandeur than the Queen’s version, with every surface imaginable painted.
From here out to the Clock Court. On the upper left is the Clock, which as I numpty I made sure I filmed so you couldn’t see it properly. This astronomical clock was installed in 1540 and designed by Nicholas Crazter. This is a pre-Copernican and Pre-Galilean Astronomical clock that is still functioning today.
Next we head on back to the Base Court which is where you come in when you first come through the West Gate.
Base Court contains elements of Wolsey’s original palace and Henry VIII’s embellishments, alongside further Baroque additions by Christopher Wren and later alterations. Base Court contained 44 lodgings reserved for guests, while the second court, Clock Court today contained the very best rooms.
Next we head on through the gift shop into Henry VIII’s Kitchens, it is really awkward now to find. Usually you’d enter these from the Main Entrance but with that closed, they are very easy to miss.
Back into the centre of Clock Court where you can see The Colonnade, those white columns. And continuing numptiness I manage to go under the astronomical clock we spoke about a little earlier.
Hampton Court Palace Weddings
As you’d expect, Hampton Court Place does weddings. This can be done in the Garden Room and takes about 180 guests. There is also the Little Banqueting House which is smaller and takes up to 50 guests. Naturally Hampton Court Palace allow the use of various staircases and grounds for backdrop to wedding photos etc.
Now we are heading through the Fountain Court to the East Front and Gardens. We’ll head up one of the tracks towards the North Canal, pass down to The Long Water, along the South Canal, back to the East Front entrance.
There are numerous birds near the North Canal and on the other side, you can see all the fences to the palace.
This looks up what is called The Long Water. Spinning around we see The Great Fountain.
Where is Hampton Court Palace Located?
Hampton Court Palace is located 12 miles south west of central London and upstream of central London on the Thames River.
When was Hampton Court Palace Built?
Building work started in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of Henry VIII. In 1529 the Cardinal fell out of favour from the king so gave the Palace to Henry VIII to check his disgrace. Henry VIII enlarged Hampton Court Palace to be able to accommodate his sizeable retuinue of courtiers.
Who Currently owns Hampton Court Palace?
The Palace is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth II and the Crown.
King William III has a massive building and expansion program so the Palace could rival that of the Palace of Versailles. Work finished in 1694 with 2 main building styles showing – that of Tudor and Baroque.
The Privy Garden
We now head into the privy, or private, garden. This has existed on the south side of Hampton Court Palace since the reign of Henry VIII. Further down are elaborate fence and gate decoration that lead straight onto the river Thames. One can imagine that back in the day, it was used for travelling to and from central London.
The Privy Garden today is a restoration of William III’s baroque Privy Garden of 1702. The gardeners have restored the grounds using the original plant varieties and the hornbeam bower and statues were all part of the King’s original design.
This is now the pond gardens where originally fish ponds made for Henry VIII. In the 1690s, Mary II transformed the Tudor pond yards into sunken gardens to display her rare and exotic plant collection.
In the early 20th century, gardeners created the Dutch-style garden that we see today with its tiered paths, topiary hedges, statues and bedding.
The Privy Garden at Hampton Court is one of the most accurately reconstructed gardens because so much was recorded about the original in 1702.
William III died before the garden was completely finished, which meant all the gardeners and workmen were frightened of not being paid. They therefore submitted the fullest possible accounts of their work.
William III and Mary II created the Great Fountain Garden on the East Front. It contained 13 fountains and planted two radiating avenues of Yew trees in the fashionable form of a goose foot.
Heading into the wilderness area, originally it was a Tudor orchard filled with pear, apple and cherry trees. In the 1950s many of the elm trees succumbed to Dutch elm disease and were removed.
Now heading out to the carpark which is charged at £1.60 an hour. Really do hate these rip off car parks. Creates a bottle neck for people leaving. Just include it in the price of admission and make everyone’s life simple. Never understand why attractions want peoples last memory to be a frustrating parking meter experience. The parking meter wouldn’t print the receipt so if ever get a ticket in the future, going to be a nightmare to deal with.
So is Hampton Court Palace still worth a day out?
Absolutely! Think at this point in time it could be the best kept secret. Most of it is open although the small art gallery with some serious old masters is closed – they really need to sort that out as it is such a shame. The maze is also closed. Obviously I’m not a fan of the carpark stupidity when it comes to the extortionate hourly rate. Very few people were wearing face masks.
We went on a day where they had 50% off eating out in August but the café staff had little clue how to implement this, so hopefully this gets better.
I was talking with staff and they have said ever since it has reopened it has been like this with low visitor numbers, weekends are the same with low numbers, and you could tell they were concerned. Like many places, take advantage while you can. This isn’t sustainable. Either attractions like this are going to have to seriously close, or prices are going to have to increase dramatically as the running costs either way are huge.
Would you go? If you’ve been, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below.
What are other castles like post lockdown, how do they compare? Recently we’ve done similar videos on Leeds Castle, Hever Castle and LEGOLAND Windsor UK as to what they are like post lockdown. Or check out our sponsors accommodation on the Kent Coast, just a bit over an hour East of London for a great weekend getaway or holiday.
That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, hit that thumbs up if you found something useful in this video and thanks for watching. Until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.
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