River Thames and boaty things



Hampton Court is one of our favourite places to visit on the River Thames. For the boater it has the advantage of free moorings right outside, although these fill up very quickly in the height of the summer season. For visitors who are staying in London, Hampton Court can be reached by a pleasant boat trip from Westminster, Richmond or Kingston.Alternatively, there are frequent bus and train services.

It was Cardinal Wolsey, Henry V111's chief minister who first commissioned this sumptuous palace to be built in the early part of the 16th century. However when he lost his position and ultimately his life, the King took over and extended several sections of the building.

There were few additions during the Stuart period. The greatest changes took place during the reign of William andMary in the late 17th Century. Sadly neither had much time to enjoy their efforts as Mary died of smallpox in 1694 and following a fall from a horse in 1702, William also died.

It is easy to spend a whole day here.There is so much to see. At our last visit one of the exhibits we enjoyed themost was the tour of the Tudor Kitchens. This is enhanced by the use of a cassette and earphones audio guide.(In English, French and German). It did help to get the most out of the visit.

We've also joined the Gardens tour led by one of the Palaces gardeners who gave us a real insight into the development and maintenance of the wonderful gardens.We admired the Great Vine which was planted in the early 1800s, but gave the popular Maze a miss, not being sure whether we'd ever make it out again.

For anyone who enjoys English history and loves exploring a variety of interesting rooms as well as wandering around acres of splendid gardens, this is one place not to miss.

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