Hampton Court: Visit Henry’s Home

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Don’t leave your family out in the cold trying to get into Buckingham Palace. Opt instead for Hampton Court, the royal palace of Henry VIII. Not only is this ancient castle–parts of it date back to the early 1500s–a much larger destination for your next family day adventure, but you get access to almost all of it. Spanning dozens upon dozens of acres, the red bricks of the Tudor-style palace are charmingly weathered with history. Since history is best served with a side of drama, make arrangements to tag along on one of the costumed tours. You and the family will follow Sir Thomas Culpepper, one of Henry’s consorts whose dalliances with Queen Catherine Howard earned the both of them a quick trip to the picturesque palace gibbet (yes, the tour makes a stop there). Sir Thomas, Henry, and Catherine are all dutifully portrayed in full costume, and luckily for the youngest ones in your group, the gory details are kept to a family-friendly minimum. You’ll pass through all the facets of a large palace – the great hall, galleries, privy gardens – before you’re even halfway done with the tour. For a breath of fresh air, let the kids dash around the gravel gardens – once royal hunting grounds – before you’re ferried off in a horse drawn carriage like real princes and princesses. Hidden in the back of the palace, the great kitchen is yet another massive structure, capable of feeding an army – or at the least satisfying Henry VIII’s famous appetite. Breathe in a little history in the recreated market square in the courtyard before making a list of what you’ll have to check out on your next visit to this impressive piece of living history.

Hampton Court Palace

East Molesey KT8 9AU

44 844 482 7777

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