The famous former residence of the infamous King Henry VIII, Hampton Court is one of the king’s two remaining palaces and one of the grandest castles in England, having once been planned to rival the Palace of Versailles in France. Today, visitors can explore the castle interior, which showcases two architectural styles (the Tudor palace of Henry VIII and the baroque palace of William III), stroll through its massive hedge maze, see the historic tennis court, and view the largest grape vine in the world. Don’t miss the State Apartments’ royal bedrooms and galleries, the Tudor kitchens, Chapel Royal, or the medieval Great Hall, which has been in continuous use for more than 450 years.
Hampton Court Palace is commonly visited from London either independently or as part of a royal palaces tour and paired with a stop at Windsor Castle. Book priority entrance tickets to skip the line and spend more time exploring the grounds, or, for more context, choose a guided historical tour that walks you through the palace and formal gardens. Bike tours of the Hampton Court Palace grounds are another popular options.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Helpful red-coated guides can be found all over the grounds offering interesting information about the castle (while making sure you keep your hands off the valuable furnishings).
- Book an advance ticket with timed entry to avoid lines.
- Free Wi-Fi access is available.
- Much of the palace is wheelchair accessible, and disabled visitors may bring a caregiver free of charge.
- Hampton Court Palace entry is included in the London Pass.
How to Get There
Hampton Court Palace is set in the royal borough of Richmond upon Thames, on the River Thames and a short distance from London in the town of Surrey. It’s accessible by public transport—Hampton Court Station is a 30-minute train ride away from Waterloo Station in central London. From the train station, it’s a short walk across the Hampton Court Bridge over the River Thames to the palace.
When to Get There
The palace is open daily from 10am to 4:30pm, with extended hours until 6pm in summer. Arriving earlier in the day or taking a private tour will help you avoid crowds.
Royal Palaces of England
For a glimpse at royal life and customs in settings truly fit for royalty, go beyond Hampton Court and visit the royal residences at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace in London, as well as nearby Windsor Castle.