Hampton Court Palace – English history and architecture at its very best. London’s Hampton Court Palace has enjoyed its fair share of public limelight of late, namely for being the starting and finishing point of last year’s Olympic Games men’s cycling time trial event.
The event was of course won by our own Bradley Wiggins with another British rider, Chris Froome taking the bronze medal. Many people had never seen Hampton Court Palace until the exciting time trial was televised and are likely to have been impressed by the sheer beauty of this wonderful and historical London building.
The first tenant of Hampton Court was the Courtier Giles Daubeney who took a lease on the property in 1494. Prior to Courtier Daubeney taking up residency in what is now one of London’s top tourist attractions; Hampton Court Palace was basically an old large barn which had been used by the Knights Hospitallers, which were one of the most famous of the Western Christian military orders during the Middle Ages.
Daubeney was a good friend of King Henry V11 and the King and his Queen often stayed at Hampton Court Palace with Daubeney to have a break from Westminster.
Although it was Hampton Court’s next tenant who had a more lasting legacy on the Palace. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, an English cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and leading political figure, was a close friend of Henry V111 and was a man intent on racing the Middle Ages corporate ladder.
Having many extravagant rooms built for himself and his royal visitors, Thomas Wolsey transformed Hampton Court from a nice country house into a palace fit for a bishop of high standing. All, however, was lost in 1528 when the palace became the King’s property because the King was not happy at not being able to get the Pope’s permission to divorce Katherine of Aragon.
In the ensuing decades and centuries the palace grew in stature and grandeur, with upgrades and additions being frequently built, with the likes of Sir Christopher Wren adding the great façade.
It was however, Queen Victoria who threw the doors open to her subjects and from then on the Palace started to attract thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Hampton Court Palace really is one of Britain’s oldest and finest buildings and there is a great deal to see both inside and outside in its magnificent gardens. The Great Hall is one of England’s most supreme medieval halls and one of the country’s oldest theatres with the William Shakespeare Company performing for King James I in 1603.
From walking around the 60 acres of beautifully maintained gardens that run down to the river Thames and witness the 200,000 flowering bulbs in these internationally renowned gardens, to visiting the extremely beautiful Chapel Royal, which has been in continuous use for over 450 years, you could almost get lost in the world famous maze.
An all-inclusive ticket for Hampton Court Palace allows you to comprehensively explore this vast, diverse and terrifically inspiring palace and is a perfect sightseeing option whilst staying at the luxury London hotel, The Wyndham Grand in Chelsea Harbour. Call us on +44 (0)20 7823 3000 to make your reservation today.