Sight ★★★



Hampton Court Palace

The royal palace so nice Henry VIII honeymooned here twice—and then again, and again, and again...

What began as a 13th century farm for the Crusader order of the Knights Hospitalers of St. John was later rented to courtiers.

Cardinal Wolsey acquired it, and the favors of King Henry VIII—for a while. He was the king's chief minister and closest advisor right up until he refused to help Henry get a divorce from Katherine of Aragon (first wife). Between that betrayal, and the fact that he lived a life more extravagant than the king's here, Henry eventually took Hampton Court (and another Wolsey palace at York) from the now-disgraced Cardinal.

Henry VIII spent the modern equivalent of £18 million ($35 million) expanding Hampton Court in the 1520 and 30s into the vast Tudor pile we know and love today (partly expanded yet again in a baroque style by William III), with magnificent grounds and sumptuous royal apartments, banqueting halls, kitchens, and chapels.

The last king to use it as a residence was George II. Queen Victoria fixed it up and opened Hampton Court to the public in 1838.

Hampton Court Palace
East Molesey
Surrey, KT8 9AU
tel. 0844-482-7777 in the U.K., +44-(0)20-3166-6000 from outside the U.K.
Open daily


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