Hampton Court is a beautiful day out and easy reach from London. We’d planned it during a week when I had a week day off, and thought therefore it would be relatively quiet. Actually what we had overlooked is that the RHS Hampton Court Flower show was taking place during this week, which made Hampton Court busier than usual and the train packed! I’d have preferred the romantic notion I had in my head for the visit of virtual emptiness and being able to stand and stare in rooms without having to worry if you were standing in peoples way, BUT I still had a really lovely visit!
The visit was actually for a birthday present to mum, who was trying to decide over it or Arundel Castle. We are starting to notch up visits as mother and daughter to impressive and historic buildings, with visit earlier this year to Kensington Palace and a previous visit to the Ritz for a lovely afternoon tea, and Arundel remains on the list!
Mum can only walk short distances, so we asked for a wheelchair on arrival. Her disability status and my needing to push the wheelchair, actually meant that we actually both entered the Palace and grounds for £18 combined. Ruben bought his ticket online that morning, for an online rate of around £19.00 and the ticket was there waiting for him to be collected. The facilities are so, so disability friendly and no where is out of reach. The staff were so polite and friendly, that was also really wonderful! We had people carrying the wheelchair for us and going out of their way to ask if we were ok, and re-directing us as it was at times a little confusing as honestly the Palace is humungous! There was no where that we missed- everything was access friendly and we were directed to and taken in the lifts around the Palace where necessary.
When it comes to the beautiful grounds, do ask for an electric scooter if you or your party is needing one, as they have these on offer also and you just need to sign a form before borrowing. It meant mum could come out with us, over the gravel and pebbled areas, and enjoy the vast grounds. And when I say vast, these are something else! Our favourite garden was the Rose Garden which was elegant and peaceful. Whether you are an avid Royalist or not, it’s still incredible to be there and think about Henry VIII and the time in which he lived there. One of our favourite parts inside the Palace was Henry’s kitchens, which was very busy during the time of our visit but had men and women dressed in period costume scurrying through and around the areas, bowing their heads to you and offering a “Good day madam” as they passed. It just made it feel really authentic and brought to you a visual of how it must have been, way back when.
We came on a train from Waterloo and opted to buy return tickets as we were hurrying, and on advice of incorrect information from train staff present. Please note and remember, if you are coming from London and you have an Oyster card, just ensure you have pre-pay on your card! As Hampton Court is still in zone 6. We paid something like £15 each for a return ticket, when really we only needed to have a few pounds each on our Oysters and could have easily used them- oops!
It’s a very worthwhile day trip and one the 3 of us were happy to have finally visited! Perhaps my only negative point would be to say I didn’t think the food on offer was particularly exciting, and it was also quite expensive for what it was. I suppose, to be expected in these settings. If you could bear the thought of carrying items, the ground would make a beautiful setting for a picnic! 🙂 Otherwise happy viewing- the quality of the Palace rooms and the restoration work involved is just outstanding, it’s super value for money and amazing to see a set of buildings where such history took place.