Hampton Court Palace makes an ideal day trip from London as it is less than an hour from Central London and it can be reached by train.
On the banks of the River Thames, this royal palace was the centre of court life, politics and national history for nearly 200 years. Paintings, furniture and tapestries collected by monarchs are displayed in the very rooms for which they were intended.
Highlights of your Hampton Court tour include the magnificent Great Hall, lined with some of the most valuable tapestries in the world, where Henry VIII's courtiers dined and great entertainments took place. Explore the Tudor kitchens which used to feed 600 people at a time and where food historians can sometimes be seen working. Feel the chill in the corridor said to be haunted by one of Henry VIII's wives! I will put all these places in context of the life and times in the Tudor age.
See how tastes changed the decoration of royal apartments through the centuries. As well as the Tudor rooms, there are the stunning late 17th century state rooms designed by Christopher Wren with their opulent painted ceilings, chandeliers and art from the Royal Collection. The more intimate, private apartments of King William III shed a fascinating light on royal life. The fine 18th century Georgian Rooms are worth visiting too.
Hampton Court Palace is set amongst lovely gardens. Strolling through them allows us to see the history of garden design from the formal knot and privy gardens, through to the colourful herbaceous borders. There is also a famous maze to get lost in!