Here at The Hovel we’re very into our history innovations. We strongly believe that history is a really interesting subject, and everyone can find something to delve into! Our History in 360 blogs will take you through some of the most interesting historical sites we find, giving you the chance to have an immersive 360 degree experience! Either click drag the photo boxes with your mouse, or open them up on a phone and take a tour!
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Hampton Court Palace: A Review
This review was written by Mike, about his recent trip! Any photos like the one immediately blow can be explored by clicking and dragging (or moving your phone around).
The Palace: The Tudor Section
Hampton Court Palace is split into a few smaller displays; the Henry VIII section, the Georgian Court section, and the gardens which includes a large maze.
The first set of rooms which on the tour are the oldest parts of the palace, these belonged to Henry VIII. Historic Royal Palaces have done a amazing job in fitting this section of the palace out with period furniture. The first room is large and includes wood carving details on the original panel work, on one of these panels Henry’s mark has been carved into the panel.
The second room is again large, and has a gilded ceiling marked with Henry’s seal. It was here that we encountered our first reenactors. They were rehearsing a scene from hamlet. One of the reenactors had a lute similar to the one that Niki uses during our living history shows. After finishing the scene, the reenactors were happy to answer any questions about the performance or period that we wanted to ask (more on this below).
The Haunted Corridoor
The third room was a corridor which led to a the private chapel. It is said that this corridor is haunted by a ghost of one of Henry’s wives, Catherine Howard. The story goes that she escaped from her incarceration on the night of her planned execution and attempted to find Henry in order to beg for mercy. Before she could reach him, however, she was pulled aside by a guard and dragged kicking and screaming away to meet her date with the executioner’s axe. It is said the the most of the visitor fainting that occurs in the palace occur in this corridor. Could this be the ghost reaching out through time to haunt modern day visitors?
The Private Chapel
Next was the Hampton Court Palace Private Chapel. The Private Chapel is exactly as was during Henry’s reign and contains and model of his crown. Unfortunately I was not allowed to use my camera in this room as it is still a place of worship and therefore is sacred. This was a rule also observed in the Royal Chapel at The Tower of London.
The Chapel backs on to a corridor where a rather imposing picture of Catherine Howard is seen as you are exiting. Walking down the corridor a little way you come to an incredibly famous painting of Henry’s son, Edward (later Edward VI). In this painting he is attempting to emulate the stance of his father. It was here we exited the Tudor part of the tour and move on to the Georgian section.
The Georgian Section and Lunch
The Georgian section of Hampton Court Palace is much larger than that of Henry’s, however the rooms are a little more barren. The most memorable part of these rooms was the table with lots of folded napkin art. According to the signs, this was popular in Germany during this period.
It was at this point we took a stop for lunch the cafe located close to the exit of the Georgian section, the cafe is thankfully is not overly expensive. I can personally recommend the chilli baked potato which comes with a small amount of cheese and a side salad. The dining area is located in the Queen Elizabeth I privy kitchen.
Next we visited William III’s rooms. Entering through a guard room, we saw a vast quantity of guns hanging on the walls. This wing was built to mirror the designs of palaces on the continent during the era. When walking through this section of the house I was reminded of my visit to Versailles. Each room in Versailles over looks the gardens, as if to make a statement of power.
The Gardens & Palace Kitchens
The high point of Hampton Court is its privy gardens. These have been restored to the condition it would have been in during William III’s reign. The surprisingly small gardens are kept by numerous staff; all of whom can be seen hovering round the gardens working like busy little bees.
After a relaxing tour of the gardens we decided to tour the Tudor kitchens. The kitchens are set out as they would have been in Tudor times. Here we met our second set of reenactors, who were demonstrating medieval cooking over a large fire. They explained how copper was used in cooking pots, and how a clean kitchen would have been important during the medieval era.
Surprisingly, it was well known what could occur if clean surface were not used. While the transmission of germs was not fully known about, understanding of the important for hygiene (and its deathly consequences) was well documented.
Hampton Court Palace has a number of costumed performers demonstrating various parts of life at Hampton Court Palace, this occurs in several areas throughout the place. Reenactments included a performance of a Tudor period play, some lute playing, and demonstrations of Tudor cooking in the kitchens.
The current cost of admission is £21 for adults and included in your ticket price is a free audio guide. This is a must all as you are directed from where you pick this up to the first exit, and then walks you through each room pointing out interesting details. The audio also gives you option for extended audio descriptions in some places, this allows you to pick and choose the elements of the tour you wish to listen to.
We hope you enjoyed reading Mike’s trip to Hampton Court Palace, feel free to take a look through his photos below! Like what you see, want to see more? Drop us a comment below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!