Hampton Court Palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 12 miles south west and upstream of central London on the River Thames, is a must see.


The original Tudor Hampton Court Palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here.

Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many important events.

When William III and Mary II (1689-1702) took the throne in 1689, they commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build an elegant new baroque palace.

William and Mary were also responsible for creating many of the most spectacular areas of the Hampton Court Gardens to complement their new palace.

These include The Great Fountain Garden, created by Daniel Marot, and a new Privy Garden.

Later, Georgian kings and princes occupied the splendid interiors.

The yew trees of the Great Fountain Garden, once neatly pruned, were later allowed to grow to their present height by Capability Brown, head gardener in the mid 18th century.

When the royals left in 1737, penniless ‘grace and favour’ aristocrats moved in.

In 1838 Queen Victoria opened the palace to the public. It has remained a magnet for millions of visitors, drawn to the grandeur, and the fabulous art collection.

Explore Hampton Court Palace

Today Hampton Court Palace is still open to the public. Do visit and take your time to explore its world-renowned gardens.

Or immerse yourself in Tudor history and enjoy beautiful works of art, gold, weapons, manuscripts and stunning furniture.

You can visit Henry’s state and private apartment, the Great Kitchen, the Great Hall, and the Royal Chapel.

Images by Cool Places Britain

We started out in the town of Richmond and followed the River Thames for 12 miles southward towards the 17th century Ham House.

The route continued past Eel Pie Island, with views to Twickenham on the opposite side of the river. Then we walked to Kingston where we passed the lovely riverside park at Canbury Gardens.

The final section runs from Kingston to Hampton Court Palace, passing Thames Ditton Island on the way.

If you prefer a shorter walk, then you can start at Hampton Court Palace and follow the Thames Path towards Hampton Wick. This 6-mile circular takes in Bushy Park and Diana Fountain.

Thames Path

The Thames Path is a long-distance walking trail, following England’s best-known river for 184 miles (294 Km).

The trail meanders from its source in the Cotswolds through stunning countryside, the city of Oxford, the Chilterns, famous Henley, past Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace and into the heart of London.

The section from Hampton Court Palace into the heart of London is an exhilarating 23-mile linear route. It follows the River Thames all the way to Albert Bridge.

Cool Places Britain: Ham House & Garden | Kew Gardens | Surrey Hills AONB.

Cool Places to Eat: The Dysart | Petersham Nurseries Richmond | Tide Tables Café | Ivy Café Richmond.