I took a day off work and attended Hampton Court Palace on an idle Friday. It was a good day for it as the grounds were quiet and even the obligatory legions of schoolchildren on school trips were sparsely spread out over the large and attractive grounds of the palace.
For a £16 adult ticket, I got access to all of the gardens, the famous maze and the entirety of the palace itself. The palace building is incredible and there are plenty of rooms to explore and trails that you can follow. The main downside of this is that there are very few boards and notes left out to provide reading material to explain what you are seeing. I guess this is to encourage you to use the audio tour option, which is ok in places, but can get tiresome after a while and if you want to skip through a few rooms and pick up the journey again. Certain areas of the palace are more furnished than others with impressive paintings and decorated from the style of the time. This does give the feeling of authenticity to the place although it does occasionally feel that you are simply walking through a series of featureless corridors to get to the more furnished rooms.
‘The Secrets of the Bedchamber’ exhibition currently on was a highlight. I expected something a bit bawdy, but learnt a lot about the significance of the bedroom in Tudor and Edwardian times.
The food on site was decent and the maze was good fun to tackle as well(although I’m glad it was included in the price of my ticket - £4.40 for an adult if not!). I enjoyed my day out there and certainly found enough to do to fill up my time there. A little bit more reading material so I could take things at my own pace and not at the pace of the audio guide would help improve things, but overall a decent day out.
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