Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace


Location: East Molesey, Surrey Map

Tel. 0844 482 7777

Open: daily

Closed: 24- 26 Dec

Official site


Description of Hampton Court Palace

The Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, in the historic county of Middlesex, and within the postal city of East Molesey, Surrey. The British Royal Family does not inhabit it since the 18th century. The palace is 18.8 kilometers southwest of Charing Cross and upstream of the River Thames from central London.


History of Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favorite of King Henry VIII, around 1514; in 1529. When Wolsey lost the favor of the king, the palace passed to the king, who enlarged it. It consists of four large patios, without a regular organization and some smaller ones. Currently between the river and the palace there is a wide plaza, the "Outer Green", which ends in a moat spanned by a bridge that Henry VIII ordered to build. On the bridge you can see the shields, held by lions and unicorns, symbol of King George II, which give this front part of the entrance the name of "Trophy Gates".

Henry VIII established it as his residence in 1536. During its construction, artists such as G. de Maiano took part, decorating the octagonal towers with terracotta medallions. The entrance, modified between 1771 and 1773, dates back to the first phase of the palace and its first owner: Cardinal Wolsey, who ordered the residence to be built in 1515. As for decoration, it deals with both heraldic motifs and mythological animals (griffins and unicorns). After passing the entrance door, we find the "low patio", the first of the inner courtyards.

In the center of the facades, Christopher Wren placed a group of Corinthian columns. The two largest courtyards are those of the Clock and that of La Fuente. The "Great Hall" and the "Royal Chapel" are two gems of this palace. The first was commissioned by Henry VIII and was finished the same year in which he executed Ann Boleyn. The Royal Chapel was also embellished by Henry VIII, but only the vault remains, everything else was designed by Wren. At the end of the 17th century, a reconstruction of the palace inspired by that of Versailles and executed by Christopher Wren was carried out. In 1730, sculptures with animal motifs were added by William Kent.

Inside the palace you can see paintings of the Royal Collection: Titian, Hans Holbein the Younger, Correggio, Jean Clouet, Louis Laguerre, James Thornhill and Gerrit van Honthorst, among others, but the great jewel is The triumphs of the C├ęsar de Mantegna, surely the best paintings of this artist outside of Italy.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace