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Historical Exhibits at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace - Joy of Museums 2

Historical Exhibits at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace not far from central London on the River Thames. Discover Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence. Visit Base Court and the breath-taking grandeur of King’s and Queens State Rooms. Stroll over 60 acres of enchanting gardens, lose yourself in the maze. Visit the Haunted Gallery and discover the Baroque Palace, full of history from the Stuart and Georgian era.

For 200 years, Hampton Court Palace was at the centre of the English Monarchy’s court life, politics and history. Its first royal resident was Henry VIII. Today Hampton Court is a short day trip from London.

Historical Exhibits at Hampton Court Palace

Explore Hampton Court Palace

  • Henry VIII’s Great Hall
    • Henry VIII’s Great Hall is spanned by a large and sumptuously decorated hammer-beam roof and its walls are hung with Henry VIII’s highest praised tapestries, The Story of Abraham. The Great Hall was built between 1532 and 1535 making it the last medieval great hall built for the English monarchy. So impatient was the King for the completion of this Hall that the masons were compelled to work throughout the night by candlelight to complete the project.
  • King’s Beasts
    • Ten statues of heraldic animals called the King’s Beasts, stand on the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse. These statues represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.
  • Henry VIII’s Kitchens
    • As soon as Henry VIII took ownership of Hampton Court Palace in 1528, the King began rebuilding and expansion to accommodate the King’s court which consisted of over one thousand people. Although the King owned over sixty houses and palaces, few of these were large enough to hold the assembled court, and thus one of the first building works to transform Hampton Court to a principal residence was to build the huge kitchens.
  • Henry VIII’s Wine Cellar
    • Tudor court meals were lavish affairs that all the sumptuous food was washed down with gallons of wine and beer. Court entertaining was provided in lavish style to reflect the magnificence of the monarch and King Henry kept his cellars well stocked. Barrels of wine were sent from Europe and kept in cellars next to the kitchens, while beer was stored close to the Great Hall.
  • Hampton Court Palace, Tradesman’s Entrance
    • Food produce was brought into the palace through a ‘Tradesman’s’ entrance, where all goods passed under an archway into a cobbled courtyard. Here they were all unloaded and checked carefully. A team of accountants, known as ‘The Clerks of the Green Cloth’, kept detailed records to ensure costs were accurate. Kitchen staff the carried all the food products into a series of smaller kitchens or to the stores.
  • Hampton Court Astronomical Clock
    • The Hampton Court astronomical clock is a sixteenth-century astronomical clock with special mechanisms and dials to display astronomical information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets. Installed in 1540 on the gatehouse to the inner court at Hampton Court Palace. This clock is pre-Copernican and a pre-Galilean astronomical clock and is still functioning.
  • The Fountain Court
    • In 1689, shortly after Louis XIV’s court had moved permanently to Versailles, William III and his wife, Mary II embarked on a massive rebuilding project at Hampton Court. The intention was to demolish the Tudor palace a section at a time while replacing it with a vast modern Palace in the Baroque style.
  • Christopher Wren’s South Front
    • Christopher Wren’s south front as viewed from the Privy Garden was built for William and Mary. Sir Christopher Wren, was asked to design a new vast Palace at a time when it was difficult for any sovereign to visualise a palace that did not emulate Versailles’ Baroque forms. Hampton Court however unlike Versailles, is different with its contrast between the pink brick and the pale Portland stone quoins, frames and banding. Further differences include the circular and decorated windows of the second-floor mezzanine.
  • The Chocolate Room
    • The Chocolate Room is where Thomas Tosier, chocolate maker to George I (1714 – 1727) and George II (1727 – 1760), made the final touches to the King’s chocolate drink. The room was used to store the valuable serving equipment such as gold and silver Chocolate pots and the Chocolate drinking porcelain sets. The Chocolate Kitchens were built by Christopher Wren in 1690 as part of William III’s and Queen Mary II’s rebuilding of Hampton Court Palace. Chocolate was relatively new in England and its inclusion in the new part of the palace demonstrated the modernity of William’s and Mary’s court.

Royal Palaces in London

Other royal palaces and castles in and around London include:

Tower of London

The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name was a symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. The Tower today is a complex of buildings and fortifications developed during the 12th and 13th centuries constructed within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains on the extensive site.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in London. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. Today, the State Rooms are open to the public. The palace also displays many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection. The offices and private accommodation areas of the Palace are used by extended Royal Family members and their families and remain the responsibility of the Royal Household.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor, just outside London. It is notable for its long association with the English Royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments are completed in later Georgian design. The 15th-century St George’s Chapel is a historic example of English Perpendicular Gothic design.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. Formerly known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen’s House. During the 19th century, it was enlarged, with the construction of three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
– Charles Dickens


Photo Credit: JOM