Hampton Court Palace: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Hampton Court Palace.

  • Hampton Court Palace is situated on the River Thames, in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames, about 17 miles from Central London.
  • The palace was built in 1514 originally as a home for Cardinal Wolsey, the advisor to King Henry VIII, although its most famous resident was Henry VIII himself.

  • Hampton Court Palace was considered modern and sophisticated when it was built in Tudor times. It had bowling greens, a 36,000 square foot kitchen and a toilet area that could seat 30 people.
  • Tennis was extremely popular in Tudor England. The tennis courts at Hampton Court date from 1526 and are set in about 60 acres of gardens.
  • The last monarch to live in the palace was George II, and the palace was first opened to tourists in 1838, by Queen Victoria.
  • The famous maze at the palace is the oldest surviving hedge maze in the UK and it was designed in about 1700. Today, it includes half a mile of paths and sounds depicting Tudor life, are triggered by sensors.
  • Another highlight of the palace is the astronomical clock, designed in 1540. It shows the hours, days of the week, high tides, phases of the moon and signs of the Zodiac.
  • The Great Hall has a hammer beam roof and tapestries decorating the walls. The plays of William Shakespeare were performed here during the early 17th century.
  • About 600 people were employed at Hampton Court Palace.
  • The huge state of the art kitchens at Hampton Court Palace had to provide meals for hundreds of people at least twice a day. Today, they are still used to prepare authentic Tudor style banquets.

What next? Find out Richmond Palace, a nearby Tudor palace, or learn more about the Tudors by visiting the Primary Facts Tudor resources page.

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