During my summer trip to royal London, one of the sites I didn’t want to miss was the incredible Hampton Court Palace. Famously one of the homes of Henry the VIII (after he took it away from the bishop he had it fixed up for), the palace really feels like multiple palaces all squished together.
I guess it feels like that because it is like that. When you enter the palace, you enter first through the Tudor entrance. It feels a bit more like a castle than a palace. While still impressive, it is much more rudimentary than the newer portions of the palace. The interiors feels very King Henry the VIII-ish.
But after crossing a courtyard or two, you find yourself in what feels like more modern (1600’s) palace. The south end of the palace was built for King William and Queen Mary by Christopher Wren. He’s the guy that also was the architect for St. Paul’s Cathedral and a host of other important buildings. This end of the palace was built to rival the French monarch’s Versailles.
I loved this palace because it does a great job of explaining enfilades and how the official state rooms of palaces work. They all start out with guard rooms and throne rooms to show off the power of the resident and then end up in much more private rooms like the King’s bedroom and toilet. The type of people that were allowed in each consecutive room get more and more important as you go.
Exiting the place on the opposite end revels the exteriors of the newer part of the palace. This side is framed by some incredible gardens.
Anyway, the photos don’t do it any kind of justice, but here are a few to enjoy: