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Hampton Court Palace with a tween and teen

Hampton Court Palace with a tween and teen

Hampton Court Palace is a large group of buildings built over 300 years. It’s just outside London, on the banks of the river Thames, and has been on our family bucket list for a while. My tween has recently announced she hates history (which I think has more to do with her Year 7 teacher than anything else) but I don’t want that to stop her enjoying trips to historical places.

Hampton Court Palace with a tween and teen

We saw an offer of half price tickets in January, so we booked our Hampton Court tickets which came to £43.60, a huge saving on normal ticket prices. Our tickets gave us access to the Tudor kitchens of Henry VIII and his state and private rooms, the Baroque Palace of William III and Mary II, the Chapel Royal, as well as the extensive grounds and gardens, including the Great Vine and the famous Hampton Court Maze.

Sadly dogs are not allowed at Hampton Court Palace so we headed off for our day out without our dog. We were able to park in a car park on site which was minutes away from the impressive gateway into the complex of Hampton Court Palace.

Is Hampton Court Palace fun for kids? Our tween and teen found a lot to entertain them. January was a very quiet month to visit which meant we had a lot of the rooms to ourselves, and the atmosphere was lacking. However, the kids loved looking for the famous ghosts of Hampton Court, the chocolate kitchen, the Council Chamber (perfect for re-enacting the Round Table of The Traitors) and the eye-wateringly expensive gift shop. My husband and I loved exploring the Tudor kitchens – we found the small rooms more impressive than the great kitchen, which again lacked any kind of atmosphere and felt rather empty and gloomy. I imagine school visits must be a lot of fun there but we found lots of empty corridors so large you could drive a milk float through them.

Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court

Hampton Court almost felt like two different places , and it is – the Tudor palace of Henry VIII survived alongside the Baroque Palace of William III and Mary II. As the Palace was added to and developed over such a long period this is to be expected, but the place has a very different feel to Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London.

Baroque Palace of William and Mary

Despite the freezing temperatures we ventured outside and loved learning about the history of The Great Vine and it’s special glass house. We also enjoyed the real tennis court and spent a good 10 minutes watching people play on it.

The formal gardens were beautiful but rather dead in January but I can imagine they are bustling with people and flowers come Spring. We walked to admire the view over the Long Water and Home Park, before hurrying back to the draughty Palace again.

Is Hampton Court worth visiting? Of course it’s worth a visit, it’s amazing to see inside a Royal Palace, especially the Great Hall where Shakespeare performed, the rooms where Henry VIII and all six of his wives visited. I did find lots of the tunes from Six the Musical buzzing around my head as we walked and walked and walked. I’m not sure I would recommend a visit in January though. We only saw two costumed members of staff and found the place lacking atmosphere and ambience. There are almost no information boards but audio guides were available, if you enjoy learning about what you are looking at next time I would definitely pick one up.

Chocolate kitchen at Hampton Court

How much time do you need for Hampton Court? We spent around 5 hours visiting Hampton Court Palace and this included all the rooms and lunch. Unfortunately the cafe and restaurant were only serving vegan food during January. Our two children were not keen on the food options available and if we had known this in advance we would have packed a picnic. Thankfully the gift shops were stocked with sweet treats which kept them going.

Hampton court in January

Hampton Court Palace with a tween and a teen is an interesting day out. I imagine it is a lot more fun when the place is busy and you can get out in the gardens.

You may also be interested in our other posts:

The Tower of London



  • Reply
    February 5, 2024 at 2:44 am

    We visited the palace last year for an event. What got my attention are the numerous works of art and the weird feeling after we hear the ghost stories from the locals.

  • Reply
    Ambra Mills
    February 5, 2024 at 6:54 am

    Sounded like a great day at Hampton Court Palace! The Tudor and Baroque architecture, along with the rich history, must have been an amazing experience. Exploring the Tudor kitchens, ghost hunting, and reenacting scenes in the Council Chamber seem really fun for kids. It’s a shame the January visit lacked a bit of atmosphere, but the beautiful gardens, real tennis court, and historical significance make it all very interesting. Thanks for sharing your adventure and helpful tips! 🙂

  • Reply
    Melissa Cushing
    February 6, 2024 at 11:50 pm

    I love that you booked half price tickets and I love those ornaments from the first picture! I would so love to see this some day and appreciate you sharing!

  • Reply
    Archana Singh
    February 7, 2024 at 2:18 am

    I had been to London several times but had never been to this place. Your article definitely convinced me that Hampton Court Palace with a tween and a teen is an interesting day out. Thanks for sharing

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