Come with me 10 miles outside central London to see the only one of Henry VIII’s two surviving Palaces that is still open to the public. I will tell you the stories behind Hampton Court’s long and chequered history, from its ‘gift’ by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to Henry, through Henry’s refashioning of the buildings as a seat of the Royal Court to its redevelopment by Christopher Wren for William III as an ‘English Versailles’. Among the magnificent rooms we’ll see are the Chapel Royal, the Great Hall, William III’s State Apartments and the Kitchens – including the specialist Chocolate Kitchen!
We’ll view Mantegna’s ‘Triumphs of Caesar’ paintings and I’ll explain why many consider them the finest Renaissance paintings of all. You’ll hear some of the stories about the Kings and Queens who have been born, lived and been imprisoned here and of some of the ghosts said to walk the Haunted Gallery and other rooms. If time allows and the weather is fine, I’ll lead a walk around the Palace Grounds, including the Kitchen and Privy Gardens and the Great Vine, which still gives grapes after 350 years! You can try your luck at finding the path through the famous hedge Maze. and there may be the chance to see a game of the rarely-played Royal Tennis in progress. See a different side of Royal London in the fresh air upriver at Hampton Court.