Here at Craven House we’re really lucky to call the spectacular Hampton Court Palace one of our closest neighbours. We know that it’s a big draw card for visiting south-west London and so we thought we would gather some of our favourite facts for a little game of ‘did you know?’ just in case you’re planning a visit soon.
The Craven House Pub
Here’s a fun titbit for you – Craven House was once a pub for Hampton Court Palace workers. Before this little pub offered food, gardeners from the palace gardens had to go all the way to Teddington to get their lunch. The King himself visited the original property to approve the plans. You can read more about that here.
Star of the show
Hampton Court has served as a magnificent backdrop for many period films and TV series, most notably setting the stage for various royal residences in the explosively popular Bridgerton series. You can see the whole list, including Mama Mia and Pirates of the Caribbean here.
A Shakespearean Christmas
The Bard himself, William Shakespeare, spent a Christmas at Hampton Court. He and his theatre company were invited along to provide entertainment for the festive season guests and they stayed three weeks.
Henry VIII’s ‘real tennis’ court is still standing and is one of 50 real tennis clubs around the world. You can book in a session to play the original version of tennis in the same place Kings and royalty played, but be warned, played in an enclosed court with a solid ball, Real Tennis is very different to the tennis we’re used to today.
Hampton Court’s kitchens are the largest surviving 16th century Tudor kitchens in the world – and they are truly impressive to see. Since the palace was created to be a place of leisure and celebration the kitchens had to be able to accommodate great feasts. They’re open to the public so you can pop in when you do a tour.
Grapes and vines
Hampton Court gardens are home to the largest grape vine in the world, imaginatively named The Great Vine. Planted in 1768 it’s now over 250 years old! Once upon a time Queen Victoria used to send the grapes to palaces and castles across the country but now you can buy them from the palace shop in the first three weeks of September.
Jousting for Kings
During Henry VIII’s reign he hosted many jousting tournaments at the palace – often taking part himself. It was one of his favourite forms of entertainment for visiting officials and guests. Sometimes in the summer, the palace still plays host to theatrical jousting performances – definitely worth a visit if you have small people in tow.
200 years of open doors
Hampton Court palace has welcomed visitors and tourists for over 200 years. When Queen Victoria opened it to the public in 1838 I am certain she had no idea that it would play host to Olympic cycling, jubilee pageants and annual festive ice rinks.
The residents of HCP
Until very recently, people still lived in the palace, you can even see their post boxes when you wander around. There were around 70 grace and favour apartments – homes gifted to people by the monarch as a thank you for their service to the crown – but the number slowly dwindled and now there are no permanent occupants.
Bushy Park and the Second World War
Bushy Park – the Royal parklands that surround Hampton Court are not only home to impressive herds of deer. Once upon a time it was also the US air base known as Camp Griffiss. Apparently, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force, led by General Eisenhower planned their D-Day Landings from this base. You can read more on that here.
Now that you’re all clued up on our favourite palace it’s time to plan your visit. If you’d like to book or have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me – I’m always so happy to assist in any way I can.
I look forward to welcoming you to Craven House soon.
Our luxury serviced apartments in Hampton Court and Claygate: