Going inside of Hampton Court in England, it’s clear that it is a palace of different eras. Everything from the Hampton Court kitchens to the palace gardens has changed! As previously mentioned in my other Hampton Court Palace post, it had already gone through a few sets of hands by the time William of Orange (aka William III of England) took the throne. The era of William and Mary of England began with the modifications and rebuilding of the primarily Tudor palace created during Henry VIII’s time.
The Georgian Story
After the Great Hall and Apartments, the next part of the Hampton Court Palace tour was the Georgian Story. The coolest thing about this tour was that you received a ‘smell map’ upon entering. Yep, that’s right! A scratch and sniff map! Whoever invented this thing, you’re a genius! Each room had something to whiff.
Amongst many other rooms and smells, the guard chamber had a wood-burning fireplace, while the drawing-room smelled of herbs. I still have this map!
“Courtiers attending a Drawing Room would have been packed together in this room. To mask the unpleasant stench of too many unwashed bodies, strongly scented herbs such as wormwood, gerrymander, lavender and meadow-sweet were sprinkled on the floor.”
In one of the larger rooms inside of Hampton Court, they had lights that changed colors on some of the dresses, which was a charming effect. It helped give visitors an idea of what court life may have looked like. I then continued into the private drawing-room and took a whiff of royal hot chocolate. The smell of a bath followed it in the bathing room. You can even smell the royal toilet if you really, really want to.
William of Orange’s Hampton Court
Transferring to another part of the palace, William III and his wife Queen Mary of England created the ‘newer’ section. Upon entering, you see the ‘Victory of Alexander over the Caesars’ mural by Italian artist Verriog. The twelve Caesars represent the Catholic forces that William had ousted in the Glorious Revolution. William is, of course, the hero, Alexander.
The Guard Chamber
William of Orange’s state apartments and private rooms create a long walk from room to room, railroad rooms, if you will. Inside his part of Hampton Court Palace is adorned with swords, guns, and all sorts of weaponry. If I recall correctly, they have to take it down every few years and clean everything. I do not envy whoever has that job!
The Presence Chamber
The Presence Chamber is the official throne room of William and Mary of England. The chair of estate is under its formal canopy. In his time, visitors would have to bow to the throne as they passed, even if it was empty!
“The State Apartments look empty to modern eyes but they would once have been filled with beautifully dressed courtiers who would be meeting, gossiping and playing politics.” – Historic Royal Palaces
The Great Bedchamber and Little Bedroom
You’d think this was the King’s bedroom. However, it was not! It’s where the King was to be dressed in public. Next door, the Little Bedroom has a painted ceiling by Verrio. Its bed-time theme features Mars, the God of War, who lies snoozing in the arms of Venus, the Goddess of Love. Only the King’s most personal staff and close courtiers were allowed in here.
William III’s Private Apartments and Office
Inside his office at Hampton Court I found to be quite small for what I thought would be fit for a King. Though the view of the gardens from there was beautiful. William of Orange spent most of his time here with his prized possessions and entertaining his favorite people.
I’d love a key like that to my apartment! Though I wonder how heavy it is?
You can see an image of the toilet as well. Lovely, isn’t it?
His private dining room is set as it would have been in 1700, towards the end of his life with the famous Hampton Court Beauties paintings hung around the table.
The long hallway from his office to the other rooms reminds me of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors a bit. There are no mirrors in this hallway, but it still was reminiscent to me. Two or three more rooms and then you exit back into Base Court near the Hampton Court clock.
Visiting the Chocolate Kitchen
The chocolate kitchen at Hampton Court Palace was built for William and Mary of England around 1689. Mainly serving the Georgian kings, George I even had his own chocolate maker, Thomas Tosier. It is a room dedicated solely to the purpose of making chocolate. I would probably be as big as Henry the 8th if I had my own chocolate kitchen. It was a big deal back in the day too. It was expensive and prepared especially for the royals.
Chocolate was a luxury, more expensive than tea or coffee. Made with exotic spices and served in gold and silver chocolate pots. Then sipped from porcelain cups. Nearby to the chocolate kitchen was a Confectionary and a Spicery, making sweets and preparing and storing spices, respectively.
“After falling out of use, the Chocolate Kitchen lay hidden for years. The Chocolate Kitchen had been mentioned in many documents but its location remained a mystery until 2013 when one of our curators discovered an 18th-century inventory of the palace pinpointing its location. They were re-opened in February 2014, and are the only royal chocolate kitchens in Britain and a remarkable discovery.” – Historic Royal Palaces
Hampton Court Palace Kitchen
You won’t believe just how big the Hampton Court Palace kitchen is! Though, when you think about it, they were serving hundreds of people when Kings lived there. Inside of Hampton Court, the high ceilings allowed for the smoke to rise from the tremendous fires. Cooking meat on a spit turned by a servant. This Tudor kitchen would have been filled with workers scurrying around, making sure dinner was on time.
Banquets and feasts consisted of many courses, while each course had a variety of dishes brought out at the same time. People then could choose what they wanted to eat. Everyone drank ale during the Tudor period because the water was unhealthy. It wasn’t filtered like it is today, plus sewage and other marvels we take for granted weren’t the best back then. Ale at the time was brewed without hops and was not particularly alcoholic. Wine was also drunk, which was mostly brought from Europe but was sometimes produced in Southern English vineyards.
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
The Hampton Court Palace gardens were once the exclusive playground of kings and queens. From the Tudors through to the Victorians, they evolved along with the palace.
I was quite in a run by this time. On the Hampton Court Palace website, they recommend at least 3 hours for your visit. I can usually get out under the recommended time. However, I wound up at the Palace for 4 hours and still had plenty to yet see! I could go back and probably spend another few hours! So I recommend at least 4 hours. More likely five if you like to take your time or are really interested in Hampton Court Palace’s history! The last thing I saw while visiting Hampton Court Palace was gardens, but only quickly, so I’ll leave you with these shots.
Visiting Hampton Court
Getting Hampton Court Palace tickets is easy, if you’re staying at a hostel, check to see if they have a discount. Else you can get them online or at the palace itself. I’d recommend getting Hampton Court Palace tickets online, though as they state you will always get the best price for the Hampton Court palace tickets when you book online.
Hampton Court Opening Times: Monday-Sunday: 10:00-16:30
Last admission: 15:30
Last entry to Maze: 15:45
Hampton Court Address: Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU, United Kingdom
See tips on how to get to the palace on my Hampton Court Tour post.
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