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Need to Know Near London: Hampton Court Palace Turns 500

Near London: Check Out Hampton Court Palace, Which Turns 500

Near London: Check Out Hampton Court Palace, Which Turns 500

Just a 35-minute train ride south of London’s Waterloo station, the palace, now celebrating its 500th anniversary.

Photo by Sarah Crumb

Who doesn’t love a costume drama? Though it hasn’t been a home to the royals since 1760, Hampton Court Palace was once a favorite of Henry VIII, whose ghost (actually an actor portraying the corpulent monarch) still roams the halls.

Just a 35-minute train ride south of London’s Waterloo station, the palace, now celebrating its 500th anniversary, will excite any Wolf Hall fan and Anglophile. Among the can’t-miss spots of the massive construction, created in both domestic Tudor and baroque architectural styles, are the kitchens Henry built to feed his entire court — some 1,000 people, whom the massive wine cellars kept in good spirits.

The private apartments, drawing rooms, and royal tennis court (also Henry’s) are spectacular, and the monumental gardens include the world’s biggest grapevine. Don’t forget to pick up a scratch-and-sniff map of the Georgian Court — featuring scents one might have found in the public dining room, the royal bath, and the royal toilet — and ponder the herbs and flowers that were sprinkled on the floor, to mask the stench of many unwashed bodies. HRP.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace

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