Historic Royal Palaces Q&A

Hampton Court Palace entrance

When you think of royal palaces, your mind immediately leaps to Buckingham Palace. 👑 But, did you know London is host to many palaces. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites!

Two-for-one offer

We’ve teamed up with these two Historic Royal Palaces to bring you a special entry offer.

Available all week until 23 December 2023 excluding October 21 to 29. 

The offer must be claimed in person at either the Tower of London or Hampton Court Palace ticket office and is not available online. Some exclusions apply, check the terms and conditions.

Historic Royal Palaces logo
Hampton Court Palace during winter

Historic Royal Palaces

🏰 Tower of London

🚇 Tower Hill station

For over 900 years, the Tower of London has dominated the City of London and is still one of the capital’s most prominent landmarks. 🏰 Throughout its long history, the Tower has served as a royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, an arsenal, royal mint, menagerie and jewel house. Today, it’s home to some of the most potent symbols of British history: the Yeoman Warders otherwise known as ‘Beefeaters’ 💂‍♀️, ravens 🐦 and Crown Jewels. 💎 

🏰 Hampton Court Palace

🚌 111, 216, 411 

Hampton Court Palace was the centre of court and political life for over two hundred years. The opulent Tudor palace caught the attention of Henry VIII, who transformed the building into a vast pleasure palace. It boasted a bowling alley 🎳, tennis court 🎾 and more. 😲

A palace of two halves, King William III and his wife Mary II commissioned the celebrated architect Sir Christopher Wren to build a new baroque palace for them, therefore creating a suite of spectacular King’s and Queen’s State Apartments set around an elegant Fountain Court.

One of the newest attractions for families is the Tudor-inspired Magic Garden. Along with its world-class art collection, Hampton Court Palace is also home to the largest grapevine in the world 🍇, the Royal Tennis Court 🎾 – which dates to the reign of King Charles I – and the UK’s oldest surviving hedge maze. 🌳 

Q&As with Historic Royal Palaces staff

Tower of London

Chief Exhibitor 🗣

What’s your favourite thing to do on a typical working day?

I love speaking to visitors. The bulk of my job involves speaking with people. I am not very good at writing, but I like speaking with people. Daily, I have to explain to people who are queueing up to enter the Beauchamp Tower, that “I am so sorry, I am not cutting the queue- I live upstairs” to get to my residence on my lunch break. Sometimes people think I am joking and follow me upstairs to make sure I am telling the truth!

Who’s been your favourite customer or favourite moment at the palace?

I am fortunate enough to meet some interesting people like the members of the Royal Family, Heads of State and celebrities from Tom Cruise to Jeff Bezos. But my most favourite guests are the young school children who I meet regularly from local schools. They ask me the best questions and I get to work with them to create pieces of work in relation to the historic context of the Tower. I learn something from these young people every time.

Can you share a fun fact about the palace you work at?

During lockdown, the ravens stole one of my sandwiches! They were used to having more visitors to feed them, but when things went quiet, they went around trying to find food wherever they could!

Hampton Court

Customer Insight Manager 🗣

What’s your favourite thing to do on a typical working day?

My favourite thing to do is to take a walk around the palace and see our visitors enjoying themselves. Soaking up the atmosphere, seeing enthralled school groups following a costumed actor into the kitchens, tourists gazing in wonder at the ceiling in the Great Hall, members enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake in our café, a tour group examining the flowers in the rose garden, people with dementia and their carers enjoying a Sensory Palaces session in the Great Vine or a child enjoying an ice cream in the Wilderness.

Who’s been your favourite customer or favourite moment at the palace?

My favourite moment has to be hearing our younger visitors singing along to Horrible Histories live at Hampton Court Palace. Seeing Henry VIII on stage in this setting is a real ‘history where it happened’ moment. Witnessing the next generation engage with history in this way brings the whole palace to life.

Can you share a fun fact about the palace you work at?

The palace has a dedicated kitchen for chocolate! Built by Christopher Wren in about 1690, it provided chocolate drinks for William III and Mary II. The King and Queen would usually take their chocolate as a drink at breakfast time. You can see it today, including all the equipment and examples of ingredients and flavourings used, including red chillies.

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