Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, in the historic countyof Middlesex, and within the postal town East Molesey, Surrey; it has not been inhabited by the British Royal Family since the 18th century. The palace is 11.7 miles (18.8 kilometres) south west of Charing Cross and upstream of central London on the River Thames. It was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII, circa 1514; in 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the palace was passed to the King, who enlarged it.
The following century, King William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project intended to rival Versailles was begun. Work halted in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, if vague, balancing of successive low wings.
Along with St. James's Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by King Henry VIII.
Today, the palace is open to the public, and is a major tourist attraction, easily reached by train from Waterloo Station in central London and served by Hampton Court railway station in East Molesey, in Transport for London's Zone 6. In addition, London Buses routes 111, 216, 411 and R68 stop outside the palace gates. The palace is cared for by an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown.
Apart from the Palace itself and its gardens, other points of interest for visitors include the celebrated maze, the historic real tenniscourt (see below) and the huge grape vine, claimed to be the largest in the world.
The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Festival and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
9 Greenwich - Home of Britain's Seafaring History
Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. The town became the site of a royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many Tudors, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as theRoyal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became theRoyal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
The town became a popular resort in the 18th century and many grand houses were built there, such as Vanbrugh Castle (1717) established on Maze Hill, next to the park. From the Georgian period estates of houses were constructed above the town centre. The maritime connections of Greenwich were celebrated in the 20th century, with the siting of the Cutty Sark and Gipsy Moth IVnext to the river front, and the National Maritime Museum in the former buildings of the Royal Hospital School in 1934. Greenwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created.
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.
The park was the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851, for which the Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton. The park has become a traditional location for mass demonstrations. The Chartists, the Reform League, the Suffragettes, and the Stop the War Coalition have all held protests in the park. Many protesters on the Liberty and Livelihood March in 2002 started their march from Hyde Park. On 20 July 1982 in the Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings, two bombs linked to the Provisional Irish Republican Army caused the death of eight members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets and seven horses.
The park is divided in two by the Serpentine and the Long Water. The park is contiguous with Kensington Gardens; although often still assumed to be part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens has been technically separate since 1728, when Queen Caroline made a division between the two. Hyde Park covers 142 hectares (350 acres) and Kensington Gardens covers 111 hectares (275 acres), giving an overall area of 253 hectares (625 acres), making the combined area larger than thePrincipality of Monaco (196 hectares or 480 acres), though smaller than the Bois de Boulogne in Paris (845 hectares, or 2090 acres), New York City's Central Park (341 hectares or 840 acres), and Dublin's Phoenix Park (707 hectares, or 1,750 acres). To the southeast, outside the park, is Hyde Park Corner. Although, during daylight, the two parks merge seamlessly into each other, Kensington Gardens closes at dusk but Hyde Park remains open throughout the year from 5 a.m. until midnight.
Hyde Park is the largest of four parks which form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park (19 hectares), past the main entrance to Buckingham Palaceand then on through Saint James's Park (23 hectares) to Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.