What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–South-Western Railway. Waterloo Station. =Nearest Station.=–Hampton Court. =Distance from London.=–15 miles. =Average Time.=–3/4 hour.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 2s. 0d. 1s. 6d. 1s. 2-1/2d. Return 2s. 9d. 2s. 0d. 1s. 10d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Castle Hotel,” “Mitre Hotel,” “The King’s Arms Hotel,” “Greyhound Hotel,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–By steamboats from London Bridge, etc., during the summer months.
Within a few hundred yards of the Hampton Court station on the London and South-Western Railway stands the magnificent palace of Hampton Court, originally erected by Cardinal Wolsey for his own residence, and after his sudden downfall appropriated by his ungrateful master Henry VIII. for his private use and property.
The approach from the station lies through a pair of finely designed wrought-iron gates to the north frontage of the palace, erected by Wolsey himself. This front is all in the fine red-brick architecture of the period, with quaint gables, small mullioned windows, and a collection of moulded and twisted red-brick chimneys of wonderfully varied designs. The entrance through the gatehouse, flanked by two towers, is under a massive Tudor gateway, and leads into an inner quadrangle and thence into a second court, both of the same picturesque character. In these inner courts are the suites of rooms given as residences by royal favour, and on the left-hand side is Wolsey’s great banqueting-hall, with a magnificent open timber roof.
The southern and eastern portions, with the Fountain Court and the splendid frontage to the gardens, were designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and form one of the best examples of his work. In this part of the building are the picture galleries, containing a priceless collection of works, comprising Sir Peter Lely’s Beauties of King Charles II.’s time, valuable specimens of Holbein, Kneller, West, Jansen, Vandyck, Reynolds, and other masters, and seven wonderful cartoons by Raphael.
The splendidly kept gardens, about 44 acres in extent, are still very much as they were in the time of William III. Hampton Court “Maze” is one of the most intricate in the country.
The palace, grounds, and picture galleries are open to the public daily, free, except on Fridays; summer, 10 to 6; winter, 10 to 4. Sundays, summer, 2 to 6; winter, 2 to 4.
[Illustration: THE EAST SIDE OF THE CLOCK TOWER, HAMPTON COURT.]