London Travel

London Travel


HAMPTON COURT PALACE. Although a monarch hasn’t lived here for 250 years, Hampton Court still exudes regal charm. Cardinal Wolsey built the first palace here in 1514, showing the young Henry VIII how to act the part of a ruler. In 1689, William III and Mary II employed Christopher Wren to bring Hampton Court up to date. In addition to touring the sumptuous rooms of the palace, including Henry’s State Apartments and William’s King’s Apartments, be sure to leave time for the vast gardens, including the devilishly difficult maze. Take the train from Waterloo (35min. every 30min. round-trip &4) or a boat from Westminster Pier (4hr.; 4 per day; £10, round-trip £14); to leave time to see the palace, take the boat one way and return by train. (Open mid-Mar. to late Oct. M 10:15am-6pm, Tu-Su 9:30am-6pm; mid-Mar. closes 4:30pm. £11, students £8.30. Maze only £3. Gardens only free.)

KEW GARDENS. The Kew Gardens (a.k.a. the Royal Botanic Gardens) feature thousands of flowers, fruits, trees, and vegetables from around the globe. The three conservatories, housing a staggering variety of plants ill-suited to the English climate, are the highlight of the gardens. Most famous is the steamy Palm House, home to “The Oldest Pot Plant In The World,” which is not at all what it sounds like but interesting nonetheless. The Temperate House is the largest ornamental glasshouse in the world. The interior of the Princess of Wales Conservatory is divided into 10 different climate zones, including one entirely devoted to orchids. (Main entrance at Victoria Gate. Tube: Kew Gardens. Open Apr.-Aug. M-F 9:30am-6:30pm, Sa-Su 9:30am-7:30pm; Sept.-Oct. daily 9:30am-6pm; Nov.-Jan. 9:30am-4:15pm; Feb.-Mar. 9:30am-5:30pm. Glasshouses close Feb.-Oct. 5:30pm, Nov.-Mar. 3:45pm. £6.50, “late entry” (45min. before the glasshouses close) £5.50; students and seniors £5.50.)

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