Inventory Site Record

Hampton Court Palace Gardens and Hampton Court Park *

Hampton Court Palace Gardens and Hampton Court Park * (Richmond)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Hampton Court became a royal palace from 1530 after Henry VIII took the house and grounds Cardinal Wolsey had transformed in the early C16th. The estate was enlarged and improved by successive monarchs, and pleasure gardens laid out by various Royal Gardeners, including William Talman, George London, Henry Wise, and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. During the C18th and C19th Hampton Court became a popular place for visitors and a guide book was printed in 1817.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Home Park, House Park
Site location:
Hampton Court Road, East Molesey
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Palace/Maze 10am-6pm (summer)/-4.30pm (winter).Formal Gardens 10am-7pm (summer)/-5.30pm (winter).Informal Gardens 7am-8pm (summer)/-6pm (winter).
Special conditions:
Admission charge for Palace, Maze and Gardens
Shops, cafés, toilets, fishing
Various, including education programme. Music Festival (June), RHS Flower Show (July)
Public transport:
Rail: Hampton Court, Kingston then bus. Bus: 111, 216, 267, 411, 461, 513, R68. River Thames Boat Service to Hampton Court.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see

The first buildings at Hampton Court were owned by the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem who had acquired the Manor in 1236. It became the centre for their agricultural estates, farming to raise funds for military activities in the Holy Land. The level parkland of Hampton Court was enclosed in the early C16th when Sir Giles Daubeney, Henry VII's Lord Chamberlain, leased the property in 1505 and enclosed over 120 hectares of farmland for a deer park with rabbit warrens. Following Sir Giles's death in 1508 Cardinal Wolsey (1475-1530), Archbishop of York and Henry VIII's chief minister, leased the property and transformed it from 1515 onwards, building Hampton Court Palace and developing formal gardens. When he fell from favour in 1528 it was relinquished to Henry VIII and both palace and gardens then developed from 1530, establishing Hampton Court as a show place for English gardening. Henry VIII made Wolsey's gardens into the Privy Orchard, added the Great Orchard in parkland to the north and the Tiltyard to the west of these, with the Privy Garden to the south of the Palace extending to the Thames with a mount and banqueting house. Lesser gardens and an orchard extended beside the Thames. 52 hectares of the Course was taken out of the parkland and walled by 1537; stretches of wall from these features survive today.

There was no significant building by Edward VI, Mary I or Elizabeth I although they visited regularly. James I hunted in the park; Charles I was imprisoned here after Civil War and the palace was put up for sale in 1652. Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II visited and built his mistress a set of lodgings at south-east corner of palace. In 1661-2 Charles II developed the Long Water with flanking double avenue leading from the semi-circle on the east front of the Palace, the work executed by Adrian May. When William III and Mary II came to the throne the Palace was enlarged by Sir Christopher Wren in 1689-94 and the estate remodelled in Baroque style. In the late 1680s work was begun by Guillaume Beaumont on the Wilderness north of the Palace, the site of Henry VIII's Great Orchard. George London developed the Wilderness and Tiltyard with formal layouts from 1689 onwards, including the Maze planted in 1702 in the north-west part of the Wilderness. The paths of the Maze are nearly half a mile long in all. London also developed the Great Parterre or Fountain Garden to designs by Daniel Marot, which was modified in 1699/1700, again in 1707 when box embroidery of the parterre was replaced by grass and the semi-circular canal with arms to north and south was added in 1711 when Queen Anne was monarch. The Broad Walk, extending north-south along east front of the palace, runs parallel with the north and south arms of the canal, this development matched by the creation of the Chestnut Avenue in Bushy Park (q.v.), which was aligned on the Lion Gates in the north wall of the Wilderness. At the north end of the Broad Walk is the Royal Tennis Court built in the 1620s. The Privy Garden was given a formal parterre in c.1689, enlarged c.1700, and its outlines survive beneath C19th shrubbery. Jean Tijou screens were designed for the Great Parterre in 1699-1700 extending south-east from the south end of Broad Walk to an oval bowling green. Four pavilions by Christopher Wren were built c.1701 at the south-east end of the green, one of which survives. The Wilderness House was built in c.1700 as the Master Gardener's house and survives almost unchanged. Among its illustrious residents was Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, Master Gardener from 1764.

In the C18th, although Charles Bridgeman was Royal Gardener from 1728 and made surveys of the gardens he does not appear to have made significant changes to the gardens. Among his works Capability Brown planted the Great Vine west of the Pond Gardens. This vine came from a cutting from the Black Hamburgh Vine at Valentines Park (q.v.) in Redbridge. The next period of extensive development was in the mid-C19th with bedding schemes in the Fountain Garden, which continued through the C20th with massed bedding/foliage displays and borders in different parts of the gardens, particularly notable of these being the herbaceous borders along the Broad Walk, rose gardens in the Tiltyard, formal bedding in the enclosed gardens south of the Palace and east of the Privy Garden. The Knot Garden was laid out by Ernest Law in 1924, while 3 Pond Gardens by the Banqueting House have later C20th planting set in the C17th/early C18th garden areas.

The Wilderness contains a remarkable variety of ornamental trees and shrubs. Replanting lime avenues was undertaken from 1986 onwards. The loss of trees was considerable in the October 1987 storms. By 1992 the Privy Garden was extremely overgrown and restoration began to recreate the layout of William III's design of 1702.

Sources consulted:

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan 'The Gardens and Parks at Hampton Court Palace' (Francis Lincoln, 2005); Susanna Groom, 'the Progression of Statuary in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace' in The London Gardener, volume 8, 2002-03, pp.36-51. EH Register list: 'Royal Parks Historical Survey: Hampton Court and Bushy Park', 1982; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; D H Chettle, J Charlton, ed. J Allan 'Hampton Court Palace', 1982; N Cole 'The Royal Parks and Gardens of London' 1877; H Davies 'A Walk Round London's Parks', 1983; D Green 'the Gardens and Parks at Hampton Court and Bushy' 1974; E Law 'History of Hampton Court Palace' 1985; M Sands 'The Gardens of Hampton Court' 1950; G Taylor 'Old London Gardens' 1977. John Archer, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Richmond upon Thames, Ecology Handbook 21', (London Ecology Unit) 1993 p49/50, 53.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ157684 (Palace)
Size in hectares:
277.89 (c24 of formal gardens)
Site ownership:
The Crown
Site management:
Historic Royal Palaces / Friends of The Wilderness
C16th onwards
(? Andre Mollet), Guillaume Beaumont, George London, Daniel Marot, Ernest Law
Listed structures:
LBI: Hampton Court Palace, Trophy Gate, C17th Barracks, Lion Gates. LBII*: The Wilderness House; Tudor Tiltyard Tower. LBII: Pavilion Terrace. (Numerous other LBs within site)
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade I
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Hampton Court
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance (with Bushy Pk)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Thames Policy Area
Other LA designation:

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