Take a summer trip to Hampton Court Palace – and check out the mystifying maze.
300 years ago, the aristocracy didn’t have ceaseless social media updates to generate feelings of anxiety, alienation and ennui. No, they had to generate such feelings themselves, and one such approach was to grow one’s own claustrophobia-inducing hedge maze, like this one in Hampton Court. [Get tickets here.]
Dating back to the late 1600s, this horticultural headscratcher was designed for William III, after he (probably) yelled ‘I WANT TO GET LOST IN SOME HEDGES, SON!’ having developed an ear infection known to this day as ‘labyrinthitis.’
The maze, which contains over half-a-mile of baffling paths and takes about 20 minutes to complete (easily long enough to add an element of genuine friction to your relationship) is just one of the many regal attractions at the historic royal palace. [For something closer to town, you can take a tour of Buckingham Palace.]
This summer, a large Magic Garden is available for families to enjoy with slides, fountains DRAGONS, and other entertaining diversions inspired by the Palace’s history:
Meanwhile, the non-magic gardens around the complex are in glorious bloom.
The palace itself was created in the early 1500s and was home to Britain’s monarchs for over 200 years, until it was opened to the public in the early 19th century. As such, a tour of the property is simply bursting with history. Notably, the palace was home to all-round bad egg Henry VIII, who quite liked playing tennis here, in-between executing wives etcetera.
The gorgeous grounds regularly host classy events to augment your visit. There are open-air cinema screenings in early August, along with a food festival towards the end of August, evening talks, events with historical re-enactors and more besides.
Get in touch with your inner Renaissance (wo)man this summer with a stroll through royal history.
Location: Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court, 30 mins from London Waterloo. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: seven days a week, 10am – 6pm. (Last entry 5pm.)
Price: £19.20 for grown-ups, £9.60 for kids: book in advance here.
More information: on their website.