Hampton Court Palace - (C) Shutterstock user Liliya Sayfeeva Trott
"Buckingham Palace is constantly crowded with tourists, and Kensington Palace is currently sheathed in scaffolding. For a glimpse into Britain’s royal history, what’s a local to do?" asks Tremayne from London city guide HG2. Read on for his review of Hampton Court Palace - the perfect day trip from London.

"We think Hampton Court Palace makes for a perfect London road trip for those seeking a taste of bygone Britain. The castle and its grounds are undeniably gorgeous, and with Zipcar, it’s just a quick drive from the centre of London. Hampton Court Palace (East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU, 0844 482 7777, www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace), located on the Western outskirts of the city, was originally built for Henry VIII’s advisor Cardinal Wolsey in 1514. After Wolsey fell out of favour, the King expanded it for his own inhabitancy. The long construction project was finally completed in 1694, and the elegant structure, famously made from pink-hued bricks, today combines Tudor and Baroque architecture. Intended to rival Versailles, the Palace is one of only two surviving homes of Henry VIII.

 
The French Table © The French Table Facebook
 
After you’ve had a look around the Palace, including sites like Anne Boleyn’s Gate and the scenic Fountain Court, it’s likely that you’ve worked up an appetite. Motor over to nearby French Table (85 Maple Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4AW, 020 8399 2365, http://www.thefrenchtable.co.uk) for a languorous and decadent lunch – it’s only a 10-minute drive, skirting the southern edge of the Thames, away from the Palace. The restaurant draws in diners from all over the area with its masterful French-Mediterranean fare, and it’s easy to see why with dishes like Magret of duck with shallot tarte tatin and spring green fondue populating the menu.
 
Prince of Wales Pub © Prince of Wales Facebook
 
For a more casual midday meal, the Prince of Wales (23 Bridge Road, East Molesey, KT8 9EU, 020 8979 5561, http://princeofwaleskt8.co.uk) is a local favourite, and easily accessible to day-trippers – it’s only a three-minute trip from the Palace. Featuring a leafy garden, stylishly outfitted dining room, and a lunch menu fit to bursting with tidy versions of pub classics, it’s ideal for punters seeking that just-so relaxed atmosphere.
 
Richmond Park - Shutterstock user arturasker
 
Don’t head back to central London just yet – after lunch, there’s still plenty of time to explore the Hampton Court Palace area’s other attractions. Richmond Park (Richmond, TW10 5HS, 0300 061 2200, http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/richmond-park/), the largest London Royal Park, is a tranquil sanctuary, featuring herds of deer, acres of greenery, and sights like the Isabella Plantation ornamental woodland garden. There’s no better way to recover from an indulgent lunch than a scenic stroll around its grounds. 
 
Wimbledon Museum - Shutterstock user Leonard Zhukovsky
 
A diverting final stop on the way back to London is the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum (The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Gate Four, Church Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AG, 020 8946 6131, http://www.aeltc.com/museum), a 20-minute drive along the A308 from Hampton Court Palace and the world’s largest tennis museum. Designed to appeal to sporting fans and casual followers alike, the museum houses past Wimbledon trophies, a collection of Wimbledon attire, a cinema, and artefacts dating all the way back to 1555.
 
History lovers don’t have to put up with the congestion of the city centre to see the sights. Just a short drive out of town, Hampton Court Palace and the surrounding area provide the ideal opportunity for a spot of culture. Hop in your Zipcar and you’ll be there in no time."
 
Have you been to Hampton Court Palace? What's your verdict? Do you have any other tips for day trips from London?
 
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