Hampton Court or Windsor Castle?

Old May 7th, 2001, 04:17 PM
  #1  
CB
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Hampton Court or Windsor Castle?

Will be staying in London for a week at the end of May and will do 1 day trip from London on our own. Have narrowed our choices down to Hampton Court(Castle, Gardens and maybe boat back)and Windsor Castle(Castle, City and Eton) but can't decide on which one,...Augh!
Want to take a trip where we won't be herded with the crowds(or fight them)and where we can leisurely take our time and enjoy. Thanks
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 04:38 PM
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Debs
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CB-Tough choice if you only have time for one day trip. Having been to both, I would suggest Windsor Castle and the surrounding area, including Eton. Definitely tour the castle, and the fabulous grounds (including the Long Walk), St George's Chapel (burial site of monarchs), and allow some time to explore Eton. Take the train from London to Windsor (when seated, be on the left hand side of the train and you'll have a fantastic view of the castle as you approach Windsor). There are numerous places to shop and eat in Windsor. Happy Travels
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 04:41 PM
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kam
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CB, Now just to confuse you, I'll offer exactly the opposite suggestion--go to Hampton Court on the boat up the Thames! That said, either trip is lovely, it's you who must decide, and you can't go wrong with either. You might read a bit about the history of each place and see if that swings you to one over the other. On the other hand, if you'll be in London on a Sunday, very little is going on in the city and so you might want to do two different day trips and see each of these. Both can be quite leisurely in May. Enjoy.
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 04:54 PM
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Jane
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CB: I have been to both places and offer a suggestion. Windsor Castle is my first choice; however, on the chance there is a state visit, you should check while still in London to learn what parts are not open to the public. This happened to us a couple of years ago when the Queen was hosting a dinner at Windsor for some foreign dignitary. Only a small portion of the Castle was accessible that day - a big disappointment for my daughter and friend. If there is no state occasion, arrive in time to see the Changing of the Guard - much more personal than at Buckingham Palace.

Enjoy your trip!
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 05:46 PM
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Judy
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CB, that is a tough one. Went to both right before the F&M outbreak in Feb. I loved both, but a give a "slight" edge to Windsor. Besides the Queen Mary's Doll house, I loved the furniture in the Castle. In fact, seeing that fabulous furniture was a highlight of my trip there.
The little town of Windsor is just wonderful too. The only negative I had was that St. George's Chapel was closed to the public, because there was some type of state funeral being held that day.
Yet, Hampton Courts kitchens were fabulous. We also had a light lunch in their little cafe that had wonderful atmosphere. Probably as far as crowds go, I think Hampton will be less crowded, plus their self guided audiotour is first rate. Difficult decision
I hope this helps just a lttle.
Judy
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 06:37 PM
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Karen
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Quite a few years ago, we did both in one day on the Green Line Bus from Victoria Bus Station...got off in Windsor and when we were finished, waited for the next bus and off to Hampton Court and back to London early evening. We have also gone one way down the Thames, too slow for us, but for those that have the time and like that type thing, it would be wonderfully restful and a pretty trip.
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 07:50 PM
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OP
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Since you mention your concern regarding crowds I would have to cast my vote for Hampton Court. When we were there in May it was totally empty and we had the place to ourselves. I felt like history was all around me and I could spend some time really appreciating the castle and grounds. I've also read that many people claim it's haunted! Windsor was ok but not nearly as quaint and personal. We sheep-plodded through and when I left I felt sort of unsatisfied, although I got an incredible deal at one of the nearby shops on two wool blankets that I adore to this day.
One very strong recommendation I would make about this area is to try to go to The Compleat Angler for lunch. Located in Marlow near Henley (30 miles west of London) you will absolutely have the experience of a lifetime. It is a very pricey, beautiful brick and stucco hotel/restaurant with lush, green lawns that overlooks a weir where kayakers are practicing their rolls. Inside is luxerious (sp?) with unusual stained glass fish set into the casement windows. The food is superb and the atmosphere is old England. Reservations are a must: telephone (06284)4444 or fax (06284) 6388. I just got out my picture albums and a flood of memories is coming back! hmmmm, that pate!
 
Old May 7th, 2001, 08:03 PM
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CB
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Thanks everyone for your comments, I'm still torn between the two, they both seem great. Thanks for the reminder concerning Windsor Castle, I will check to be sure the Queen isn't in residence when we may go, She may make up our minds for us. May not decide until we get to London on which to see. I saw some previous posts that Hampton Court and Kew Gardens could be done as one day trip. Is that feasible or does it seem too much for 1 day? Thanks again!
 
Old May 8th, 2001, 06:13 AM
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DSK
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Windsor, Windsor, Windsor!
There is not just the castle, St. Georges chapel and the doll houses but the town is wonderful. Spend some time shoping or just wandering.
 
Old May 8th, 2001, 09:17 AM
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David White
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CB,

Yes, you could see Hampton Court and Kew Gardens in one, long day. Kew is a fantastic sight for any gardener or would-be gardener. However you do it, plan on 3-4 hours at each location.

I've even heard from people who've done Windsor and Hampton Court in one day. I would advise against it, because you would shortchange one or the other.

In balance, I would give a SLIGHT nod to Windsor/Eton as a day trip, but only slight. If the crowds at the castle are large, you can get away from them by walking to Eton or taking a stroll in Windsor Great Park.

Both Windsor and Hampton Court are easy to reach by train from London. (FYI: there are two rail stations in Windsor, both are walking distance to the Castle, so pick the train that departs from the rail station in London that is most convenient for you. Be sure to take the train, not the Underground, to reach Hampton Court...the Underground involves a bus transfer).

Hope this helps, but you can't make a wrong decision.

Dave White
http://www.KidsToLondon.com
 
Old May 9th, 2001, 04:47 AM
  #11  
CB
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Thanks for all your comments. It comments like yours that make this a wonderful site. Thanks
 
Old May 9th, 2001, 10:00 AM
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Jim
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We took a boat trip from Westminster to Hampton Court to see the Flower Show there. It was one of the most spectactular jounneys I've had. The boat trip was probably the highlight. The Thames is beautiful when viewed from the water.

Jim
 
Old May 9th, 2001, 11:12 AM
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Roger
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Been to both and I would opt for Hampton. Maybe it just that I am not into doll houses as a major attraction. In my opinion Hampton offers more. The maze is fun and the gardens are great. Don't forget the old tennis court. Better yet, skip both and go to York instead!
 
Old May 9th, 2001, 03:10 PM
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Lucy
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I would also go for Hampton - the buildings are really fascinating, the gardens are spectacular & like the previous poster said the maze is a lot of fun ( I got completely lost in there & had to come out the way I went in!).
 
Old May 9th, 2001, 03:33 PM
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Rich
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Which train station should I use to reach Hampton Ct.? And how far away is Kew Gardens from Hampton?

Thanks
 
Old May 10th, 2001, 05:42 AM
  #16  
CB
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Thanks again for the posts. Roger your right about York, spent 2 night there on our 1st trip to England and loved it.
I'm now leaning toward Hampton Court(I'd love a maze) with the train going and the river coming back. We may even include Kew Gardens,if time and energy permit but we'll make that decision then. Rich, I've read that Kew gardens is a 12 pound black cab ride away from Hampton Court if that helps. I'll use London's Waterloo station if we go to Hampton Court as they have 2 trains hourly to there. To get to Kew Gardens from London I know you can use the tube which live I do not yet know. Thanks again for all the great help. CB
 
Old May 10th, 2001, 10:26 AM
  #17  
anna
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Lucy, everyone comes out the way they went in at the Hampton Court maze. The goal in that one is to find the center where the two big trees and the benches are. We yanks are used to mazes where the object is to find your way OUT via a different exit. That is apparently not the case at Hampton Court.
CB, I vote for Hampton court also. Much more history there and much less crowded. I'm a big Henry VIII fan and even though he rests beneath the floor of the Chapel at Windsor, I felt his presence much more strongly everywhere at Hampton Court.
 
Old May 10th, 2001, 11:03 PM
  #18  
Lucy
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Pheeew! What a relief...& here I was the last couple of years wondering why as a sophisticated traveller I wasn't capable of finding my way out of the maze! ;-)
Thanks for letting me know Anna & as it happens I did make it to the seats in the middle so I guess I'm not a failure afterall!!! Cheers!
 

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