Hampton Court Palace or Tower of London

Old Jun 5th, 2007, 07:29 AM
  #1  
kdd
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Hampton Court Palace or Tower of London

Hi,

We are visiting London for 3 days in Nov. Husband and I have toured London previously and we have visited all the standard sights, however my mom and brother are first time visitors.

Should we visit Hampton Court palace which would be first time for all of us, or choose Tower of London instead? I vaguely remember that I was not particularly impressed with Tower of London, but that was a long while ago, so I would like to hear Fodorities' views on this.

Thanks
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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I would do both, but I really liked Hampton Court Palace very much.

Remember they have a Membership Scheme also (that is their name for it), it can be a better deal if you are going to see at least a couple of the royal palaces while there. It includes discounts to the restaurants and such too, and a book.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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I really don't know what to say when the discussion starts w/ "I was not particularly impressed with Tower of London". If the Tower wasn't impressive - HCP probably won't float your boat either. It is larger though so maybe that would impress you. One of the glories of the Palace are the grounds/gardens which will not be at their best in Nov.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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Weather can play a part in your choice. If it is cool and fair, it's a great experience to take the boat from Westminster Pier upriver on the Thames to Hampton Court Palace. A liesurely journey, made the way Henry VIII and so many others did. I am not sure if the boat runs as late as November. You would have to check. Otherwise, take a train from Waterloo Station and be there fairly quickly.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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I would say the Tower of London, especially for first time visitors. It is quintessentially London: you have the Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) tour, which is very well done, and the Crown Jewels. There's tons to see; I've been twice and still haven't seen many of the towers/buildings.

Plus, you only have 3 days, and Hampton Court could take more time out of the day, given the somewhat longer transportation time.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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jay
 
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If you go to Hampton you can also visit Kew which would be nice for your mom and brother. you can then have lunch in Richmond which is a very cool area.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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I would go with the Tower. Loads to see. HCP, (which is close to where I grew up,) is great in the spring/summer because the gardens are a real bonus, and you have the maze, but in November I'd go for the Tower. I still remember my first viewing of the Crown Jewels!
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Note that both are in the 2-for-1 entry scheme IF you don't prebook & have a valid train ticket / London Travelcard
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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I would do the tower.... go on a beefeater tour and see the crown jewels. I dont know how you could bo in london and not go to one of the largest sights there! My husband and I loved it (the tour was the best)
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 09:22 AM
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actually --I think we liked the tower the best out of all the sights in london. but then again we are into history
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Another vote for the Tower.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Well I think the Tower of London is about 5 time as impressive as Hampton Court Palace.

But- if you've seen the Tower and were not impressed - why not have your mom and brother go to the Tower while you do Hampton Court?

(It seems silly to repeat something you didn't love -
but why should they lose the chance to enjoy it?)
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 08:19 AM
  #13  
kdd
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Thanks for your input. We have decided on the Tower. I only have vague memories from the last visit, so it would be worthwhile to go see it one more time.

Should we expect long lines in mid Nov? Any tips for avoiding line/crowds?
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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To avoid crowds, I would recommend getting there as soon as it opens, which is 9 am on Tues-Sat, and 10 am on Sun-Mon. As soon as you get in, head right for the Crown Jewels, because that part can get really crowded. We got there very early, and it was not crowded at all for the first couple of hours, but began to get really crowded right before lunchtime. We also used the two-for-one coupons, which saved us quite a bit of money for a family of four. Actually, the Tower of London was the only place that actually asked to see our train tickets while using these coupons. I showed them our Oyster cards and my daughter's one-day travelcard for the Tube, and that was enough to use the coupon apparently. The Tower of London was definitely the highlight of our trip! Enjoy!
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I was so excited to see the Tower when I was in London and will go back again next trip because I didn't have very much time there. There is so much history attached to it. I love English history. I had chills standing on Tower Green..I was thinking more of Lady Jane Grey and Ann Howard that Ann Boleyn however. Ann B was old enough to know better, Jane and Ann H. were just children and political pawns.
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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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I agree, Creflor, about Tower Green. I was there one spring when the grass had just started greening and the crocuses were popping up all over the place. It just looked like the loveliest place, and then remembering the history, it gave me chills. And funny how people think of different victims: I thought about the woman who ran around the yard screaming to get away (don't remember her name but she was the wife of someone who had been accused of treason). I would definitely vote for the Tower. Plunges you right back into the history.
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