Jan 2nd, 2001, 08:27 PM
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I am coming to England w/ a tour group in June and we have one day in London on our own time. Should I stick to London sights or venture to Windsor (Henry VIII enthusiast)? Would hate to miss seeing the Tower as well.
Any suggestions?
Jan 2nd, 2001, 10:59 PM
Ben Haines
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I should think a Henry VIII enthusiast might chose a day shared between the Tower and Hampton Court. A day or two early you'd buy your combined Hampton Court rail and entry ticket at any main railway station and your Tower ticket at any tube station. You'd be at the Tower at opening time, skip the modern and rather vulgar crown jewels, and at midday take the Underground to Waterloo for Hampton Court.

I'm not sure there's much Henrican material at Windsor.

Please write if I can help further. Welcome to London.

Ben Haines

Jan 3rd, 2001, 04:37 AM
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As usual, Ben is spot on with his advice and I agree with most of it. For someone that has never seen the Crown Jewels I would suggest that you should really do that while you are at the Tower. Part of that decision will depend on the length of the queue to get into the Jewel House, but for a first timer you should see them.

The other advice is very correct, as Hampton Court is so tightly tied to Henry VIII, as I am sure you know since you are an enthusiast.
Jan 3rd, 2001, 04:53 AM
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Are you sure that your group won't be seeing the Tower anyway? It's usually
part of any basic sightseeing itinerary.
If not, then that is the #1 recommendation for Henry fans, followed by Hampton Court. Windsor has Henry's
tomb (with Jane Seymour), but not much else of him.
Jan 3rd, 2001, 09:29 AM
David White
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If you are a fan of Henry VIII, then Hampton Court is the place to go. The palace was the scene of much of the facinating history surrounding Henry's reign. Although it has been altered, much of Henry's palace is still visable.

It is said that Henry VIII played tennis (yes, tennis, but the original "real" tennis) at Hampton Court while one of his wives was being beheaded at the Tower of London. The indoor tennis court is still in use...although no one is losing his or her head during the games.


David White
Jan 3rd, 2001, 10:04 AM
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I agree with the Tower, followed by Hampton Court. If you get to the Tower when it first opens, you can walk right into the Jewel House and see the Crown Jewels quickly. They are worth seeing. At the Tower, you can see the spot where Anne Bolyn was beheaded, and the Queen's house where they kept her just before they beheaded her. Traitor's Gate gave me the chills, to think that Anne had walked right past where I was standing on her way to spend her last days on earth. Henry and Jane Seymour are resting under a stone in the floor of the chapel at Windsor Palace, but that is all you will see there, and the rest of the time there will be devoted to seeing the renovations that were done after the big fire a few years ago, but the crowds were so dense I didn't really see much there at all. (We were also there in June). You should be able to easily do both the Tower and Hampton Court in one day. Don't miss the maze at Hampton Court. Kinda fun.
Jan 3rd, 2001, 11:41 AM
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Dear GNS

It would be interesting to know whether your particular tour company as noted above has included any of the discussed sites in their plans. We went with Globus and they did an overall get aquainted tour of Londons interesting sites ie St. Pauls, Trafalgar, Houses of Parliment, Big Ben etc. Hampton Court Palace was included in the tour and for a Henry VIII enthusiast this is your treat of the trip. We had 3 days added on to the tour at the end so my husband and I could stay in London and complete all we wanted to see that the tour did not offer. We did see the Tower of London (see it if you can. This is a treat), Tower Bridge near by, the Great Museums, Houses of Parliment (we had a treat we got to go into the house during a meeting. We saw all these people standing outside in line and decided to wait and actually got in), Westminster Abbey, Horse guards parade grounds, Buckingham Palace, London Dungeon. We had our travel agent arrange the extra days for the hotel and we did the research and had no trouble exploring on our own using the public transportation. I bought a HALLwag map at a bookstore and it was a city map of London and it had all the sites listed on the map it was most helpful. Enjoy your tour. When I found out about this site through a fodors travel book I was helped by a lovely gentlemen by the name of Ben Haines before my trip to London. I see he is still helping others explore his home. Thank you Ben for all the help you gave me before my trip to London a couple of years ago. You are an awesome asset to this site and your Country.

Peace Robbie
Jan 3rd, 2001, 12:51 PM
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GNS, I can't comment on Hampton Court, but I did make it to Windsor. It was fine, but I don't believe guides are allowed to explain it to you inside the castle. I understand that there is an audioguide you can rent, but I felt like I was missing a lot by just walking through the castle.

On the other hand, I have to say that I enjoyed the tour at the Tower of London quite a bit. We did one of the free tours, and it was great. They walked us around and told us the history. The tour ended in a small chapel, where more fascinating stories were told. Not to be missed.
Jan 12th, 2001, 09:17 AM
Ben Haines
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The best way to rise to these kind words is to add that if in May you go into, then into "Education" you'll find a calendar for public lectures in June. This may have something for you on Henry VIII. For example, there are two lectures on him in the February list.

Ben Haines

Jan 12th, 2001, 11:24 AM
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I can't say enough about Hampton Court. It has spectacular gardens. I saw it in '98 and didn't get to see the Tower until this year. I much preferred Hampton Court.

I suppose what I like best about it, beyond the mind-boggling history, is that different parts of it reflect the different eras, from Henry to William and Mary to the 19th century. The different architectural styles are fascinating. Not to mention that world-famous maze!

The previously mentioned tennis court is something to see. It's actually the spot where Prince Edward met his wife-to-be Sophie Ryhs-Jones during a benefit match years ago.
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