Windsor Castle or Hampton Court??

Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:14 AM
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Windsor Castle or Hampton Court??

We will have 1 day to visit either place. Windsor Castle plus the town of Windsor looks like a nice day out. Hampton Court looks like fun also. We will have our 13 yr. old GD with us in June on a Friday. "Matilda" that night so want to be back at our hotel by about 16:00-17:00.

I've done much research on both but just can't decide between the 2.
Any suggestions?
Our hotel is near The Eye---we're hoping to go on our own, not a tour. Which is easier to get to from our location? What time would you suggest we get the train?
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:51 AM
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My vote is strongly in favor of Windsor Castle. While I enjoyed Hampton Court, I found Windsor much more impressive and a nice town as well.

It's not hard to travel by train to either location. I like getting an early start, so I would look and see what time the place opens and then pick a train departure time that gets you there as close to that (or a bit earlier) as possible.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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If time is an issue, as it appears to be, buy tickets for Windsor in advance:

http://tickets.royalcollection.org.u...stle-2014/2014
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 12:27 PM
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Close call but Windsor would be my choice having been to each several times. Both are great day trips but Windsor is much more than the Castle - a hopping regional shopping town and you have Eton, just across the Thames Bridge - a world of its own - peek into the various stately quads and watch future prime ministers walk around in their formal black suits - on the playing field you can watch future wars being won.

Windsor and Eton yes

Sans Eton I'd go to Hampton Court - perhaps part way by boat - Kingston to Hampton Court. The Maze will amaze teens.

If going to Windsor take one train line there and the other back - the one to Waterloo (I think) follows the Thames a lot and goes thru really leafy bucolic areas.

the main line to Windsor from Paddington is a boring Putz compared to the other line; both lines terminate at Windsor. The Windsor Central station in the town center is a gem - check out the fancy royal carriages in a museum-like part.

Riverside station is just buy the Eton Bridge.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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Both are great but w/ a teenager -- I'd 100% recommend Hampton Court Palace over Windsor . . .

• The Medieval kitchens - kids LOVE them!
• the Anne Boleyn/Henry VIII connections
• the Maze
• the historic characters/renactments

Plus it is covered by your Oyster cards . . .
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 01:46 PM
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I would definitely do Hampton Court over Windsor Castle.

My mother is from Old Windsor, by the way.

Thin
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 02:10 PM
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Just to clarify re being covered by the Oyster -- I was talking about transport getting there -- not admission charges.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 02:23 PM
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I too would choose Hampton Court. The gardens will be lovely, the maze is fun and I find the building more interesting than Windsor castle. Grew up near both and have visited them many times.
If you can manage the boat trip too that would be added fun, but given your time restraints you may not be able to.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Definitely would vote for Hampton Court Palace. My son was 10 when we visited and he absolutely loved it. They had live kitchen demonstrations going on that day so he lit the kinder box and turned the meat on the spigot in the Tudor kitchens.

He loved wandering around the massive gardens and they do costumed recreations throughout the day.

For Windsor you have to wait on a very long security line and then the ticket line so you have to factor that time into your day. The doll house was very nice but after 15 minutes of trying to look at all sides and jockeying for position against the crowds, it just didn't have the same appeal as sprawling Hampton Court Palace. And you wait on a separate line to get into the doll house too because of crowd control.

Hampton Court also has the maze. It doesn't feel as crowded there because I think it is spread out more and it is a lot of fun.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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Just to clarify re being covered by the Oyster -- I was talking about transport getting there -- not admission charges.>

and the 2 for 1 offer is I believe in effect at Hampton Court (sounds like a hotel chain!) - not sure but think so - maybe 2 for 1 at Windsor too but think not.

All in all for kids I agree with the consensus above - Hampton will be much more exciting and much less crowded.

At Christmas time there have a really neat special decor and lots of performers, etc.

I always thought that Hampton Court was sadly overlooked by most London tourists - to me an incredible place.

and for kids and adults you can walk along the Thames to the nearby Molesey Lock, extant since 1815 an old-fashioned lock you can see working - take the Thames path a bit upstream from Hampton Court.

http://www.visitthames.co.uk/about-t...s/molesey-lock
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 05:42 PM
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While Windsor is a truly historic castle there is much less of it open than Hampton Court. And the latter provides a much more detailed picture of what life was like in a totally different age. IMHO two or 3 times as interesting for the average kid.

As for shopping in Windsor - you can shop anywhere and I have don;t see visiting Eton unless you have family there.
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 04:16 AM
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Just the type of info I was looking for. Thanks.
Hampton Court it is.
I would think the lines will be long in June.
Do they have skip the line tickets ahead of time?
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 04:20 AM
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http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPa...courtadmission
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 04:26 AM
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t see visiting Eton unless you have family there.>

Have you visited Eton? Sounds like a no given your criteria.

Eton is a fascinating small town reeking with history - just brings to life my ideas about posh English private schools - seeing the boys traipsing around in the black suits - etc. Not sure what you can't like about Eton - and there are some ancient pubs also that make nice lunch spots - escape the tourist mobs in Windsor by crossing the small humpbacked bridge to Eton if going to Windsor.
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 05:19 AM
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Yes but the OP is talking about a 13 year old girl. I would think an obscure British system of private education for a very few ultra wealthy is of little interest to her - compared to interactive displays about the lives of everyone in a different historic age would be.

Many people are not enthused about the doings of a few very rich, spoiled kids (any more than they would be about visiting Choate or similar in the US).
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 05:53 AM
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There is alot to see in the Hampton Court area. The river is prettier in this area than in Windsor IMO.

For something to eat/drink, near to Hampton Court is a pretty road (Bridge Road) with delis/cafe and pubs, restaurants (eg Le Petit Nantais, new Lebanese restaurant)and interesting shops. I think this is overlooked by most tourists.

Also Bushy Park which was the original grand entrance to Hampton Court is a lovely place to take a walk, amongst the chestnut trees, deers etc and to see the Diana fountain.

If shopping is required, there is Turks Ferry which goes from Hampton Court pier to either Kingston (a local town which has just had it's ancient market square renovated) or Richmond. You can also walk along the river Thames path to Kingston upon Thames.

The nice thing about HCP is there is almost always something going on, eg food festival or at the moment it's Florimania.
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 06:19 AM
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You can buy tickets for either place online or by phone in advance. Also, I don't actually think your lines will be too terrible on a Friday in June because most UK schools are not out yet by then.

Sounds like you have decided on HCP which you will love but just to give a few more tips based on my taking friends/relatives to both locations many times.

To me, the biggest difference between the two sites is that with Hampton Court, you are visiting Hampton Court Palace and surrounding gardens, maze etc with a possible stroll along the Thames. There is nothing else of any special interest IMO. But who cares because HCP is fascinating and a great outing by itself.

With Windsor, you are visiting a town of which the castle is just one site (albeit the most impressive one). When I take visitors to Windsor, we usually spend 2 hours in the castle (3 if I have a pokey relative)and the rest of the day doing other things like taking a 45 minute boat cruise on the Thames, walking over to Eton, walking about 10 minutes along the Thames to the Romney Lock (my kids love to watch amateurs try to bring their rental boats into the lock), shopping, having lunch, etc...

I personally find HCP more interesting to walk through because it often has art exhibits along with the apartments etc and you get to see the "working elements" like the old kitchens. Plus the gardens are beautiful and relaxing and the maze is fun. There are no gardens to speak of within Windsor castle other than in the old "moat" area so if you are a garden lover, you should definitely see HCP.

On the other hand, Windsor castle has sheer scale, age, and history and I love the dollhouse, visiting the Chapel and being able to stand on the wall and see the view over the Thames valley and town of Windsor. But mostly what I love about Windsor is the entire town and doing the activities I mentioned above.

Personally, I think that most 13 year old girls would prefer Windsor due to the variation of sightseeing (and access to shops) But anyway, your time constraints would probably steer you towards HCP unless you are early birds.

Since you are located by Waterloo, it is easiest for you to take the SouthWest train from Waterloo to Hampton Court - 35 minutes by train. WAT to Windsor/Eton Riverside is just as easy from Waterloo on Southwest trains BUT is typically 50-55min. Trains every half hour on average so you could easily do either place but want to get an earlier start for Windsor as you would need to be on 3:30ish train to be back at Waterloo by 4:30 to get ready for Matilda (which is so great by the way)

you will have a great time at either place!!!
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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NYtraveler I agree with you about a 13 yr old - my comments were only IF anyone is going to Windsor do not neglect the short time it takes to cross the bridge and see the world's most famous prep school and its neat old architecture.

13 yr old will infinitely enjoy Hampton Court or a 1000 other things more than mobbed Windsor Castle - except perhaps fofr the Crown Jewels that may even turn the head of a gal that young!

https://www.google.com/search?q=wind...=1600&bih=1075
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 09:19 AM
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Windsor Castle does NOT participate in the 2for1 offers, HCP does.

They are equally easy to get to from your hotel because trains from Waterloo go to both.
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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Well I can understand touring Oxford - since there is a lot to see/do between the Ashmolean, Bodelein and parts of the various colleges as well as a host of other sites. But IMHO looking at a prep school - however old - seems totally boring - unless you are planning on sending a son there. And I've been to Windsor several times - and while it's not bad for a quick lunch - don't see it as any major shopping area - esp for someone who is staying in London.
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