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Windsor or Hampton Court?

I'm not sure we will have time to do both. Which would you prefer if you had to choose?

Posted by
8674 posts

To me it depends on several things.

-Windsor Castle
- currently a royal residence
- more likely to be closed due to a Royal function
- Has a neat changing of the guard
- Takes less time to get to and see
- Chapel is very neat as are State rooms
- check to see if they have an interesting special exhibition

Hampton Court
- Huge place especially if you have time for the gardens and Maze and Tennis court!
- longer train ride, longer walk from the station
- great if you have any interest in Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII
- love the Kitchens and nearby gardens
-I enjoy it more on a sunny day so I can enjoy the outside areas

For me visiting Hampton Court takes a whole day. I have also spent a whole day at Windsor Castle but most people can do it in half a day including the train ride.

How much time do you have to spend on your excursion?

Posted by
7124 posts

Great summation by Pam.
Windsor is quite spectacular and nice to look at, but Hampton Court really transports you back to a different time and place.

Posted by
77 posts

Wow. They both sound really wonderful. I appreciate your recommendations on time allotment also. We will only be in London for about three or four days, so I am trying to figure out how to do everything we possibly can in that time. We are coming back from York in a car on the morning of the 21st, so we were thinking of stopping at Hampton court on the way back, and then dropping the rental car off at the airport and then heading back into London by tube to stay until the 24th. So yes. Trying to do as much as we can.

Posted by
8674 posts

Amy, they both really ARE wonderful but it's OK to save one til your next trip, lol!

They both also have a different feel to me. Windsor Castle is right in the middle of town and it is sort of shocking to walk out of the rail station and see the big thing right across the street. Hampton Court has a much more stately approach...down a drive that has lawn on either side. Also Castle (fortification that people built on to and now live in) vs Palace (built to live in)...I think I've got that right. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong on that.

I don't know if there is a car drop in the Hampton Court area but it is easy to take the train in to London.

Posted by
268 posts

Amy - quick question: as you are coming from York, is there a way to drop your car up north? Its dead easy to get to London by train from York, and it saves you a hassle with the car.

As to which I would do - thats a difficult call as both are fantastic in my view. You wont go wrong with either. If you end up doing Windsor, as you exit the castle, ask one of the guards for directions to the Two Brewers Pub, at the entrance to the old road to London. When you walk in the front door, you are in a small cubicle - a door to the left says 'This Bar', the one to the right says 'That Bar'. They just lead to opposite sides of the pub. :)

Posted by
77 posts

I will find out about our options to drop the car off. I would rather come in by train, but there are five of us and we can go by car cheaper. At least that's my husband's argument!

Posted by
3312 posts

You can also drop the car on the way to London, say Luton or St Albans, and take a commuter line in to the city. It's nice to coordinate the car drop off with where your London lodging is located, whether it is near or Thameslink or tube station, else you can lose a half day putzing around with a less than elegant solution.

Posted by
670 posts

Windsor Castle was the last sight we saw on our 30-day UK trip. It was really spectacular and special to realize that the Royal family walks the grounds. Hampton Court was a full-day excursion, but that was because we enjoyed the historical vignettes by actors that took place during summer. There was also a food fest on the grounds, and the gardens are really lovely. You'll need to check to see if Windsor is open when you want to go. Check to see if there are additional special events at Hampton that might make it special. If there aren't, maybe you can combine the Hampton Court day with a visit to Kew Gardens.

Posted by
643 posts

I visited Windsor and took the Windsor Castle tour last week. It was outstanding. The audio guide was terrific. Really enjoyed it and highly recommend the tour! It is a short train ride to Slough from Paddington, then an easy transfer to the short train ride to Windsor from there. Same day return train ticket is only 10 pounds.