I would like to take the train to HCP and return to London by boat. Is there one place one can purchase tickets to both and, if so, can they be purchased before leaving the U.S.? Thanks!
Westminster Passenger Services Association run from Westminster Pier (just down river from Parliament) to Kew and Hampton Court. Daily sailings have just restarted in the last couple of weeks and will continue until the end of October. I can't answer your second and third questions, but they have a website, so you could ask them: http://wpsa.co.uk/index.html The boat leaves Hampton Court at 15.00, arrives Westminster 18.00 and it costs £15. Southwest Trains operate the Waterloo to Hampton Court service. A single is £6.60 and there is no advantage to buying your ticket in advance. See www.southwesttrains.co.uk
I don't see the advantage in getting the boat tickets in advance. They won't sell out, and are you willing to either take the boat no matter how bad the weather is for the sailing you pre-purchase or eat the cost of the tickets?
I was just at Hampton Court yesterday! Lovely way to spend a day and one of my favorite palaces to go to! I have gone via boat and train and like the others I see no need to purchase tickets in advance. I love taking the boat there - the Thames is such an important part of the history of London. If you start in Westminster you get to see how vibrant the river is and then as your go towards Kew, Richmond and Hampton Court you get another sense of the river - how it can be a place of leisure. You would hardly know you are on the same river.
Have a wonderful time!
Thanks so much!!