Driving through London is basically traffic hell, but we (read: Addam) managed it. The previous few days of bus, and train riding had been a nice break from the car. The convenience of parking at a camping ground outside of the city, outweighed the inconvenience of using public transport to get into traffic logged London.

But today we visited King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court. We had to stop by an Apple store to buy an accessory for Addam’s Macbook. Luckily there was one just 3-4 miles away from Hampton Court.

Of course, 3-4 miles in London can often translate into 30-40 minutes of driving time. As usual, pulling up into Hampton Court is a strange mix of the historical, and the modern; an ancient palace siting smack in the middle of 21st century London. And kids. Always thousands of loud, obnoxious kids.

Hampton Court Palace

This palace is in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, and is one of only two remaining palaces owned by Henry VIII.

I was really excited to see this palace due to going through a mega fangirl Tudor phase in high school. I told Addam, as we walked through Hampton Court, that this was my favorite palace of the trip; although I think I have told him that every time we go to a new palace so… clearly I have problems with perspective while on holiday.

When we arrived it was lightly raining, a normal part of London life, which made photography difficult. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe we walked through the gardens first, before entering the house itself.

This palace was special because it wasn’t just the place where Henry VIII lived, it also houses some original artwork made famous through the history books. I was particularly taken with the family portrait of Henry, his son Edward and wife Jane, knowing that it was a falsified scene because Jane Seymour died shortly after she birthed their son. In the portrait Edward is already a grown boy.

Unlike many of the Scottish castles, this one was furnished, which gave us a far better understanding of what it would have been like to be in the palace during its glory days.

The London Pass

I did some research on the London Pass before we arrived in London, and determined that it would probably be financially smarter to get the London Pass which allows you access to many of the attractions around the city.

We weren’t sure if we were going to use it to its potential and get our money’s worth, but turned out we made our 3 day pass worth it by the end of the very first day. Here is a list of the attractions we entered with the London Pass and their regular cost:

  • Sightseeing London Bus – £25 x = £50
  • Tower of London – £25 x 2 = £50
  • British Museum Special Exhibit – £16.50 x 2 = £338
  • Shakespeare’s Globe – £15 x 2 = £30
  • Westminster Abbey – £20 x 2 = £40
  •  Kensington Palace – £16.30 x 2 = £33
  • Hampton Court Palace – £21  x 2 = £42

 Total = £278 / £139 per person 

Yeah that’s a TON of money in US$ – don’t even get me started on what that would be in AUS$.

We paid £83 (normally priced at £95 but even at this higher rate we still saved money) each for the 3 day Adult London Pass. So all in we saved £56 per person / £112 total. So the London Pass definitely ended up paying for itself and being worth it.

On top of monetary savings, most of the venues you get to skip the lines and go right in instead of queuing up to buy a ticket. Also, we only did 7 of the 60 attractions the pass gets you into.

The 3 day pass does have a £295 “purse value” limit. That means you can go to as many attractions as you want up to a £295 value. It would be pretty difficult I think to reach that limit though. We felt like we did a ton in only 2 days, and as you can see only made it to £139 used per pass. Getting the pass was definitely the right decision.

The only thing I’d recommend before purchasing is make sure you at least have a reasonable plan to attend enough venues to make the pass pay for itself. It is a waste if you get it, and only go a couple of attractions, but is a huge savings if you make it pay for itself.

Folkestone Airbnb

After Hampton Court we had wanted to visit Anne Boleyn’s family home of Hever Castle but we were too strapped for time. We needed to drive all the way to Dover – a 2 hour drive in good traffic. The weather cleared the further we drove south, and when we arrived in Dover the sun was shining over the channel between England, and France.

On the drive over to Dover we had booked an airbnb. It was the first time we tried airbnb and we were very impressed! We stayed in the neighboring town of Folkestone in seaside house.