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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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New arrangements for access to the Hampton Court Gardens

Changes to Gardens Charging in 2016

Ticketing arrangements for the palace’s formal gardens have changed in 2016.

• From 1 March 2016: visitors will be able to purchase a Magic Garden/Maze only ticket, and a Palace/Gardens ticket, which will also include the Magic Garden and Maze. There will no longer be a separate gardens ticket.
• From Winter 2016: visitors will be asked to show a valid ticket or membership card in order to access the Formal Gardens on the East and South Fronts, a policy which is already in operation for most of the year.
• For a one year trial period, from 15 April 2016, the palace’s East Front formal gardens will be free to access between the hours of 9am and 10am.
• The palace’s formal gardens will also be open for free on the following dates during the palace’s summer season:
o National Garden Open Day: Friday 15 April, 2016.
o For the duration of the Hampton Court Flower Show: 5 – 10 July 2016.
o For the duration of Open House weekend: 17 – 18 September 2016.
• The vast majority of the Hampton Court Palace estate, including the Wilderness, the newly restored Kitchen Garden, and the Rose Garden will remain free to access.. In addition to this, Home Park, which comprises of 750 acres of parkland, will continue to be free to enjoy.
• All-year-round pedestrian access to Home Park will continue to be maintained via Ditton Gate, Kingston Gate, Paddock Gate and Surbiton Passage Gate. For the first time, access to the park via Jubilee Gate will also be maintained all year round.

An explanation of changes to gardens tickets at Hampton Court Palace

From 2016, we will be asking all visitors to show a valid ticket or membership card in order to access the Formal Gardens on the East and South Fronts during the winter, a policy which is already in operation for most of the year.

The vast majority of our 800 acre estate will remain free for people to enjoy throughout the year, including Home Park, the newly-restored Royal Kitchen Garden, the West Front, Wilderness, the Rose Garden and the three-mile Barge Walk between Hampton Court and Kingston Bridges.

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity receiving no Government or Crown funding and we care for Hampton Court Palace and its surrounding landscape at no cost to the taxpayer. We raise all our own funds and rely on income generated from ticket sales, membership, retail, catering and other commercial activities in order to conserve and maintain this magnificent building and its landscape.

The costs of maintaining Hampton Court and its estate are significant and we have to use our resources responsibly, effectively and efficiently to ensure that the palace and its gardens can be enjoyed for many years to come.

These changes to access arrangements for the formal gardens are necessary and we feel it is the right time to put these plans in place. Season tickets for the formal gardens have declined over the years to the extent that we only sold 34 tickets in 2014. In contrast, we have over 80,000 Members and welcome nearly 600,000 visitors to the palace every year. Membership, which starts from £38 for an individual or £63 for two adults, represents far better value for money for regular visitors, offering unlimited access to Hampton Court and the five other palaces in our care all year round.

There are a number of other practical reasons for the changes. The opening of the new Magic Garden has meant that we’ve had to look closely at staffing levels and ticketing arrangements across the site. In addition, we aren’t currently able to offer the full experience we would like to provide for visitors in the formal gardens and we would like to introduce more interpretation to help people explore their history and significance. Finally, we hope to be able to reopen the beautiful Little Banqueting House on a more frequent basis as a result of these changes.

As a charity, we are committed to preserving Hampton Court so that we can continue to share its fascinating history with the widest possible audience, including local schools, charities and community groups.

Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 22nd Nov 8:00 pm

TALK by John Sheaf, “Bushy Park and the surrounding area in old photographs”

Latest report

On the morning of Saturday 3 November a group of members of the Friends assisted Sharon Evans, the Bushy Park Head Gardener, in planting an area of the Woodland Gardens.

Full report...