5 Things to Do at Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival

The Tulip Festival at Hampton Court Palace is one of the best times to visit this gem right outside of London. The festival features over 110,000 tulips of all colors and varieties, planted in the palace’s gardens and courtyards. Of course, the name gives away that you’ll be seeing tulips left and right. However, the tulips aren’t the only reason to visit the Palace at this time of year. Check out below the top 5 things for you to do at the Tulip Festival at Hampton Court Palace.

A girl in turquoise sweater standing in red tulips outside of Hampton Court Palace
  1. Enjoy the Festival in its Entirety 

The Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival is a celebration of the beauty and history of tulips. It is a chance for people to enjoy the beauty of springtime and learn about the history of this iconic flower. Started in 2021, this festival is quickly finding its place as a must-do day trip in London. The 110,000 bulbs create a wondrous seen all across the palace grounds and surrounding land. Some of the varieties you should look out for are: 

  • Darwin Hybrid Tulips: These tulips are known for their large, cup-shaped flowers. They come in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange, pink, and white.
  • Fosteriana Tulips: These tulips are known for their large, showy flowers. They come in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, and red.
  • Parrot Tulips: These tulips are known for their ruffled, feathery petals. They come in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange, pink, and white.

If you really want to dig into the meaning of the festival, you can attend one of the many programmed events like a flower show or workshop. You can also ask one of the expert gardeners, who will be more than happy to share their craft with you!

Pink and purple flowers
  1. See the Other Blooms

The lovely spring weather doesn’t just mean tulips – it means blooms of all kinds! There is wisteria crawling over walls and rose bushes galore. Hampton Court Palace is home to over 60 acres of gardens and parkland with variety of different gardens to explore, each with its own unique features.

Some of the most popular gardens at Hampton Court Palace include:

  • The Privy Garden: This is the oldest garden at Hampton Court Palace, and it was created in the early 16th century. The garden is enclosed by walls and is filled with all kinds of flowers, herbs, and fruit trees.
  • The Rose Garden: This garden is home to over 1,000 roses, and it is an absolutely beautiful sight in the springtime.
  • The Kitchen Garden: This garden was created in the 16th century to provide food for the palace. The garden is still used today to grow vegetables and fruit.
Girl standing in a wildflower field
  1. Wander in The Wilderness

Hampton Court Palace is also home to an area called The Wilderness. This is a large, open area perfect for a relaxing stroll. It’s home to a variety of different trees, including oak, elm, and hornbeam, and wildlife, including deer and rabbits. Exploring this area feels like a folk song, with wildflowers blooming in the fields and birds chirping above. 

This was my favorite part of my visit and you could easily spend many hours in this area alone. 

Hampton Court Palace at the end of a tree lined path
  1. Get lost in the maze

Once you’ve thoroughly relaxed amongst the blooms, it’s time for a bit of fun! The Knot Garden is a maze of hedges and paths of yew trees. It was created in the early 17th century and is the oldest surviving hedge maze in Britain! The maze is about one-third of an acre and it has a total of 600m of paths – it’s not for the faint of heart!

According to the official website, it’s supposed to take about 20 minutes to reach the center. But if you’re directly challenged by me, you’ll probably want to book out an hour for the maze in case you end up hopelessly lost!

Grand hall with black iron staircase and angelic mural
  1. Explore the Many Palace Rooms

Hampton Court Palace’s many rooms and halls are open to the public to explore with the price of your ticket. Some of the highlights include: 

  • ​​The Great Hall: This is the largest room in the palace and was used for banquets and other occasions. The hall is decorated with tapestries, portraits, and Tudor architecture.
  • The Chapel Royal: This is the private chapel of the royal family. Its 16th-century Gothic architecture is decorated with stained glass windows and marble pillars, and is still an active place to worship.
  • The State Apartments: These apartments were used by the royal family for entertaining guests and conducting state business. The apartments were used by Tudor and Stuart monarchs and are decorated lavishly to accommodate them.
  • The Kitchens: These kitchens were once the largest in Europe, and they were used to prepare food for the royal family and their guests. The kitchens are now a museum that share the culinary history of the palace.
Hampton court palace framed by Tulips

When Is The Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival? 

The Tulip Festival at Hampton Court palace is every spring around April or May. Their official website states that “Tulip flowering periods are subject to the lottery of the spring weather and so are not guaranteed. Updates on flowering will be shared on social media”. 

Once the tulips are in bloom, the festival takes place every Wednesday – Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm. The best time to visit is during the week for minimal crowds. 

How Do You Get To Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival? 

There are a few different ways to get to Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival:

By car: If you are driving, Hampton Court Palace is on the A308 road, which is about 12 miles southwest of London. There is a large car park at the palace with paid parking spaces
By train: The nearest train station to Hampton Court Palace is Hampton Court Station. You will need to take a South Western Railway train to reach it. The station is about a 10-minute walk from the palace.
By bus: There are quite a few bus services that stop near Hampton Court Palace. The nearest bus stop is Hampton Court Palace, which uses the H9 bus.
By boat: The nearest boat stop is Hampton Court Pier.

How Much Does The Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival Cost? 

Ticket price is dependent on your age and if it is a weekday or weekend. Most adults will pay £26.30 on weekdays and £29.00 on weekends. The Hampton Court Palace Website put together this chart to easily identify the ticket price you’ll pay:

Hampton Court Palace 2023 price chart

It’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance. The Tulip Festival is very popular and you don’t want to be disappointed if you turn up and they are full for the day. 

How Much Time Do You Need At The Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival? 

With so much to do and see, you’re going to want to book a full day to visit the Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival. I recommend arriving no later than early afternoon and staying until the gates close.

As you can see, the Tulip Festival at Hampton Court Palace is not to be missed! Between the tulips, gardens, open area wilderness, historic palace rooms, and adventurous maze, there is something that everyone can enjoy. Tulip season doesn’t last long, so make sure to plan your visit today?

If you’ve already been to Hampton Court Palace, share your favorite stories below.

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