TW9 & TW10: Twickenham & KT8: Kingston upon Thames

 
Kew Gardens           
UK LONDON Kew Gardens Greenhouse at Kew GardensThe Kew Royal Botanical Gardens [+44 20 83325000, www.kew.org, Adults £13.90] were created in 1759 by Lord Capel John of Tewkesbury and the institution has grown to hold the world's largest collection of living plants and herbarium that is among the world's biggest collections of preserved plant specimens. The garden is also an important centre for scientific research and employs over 650 scientists. Housing all of these plants, research centres, and even art relating to botany are a number of beautiful buildings, many of which are listed as historical monuments or buildings of architectural interest. The Palm House is a wedding cake of a glass house built between 1844 and 1848. A third conservatory was built in the 80s and opened by Diana, Princess of Wales. This sleek, step-pyramid like structure houses tropical plants. Larger than both of these is Temperate House, the largest Victorian glasshouse that remains in existence. The striking Kew Palace [Kew Gardens, +44 20 31666000, www.hrp.org.uk/kewpalace, Adults £5.30], the smallest royal palace, is situated on the grounds. Built in 1631 in the Flemish style by a Dutch merchant, the house was purchased by George III. It is not administered by Kew Gardens and requires a seperate entrance fee.

UK LONDON Richmond Park
Richmond Park           
Covering an immense 2500 acres, Richmond Park [www.royalparks.gov.uk/richmondpark] is the largest of London's royal parks. There are swathes of woodland, meadows, and hills, inhabited by red and fallow deer. It was the royal interest in hunting such deer that led to the development of the park. King Henry VIII's Mound is the highest point in the park, offering a view of St Paul's Cathedral that has been protected.

Twickenham Stadium   
Twickenham Stadium [Whitton Road, +44 20 88928877, www.rfu.com/TwickenhamStadium, Tour and Museum Entry Adults £14] is the home of English rugby and the largest stadium in the world that is solely used for Rugby Union. Book a tour and visit the World Rugby Museum.


UK LONDON Hampton Court PalaceHampton Court Palace        
Hampton Court Palace [East Moseley, +44 20 31666000, www.hrp.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace, Adults £13.50-15.95] was the residence of the powerful Cardinal Wolsey, who created a home so lavish that some joked he lived more ostentatiously than did the king. When Wolsey fell from favour, he gave the palace to Henry VIII, who carried out further building work, spending the equivalent of 18 million pounds in ten years. The palace became his favourite residence and despite further building work undertaken in the 1690s by William III and Mary, who sought to mimic Louis XIV's Versailles, Hampton Court is still generally associated with the wining, dining, and womanising King Henry VIII.


UK LONDON Hampton Court PalaceAnn Boleyn's Gate has a spectacular clock which shows not only the time but astrological and tidal information for the Thames. The queen's apartments in the gatehouse had not yet been finished before Henry VIII ordered her execution. It was at Hampton Court that he later ordered the arrest and execution of Catherine Howard, after being informed here in the Chapel Royal that she had been cheating on him. She tried to escape her imprisonment and beg him for mercy but she was captured by palace guards in the gallery and dragged away screaming. It is said that her screams can still be heard in the Haunted Gallery. Other Tudor highlights include the evocative kitchens, which were made to cook for 600 people and where there are sometimes live demonstrations of Tudor cookery, and the Chapel Royal, a stunning and richly decorated church that is still in use today.

Hampton Court Maze, a popular attraction at the palace, was actually created for William III and Mary in around 1700.