The gardens of Hampton Court Palace span a staggering 800+ acres of formal gardens and historic parkland. You can visit them as part of a trip to the palace, as all admission tickets include access to the ground.
But! On a select few days, you can visit the Hampton Court Palace Gardens for free... without a ticket.
Garden Open Days take place a handful of times a year, from spring around until late autumn, and are open to anyone who wants to explore the grounds. Highlights of the open space include:
- The Great Fountain Garden (pictured above): The area immediately behind the palace building, offering satisfyingly symmetrical views of its facade;
- The Privy Garden: first created in the 16th century for Henry VIII himself, and now planted again with the original varieties used back then;
- The Kitchen Garden: where 18th century-style fruit and veg is grown;
- The Pond Garden: Not actually home to much in the way of water features these days — being south-facing, they're ideal for growing flowering plants in the spring and summer;
- The Lower Orangery and Terrace; located alongside the Pond Garden, with exotic species of plants (citrus fruit trees, cacti, that kind of vibe) on display throughout the summer.
On Garden Open Days, you'll still need a paid admission ticket if you want to visit the palace itself, the Maze, or the Magic Garden Playground. But other than that, admission is free.
Remaining Hampton Court Palace Garden Open Days 2023 are 4-9 July, 16-17 September, and 18-19 November. Check the website closer to the dates, as there may be certain restrictions on which parts of the gardens are accessible on certain days.