We’re Historic Royal Palace members this year, and as luck would have it so is one of our friends, and H’s best friend at school – so when she received an email inviting her to a special event today to try out the new Hampton Court Magic Garden, we all went along as it sounded pretty awesome.
The Hampton Court Magic Garden is described by them as “a truly unique and immersive children’s play garden at Hampton Court Palace which translates the stories of the palace into Tudor-inspired design and features a liberal sprinkling of magic!” – so what did we think?
We LOVED it. It’s awesome. For me it has the spirit of the Diana playground in Kensington, but with less sand (there is a water and sand play area there), where children are safe, can be left to get on with playing with minimal adult supervision, and there’s plenty of space for their imagination to run riot. It’s suitable for young kids and older ones – with enough space that nobody gets in each other’s way.
As it was a test weekend when we get to check how things work, some features weren’t available (the toilets weren’t ready, but Hampton Court itself has plenty).
There’s a large mound with a tunnel-slide through it and a crown on the top. There’s towers, the Tiltyard Towers (and while the Magic Garden was being built they found what might be one of the original towers), a smoke-breathing dragon you can climb on (which is awesome), a water area where you can pull a boat from one side of the water to the other, or just walk across on stepping stones instead.
There’s plenty on offer – a dragon cave, two slides – one in a tunnel and one from the tallest tower over the other side of the park, suitable for older kids. A giant fireman’s pole which H loved and said it felt like she was going down it forever. We easily spent almost two hours in there – us adults sitting chatting while H and her friend had the best time ever!
The Hampton Court Magic Garden felt safe, well thought out and fun. We had perfect weather for it – there’s an amphitheatre area too which is fun for just running or rolling around in (good hills, y’see). On top of the mound is a crown – H and her friend had races from the top to the bottom.
There’s a climbing area leading to a long fireman’s pole, and an even longer slide – both kids loved it and kept going back.
Then there’s the sand area which has water you can pump from various places, there are wooden dams, and when the Hampton Court Magic Garden opens you’ll have buckets and spades too.
Oh, and the tree house. Oh my word, it’s awesome. H and her pal stayed in there quite a lot, climbing up there to get away from us adults. We wanted to join them! How amazing does this look?
As for us adults, there wasn’t space for us to sit anywhere so we perched in an area which looks like it has hooks for something, next to the fire breathing dragon (well, smoke, anyway) – and grabbed a reasonably priced drink from the nearby cafe (within the Magic Garden) – there are snacks and ice creams on offer there too.
The Hampton Court Magic Garden opens on the 21st March – keep an eye on their website for more information. You can buy a maze and Magic Gardens ticket, otherwise it is included in the cost of your Hampton Court Palace admission ticket. For members it’s included in your membership package.
It was really difficult to take photos to try and show how amazing the playground is, without there being other people on it. I’ve tried to blur out faces where I can, and can only apologise if you spot yourself and wonder why you have no face. Sorry!