Great British Boltholes: Lose yourself in amazing luxury at The Kings Arms Hotel in London’s Hampton Court
- Kings Arm Hotel is sandwiched between Bushy Park and Hampton Court Palace
- It champions the best of British throughout – from soft furnishings to produce
- James Mannion visited and said the hotel is ‘a jewel in the crown of the area’
When he wasn’t on the hunt for another queen (or disposing of the previous incumbent), King Henry VIII often devoted his time to amassing property – with considerable success. By the end of his reign he owned more than 60 houses and palaces – unrivalled by any British monarch before or since – and among their number was Hampton Court Palace. It’s one of two of his palaces still standing (St James’s being the other) and it draws admirers by the coachload.
Set in beautiful grounds, Hampton Court is a sight to behold – even on a grey, wet day at the tail end of winter. It helped immensely that our base for exploring was The Kings Arms – a Grade II listed 18th Century former inn, now a beautiful boutique hotel and restaurant.
It is a serene saunter from the hotel to the palace itself, and in fact The Kings Arms is so close that it actually backs on to the palace’s famous maze, the UK’s oldest surviving example. The hotel was recently extensively refurbished over two years, officially reopening last summer.
Fit for a king: The hotel with the famous Hampton Court maze behind it
Championing the best of British throughout – be it soft furnishings or food ingredients – the hotel is a jewel in the crown of the area. Downstairs is the restaurant and bar, while upstairs are the 14 guest bedrooms. Naturally, given the historic nature of the building, the en suite rooms differ in size and shape, though each has tea- and coffee-making facilities and a fully stocked (payable) mini-bar. It beats me, however, why anyone would choose to drink in their room when downstairs is the aforementioned comfy bar – and out front is a spacious, private terrace providing ample seating for a cocktail or two in the sunshine when the weather permits.
The destination restaurant – named The Six, after the number of Henry’s wives – is home to the Michelin-starred Mark Kempson. His dishes boast fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs form the Hampton Court Palace kitchen garden, so you can rightfully claim to be eating food fit for royalty. We tucked into oxtail and gruyere croquettes and crispy whitebait for starters, mains were gossamer-light battered fish and chips and a hefty aged sirloin, also with chips. Dessert was initially passed over for fear of gluttony, but the offer of treacle tart and a chocolate pavé proved too much to turn down.
There are 14 guestrooms upstairs with ‘super-comfy’ beds and limited edition prints
The USP: Hampton Court Palace. The hotel is sandwiched between Bushy Park and the palace itself. Slightly further afield – but still walkable – are strolls down the banks of the River Thames and, if you fancy a flutter, Kempton Park racecourse.
The rooms: These are either superior, luxury or deluxe and each is decorated with original or limited-edition prints overlooking super-comfy beds.
The food: The Six is truly its secret weapon and all our food was excellent: £35pp for three courses. Continental breakfast is included, featuring such delights as Chapel Farm duck eggs on toasted sourdough, cooked any style.
Kings Arms Hotel, Hampton Court. B&B from £135. For more information visit kingsarmshamptoncourt.com.
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