Legend themed Hampton Court Palace garden to boost family visits

Hampton Court Palace is trying to coax more families through its portals with a new garden themed on myth and legend.

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace

Robert Myers Associates will create the Magic Garden, due to open in 2015. The £1.5m project will take inspiration from the palace’s stories, legends, mythology and architecture, said the charity Historic Royal Palaces.

"The palace already has a magical quality, in part derived from the Tudor passion for decoration and symbolism through presentations of mythical beasts all over the site," a spokeswoman for the charity said of the garden at the former home of Henry VIII.

"We envisage an interactive garden on former hard tennis courts, a self-contained walled area measuring 0.6 ha that occupies the north-west corner of the Tiltyard area. It will signpost the sense of discovery that exists throughout the gardens and the palace."

"The Magic Garden will be rooted in principles of learning through play and primarily will be a seasonal attraction open from March to October. It should be naturalistic so it changes with the seasons, develops and becomes more beautiful: a garden, rather than a playground."

Landscape architect Robert Myers said: "We are delighted to have won this competition and want the new garden to draw on the richness of its surroundings and historical associations of the site. Children will be encouraged to explore, climb and walk on the grass."

The design team includes play consultant Snug & Outdoor, structural engineer Michael Barclay Partnership and lighting designer Speirs and Major. Historic Royal Palaces shortlisted five companies to develop concept designs for the garden.

Historic Royal Palaces’ chief executive Michael Day said: "After a rigorous selection process Robert Myers Associates stood out for their innovative ideas and understanding of our vision and ambition."

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