Richmond, a charming town located in South West London, is home to one of the most iconic royal residences in British history - the Richmond Palace, a relic of the Tudor era that enchants history connoisseurs and the casually curious alike.
Our self-guided audio walking tour of Richmond traverses the breadth of this historic landscape. But for now, let's embark on a whirlwind journey through the corridors of time to the palace's illustrious beginnings.
Emerging from the architectural genius of Henry VII in 1497, Richmond Palace was more than a mere royal abode—it was a testament to the grandeur and majesty of the Tudor period. Henry VIII, in his penchant for amplifying splendor, further expanded and refurbished the palace, transforming it into a hunting lodge and a lavish space for entertaining dignitaries.
The palace bloomed under the reign of Elizabeth I, who claimed it as her primary residence, enhancing its stature as a royal domicile. The palace's architecture was a magnificent spectacle of Tudor design, sporting monumental chimneys, ornate brickwork, and meticulous detailing—a veritable feast for the eyes.
The palace's blueprint followed a courtyard-centric arrangement, typical of the era's regal residences. The gatehouse, an imposing edifice adorned with elaborate decorations and often equipped with guest suites, beckoned visitors into the palace's outer courtyard.
Beyond the courtyard, the main palace building unfolded, housing royal apartments inclusive of the king's and queen's bedchambers, a grand hall for social gatherings, a chapel, and a variety of other rooms catering to the court's needs. These spaces, festooned with carved wooden paneling, intricate plaster ceilings, and grand fireplaces, were a testament to the period's aesthetic sensibilities.
The palace's hallowed halls bore witness to historical milestones, such as the rendezvous between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Regrettably, the march of time and the relentless hammer of demolition during the 17th and 18th centuries have left only a few structures standing today—the gatehouse, the wardrobe, and the trumpet gate. Yet, remnants of the palace's former glory, like the enduring Tudor brickwork, linger in these surviving edifices, whispering tales of a bygone era.
Gesso was created for urban explorers who find joy in life's hidden gems. Find audio tours on the Gesso app, available via the App Store or Google Play, and share your London adventures with us @gesso.app on Instagram.