Along with venues such as The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Greenwich Park and The Royal Artillery Barracks, Hampton Court Palace is yet another fantastic historic setting which will host a London 2012 event.
The former royal residence on the banks of the River Thames near Kingston in south-west London, Hampton Court will be a spectacular backdrop for the Road Cycling Time Trial events on 1st August.
Initially a medieval manor, Hampton Court was transformed into a palace in 1514 by Cardinal Wolsey and expanded further in 1529, when King Henry VIII took it over. In 1689 a good portion of the Tudor building was knocked down and replaced by a new palace designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
It continued to act as a royal residence until 1760, when George III decided he wanted to live elsewhere and had the palace divided up into apartments. In 1838 Queen Victoria opened the palace's state apartments and gardens to the public, and it has been a popular tourist attraction ever since.
It is also home to the oldest working real tennis court in England and houses an 18-hole golf course. At the London 2012 Games it will stage the start and finish of the two cycling time trials.
So as not to affect the existing buildings at Hampton Court but in order to meet the requirements for elite level competition London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) have arranged for several temporary structures to be put in place. These will include spectator viewing areas and facilities, the specialist time trial start ramp and the cyclist hot seat – to be occupied by the leading rider until another competitor beats his or her time.
As the venue is just the start and finish area the time trials will have a virtually unlimited capacity along the 44km men’s route and 29km women’s route which will wind around Richmond and Kingston upon Thames.
Public facilities: The Games Mobility service will be present, plus there is a London 2012 Shop. There will also be London 2012 information points for venue and sports information, transport updates, lost and found services and pushchair and wheelchair storage.
History: The palace dates back to the 16th century and was a royal residence until 1760. In 1838 Queen Victoria opened the grounds to public visitors and the site has become a popular tourist destination in modern times. 2012 will be the first time the Olympics visit Hampton Court.
What’s on?: Road cycling time trials (August 1).
How do you get there?: Bus or train are probably your best options. Car is also possible of course, as the palace is on the A308, around 12 miles south-west of central London, and is well signposted, but parking is limited. With regards to buses, the 111, 216, 411, 461, R68, 267 and 513 routes pass next to the palace; for rail, South West Trains run a service direct to Hampton Court, which takes around 35 minutes from London's Waterloo station. The palace is then 200 metres from the station.
Find it on the map: here.
Location – in relation to other venues: Hampton Court is on the other side of London to the Olympic Park in Stratford. The location is approximately 20 miles, or a 45-minute to one hour journey from the Olympic Park.
Location – on the tube: There is no Underground station at this venue so use the National Rail service to Hampton Court station.