Treasures of London – The Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace

September 17, 2010

PICTURE: Historic Royal Palaces/newsteam.co.uk

In the first in a series looking at some of the treasures held in museums, galleries and other collections London along with some of the more unusual things you’ll find in the city, we’re heading out to the southwest of the city firstly to Hampton Court Palace and what is perhaps a lesser known treasure, the Great Vine.

Claimed to be the oldest and largest vine in the world, it was believed to have been planted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown around 1768 and has prospered ever since, now being an astonished 12 foot (3.65 metres) around the base and boasting ‘rods’ of up to 120 metres in length.

The vine, which is housed in a purpose-built greenhouse in the gardens, still produces a whopping 22o to 32o kilograms (500 to 700 bunches) of black, sweet grapes annually (you can even buy the grapes in Hampton Court’s Garden Shop – they’ve been sold to the public since the 1930s), although this is well down on the 2,245 bunches of grapes picked in 1807.

WHERE: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey (nearest station is Hampton Court from Waterloo); WHEN: 10am to 6pm everyday (winter hours 10am to 4.30pm from 31st October to 26th March); COST: Adult £15.40, Concession £12.65, Child under 16 £7.70 (under fives free), family tickets, garden only tickets and online booking discounts available; WEBSITE: www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/

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