image for Historical Event item typeThe Great Vine Largest Grape Vine in the World at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Historical Event, Thu 17 Jan - Tue 31 Dec 2019

Contact

Hampton Court Palace

Address

East Molesey,
Surrey,
KT8 9AU

Events at this Venue

date event
Thu 17 Jan - Tue 31 Dec The Great Vine Largest Grape Vine in the World
Thu 17 Jan - Tue 31 Dec We-Go Wheelchair Tours
Mon 4 Mar - Tue 31 Dec Henry VIII's Kitchens
Mon 1 Apr - Thu 31 Oct Royal tennis at Hampton Court
Sat 25 - Mon 27 May Shire horse carriage rides
Sat 25 May - Sun 1 Sep Tudor cookery

Details

The Great Vine, Vitis vinifera 'Schiava Grossa' (synonym: Black Hamburg), is now 250 years old and is the largest grape vine in the world. It was planted in 1768 while Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was in charge of the gardens at Hampton Court.

The history of the Great Vine
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown directed the planting of the Great Vine from a cutting taken at Valentines Mansion in Essex.

In 1887 it was already 1.2 metres (4') around the base. It is now four metres (13') around the base and the longest rod is 36.5 metres (120').

The Vine is grown on the extension method where one plant fills a glasshouse, as Victorian gardeners thought this method would produce a larger crop.

The average crop of black dessert grapes is about 272 kilograms (600lbs), however in the autumn of 2001 it was 383 kilograms (845 lbs) - the best crop ever. The grapes are ripe after August Bank Holiday and are sold during the first three weeks of September in the palace shop.

Queen Victoria had grapes from the Great Vine sent to the Royal Household at Windsor or to Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. The decision to allow them to be sold to visitors was made by Edward VII, who decided the Royal Household no longer needed them. Later they were sold in small wicker baskets at St. Dunstans, the home for soldiers blinded in the First World War.

In the Second World War German P-O-Ws were given the task of thinning out the bunches of grapes.

The Vine grows on the site of the first greenhouse at Hampton Court. There have been five or six glasshouses on the site throughout its history.

In the early 1900s a three-quarter span wooden glasshouse was built which was a new shape and quite different from what existed before, as this one incorporated a viewing area for the public.

In 1969 a new glasshouse was needed. By that time, the Vine had become so entwined in the existing structure the only way forward was to build a new aluminium glasshouse over the old wooden one. The dormant vine was protected by polythene sheeting and the old glass and its supporting wooden frame was removed, leaving the iron framework of the 20th-century structure and the Vine in place.

Credit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEnglish Heritage PropertyGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPublic toilets

Children welcome

Event details

Dates Times
Thu 17 Jan - Tue 31 Dec 2019

Prices

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Location

Directions

See location of Hampton Court Palace on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TQ 149686  Lat: 51.40479 Long: -0.34950

By car: The palace is located on the A308 and is well signposted from all the major local roads. From the M25 take either exit 10 on to the A307 or exit 12 on to the A308. The palace is also accessible via the A3 and then the A309.
By train: South West Trains run services direct from London Waterloo to Hampton Court. The journey takes only 35 minutes and the palace is a 2-minute walk across the bridge from the station.
By bus: Bus routes: 111, 216, 411, 451, 461, 718, R68, 416, 513, 267 (Summer Sundays only).
By River boat: From Richmond or Kingston with Turk Launches (April - mid September) and from Westminster with Westminster Passenger Cruises (April - September).
For further information visit www.tfl.gov.uk

Car parking
Green car park - pay and display
Charges from 08.00 - 20.00
£1.00 per hour until 30 April 2015
£1.50 per hour from 1 May 2015

Palace car park - pay on foot
Charges from 08.00 - 20.00
£1.50 per hour until 30 April 2015
£1.60 per hour from 1 May 2015

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport

Facilities

  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • English Heritage PropertyEnglish Heritage Property
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome