Robert Myers designs magical new land for children

New playgarden opens at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace has opened the Magic Garden – a family playspace desgined by landscape architect Robert Myers Associates.

The new garden – located in Henry VIII’s former tiltyard where tudor jousting tournaments took place – brings together the palace’s rich history and mythology with fun playground structures. It is divided into themed areas, including a tournament ground, wildwood, mythical beasts’ lair, maze-like topiary garden, encampment, and a spiral mount with moat and grotto.

As families pass through the spaces, they meet challenges and engage with stories of the palace’s former royal residents. Children have a variety of imaginative play options, from a treetop walkway and brightly-coloured helter-skelters echoing the 16th-century tiltyard towers that once stood in the space, to a sandpit with a slumbering a ‘fire’-breathing dragon to climb on.

‘We have incorporated playfulness and magic into every aspect of the garden,’ said Robert Myers. ‘It has been designed as a relaxing as well as a stimulating environment, with spaces to pause and rest, as well as places that are truly active and adventurous. Our aim has been to create a garden full of beauty, an essence of escapism and an exciting setting for learning, interaction and expression through exploration and adventure.’

The garden incorporates specially commissioned artworks such as a steam-emitting dragon and other mythical creatures by Andrew Tanser; a ‘disappearing’ stone lion by Harry Gray; a carved griffin and falcon by Chris Bailey; and a woven willow dragon’s nest by Tom Hare. The play consultants were Snug & Outdoor.

The Magic Garden, Hampton Court Palace, is open to visitors daily until 30 October. Admission charges apply. Furter details in visitor information.

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