When studying the Tudors where better to visit than the home of the most famous Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII. Harrow Way Year 8 History students recently visited Hampton Court Palace gaining a first-hand insight into the colourful life of King Henry and his six wives.

History teacher Christina Brown explains the value of putting the history lesson into real life context: “Visiting Hampton Court and experiencing for themselves the home where King Henry VIII lived gave our students a completely different perception of the subject than if we’d opened up the text books back at school. The trip brought the lesson to life and greatly aids their understanding as they see for themselves the Great Hall where many a Tudor banquet was hosted and see for themselves King Henry’s personal apartments”.

The group of 50 students were kept very busy exploring the palace, listening to the audio guides and taking in the exhibition dedicated to the young Henry. They were also given access to explore the Tudor kitchens to further understand how those working there produced meals to feed hundreds of people at least twice a day. Although famous for being the home of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court was indeed home to a number of monarchs and the Harrow Way students also looked at how subsequent kings and queens developed the Palace, an important chronology lesson for the young historians.

Some particularly lucky students got to handle a number of genuine artefacts to piece together a Tudor story. Wearing protective gloves this hands-on history lesson had students examining discoveries from the Palace and grounds, truly bringing the history lesson to life.

Christina Brown concludes: “Wherever possible we will always try to put lessons into context giving students first-hand experience of the subject matter. Having walked the corridors and explored the building our students can now visualise life in a Tudor Palace. No matter how many times we may read it in the classroom – nothing cements learning as effectively as personal experience”.