The Magic Gardens: FAQs


Why do children aged 3-5 years need a ticket?
In 2016 the Magic Garden proved very popular - with 180,000 people visiting! We have added even more exciting features suitable for under 5's and our pricing now reflects this. Maze only tickets remain free of charge for all children under the age of 5 years. 

I am a member - does this mean that I need to purchase a ticket for children aged 3-5 years?
As a valued member, you will not incur extra costs if you bring children under 5 years to the Magic Garden, but we would like to capture the details of all children living at your address who you wish to be included in your membership. This will enable the membership team to contact you about family activities and events at all our sites. Upon renewing your membership, please provide us with the names and dates of birth of all children you wish to bring. 

I am a member - who can use my membership card to visit the Magic Garden?
Membership entitles only those named on the card to enter. Any additional or unnamed guests will be required to purchase additional tickets.

Can I upgrade my Magic Garden ticket to include the rest of the palace?
You are able to upgrade your Magic Garden ticket to a Palace admission ticket/membership by taking your ticket with you to the ticketing office and paying the difference in cost. If you know in advance you will be spending longer at Hampton Court Palace we strongly advise you purchase a full admission ticket - doing this online will save you money and time. 

What if I plan to visit the Magic Garden several times?
If we are likely to be seeing you again within the same season, we recommend purchasing an annual Historic Royal Palaces membership. Please visit the member’s page or speak to a member of staff when you arrive. 

How many children can I bring?
To ensure the safety of children we require a minimum of one adult for every 6 children. If children are aged under 5, we advise a ratio of 1 adult to 5 children.

I am a teacher and interested in bringing a school group. Is this possible?
The Magic Garden is suitable for pre-school and KS1 aged children as it meets the learning through play criteria of the National Curriculum. A ratio of 1 adult to 5 children is required. There is no education rate available, however the adults in the group are free of charge. Please contact for further information and a booking form. Bookings must be made in advance and must be during term time, excluding weekends. 

While at the Magic Garden

What do I do when I arrive at the Magic Garden?
On busy days all everyone arriving will be required to queue. Please have your tickets and/or membership card ready for scanning. 

I am planning to meet with friends at the Magic Garden, what do you advise?
If you are planning to meet friends and wish to ensure that you are all able to enjoy the garden together, please arrange a suitable meeting place before joining the queue to enter the Magic Garden. This will ensure you are all able to enter together. 

Will I have to queue to get in?
The Magic Garden has limited capacity to ensure safety of visitors. If at capacity, entry will be suspended until other visitors leave. The Admissions Team will be on hand to advise. We know children can get bored when queuing, however our concern is visitor comfort, enjoyment and safety. If there is a queue upon your arrival, the ticketing team will endeavour to get you into the Magic Garden as quickly as they can. Anyone who is rude or abusive towards staff may be refused entry or be asked to leave.

How do I get 'Fast Track' entry?
There is no fast-track option available for the Magic Garden. Historic Royal Palaces members, Hampton Court Palace ticket holders and those purchasing Magic Garden tickets on the day are all required to queue on busy days, with admission granted on a first-come first-served basis. 

Is the Magic Garden wheelchair accessible?
Every effort has been made to make the Magic Garden as accessible as possible; however there are accessibility issues with some features such as the aerial walkways and some of the wild wood paths. For more information on your visit see our access page

What happens if I lose sight of my child?
There is one entry/exit point at the Magic Garden and the ticketing team ensure unaccompanied children do not enter or leave the Magic Garden. If you lose sight of your child please be assured they will be hiding somewhere within the play area. We strongly recommend all adults walk around the Magic Garden with their children upon arrival to familiarise themselves with the layout.

Can I leave my child in the Magic Garden?
No. There will be admissions staff and Magic Gardeners present but their role is to provide advice, care and maintenance. All our staff are happy to help locate lost children and provide first aid assistance but they are not responsible for your children. In the event a child is found on their own and the responsible adult cannot be found, staff will follow our safeguarding procedure and if the responsible adult cannot be found the relevant social services department will be contacted.

What if I need first aid?
There are first aid trained staff on site and based in the area of the Magic Garden itself – simply find one of the Magic Garden attendants or one of the admissions team and they will call a first aider for you.

Where are the shaded areas?
As the vegetation matures over the years, available shade will increase but unfortunately we will need to let nature take its course! When visiting on hot days, please ensure you bring adequate water resistant sun protection (hats, sun screen, sun glasses, loose clothing), follow the government health guidelines and avoid being in direct sunlight between the hours of 11:00 and 14:00. If you bring a plastic water bottle you can refill this using the drinking water fountains to prevent dehydration. Staff will be able to recommend area of shade outside the Magic Garden, and please remember you are able to re-visit later in the day.

What happens if we experience extreme weather conditions?
In very hot weather, surfaces will get hot including the encampment area, astro-turf and metal slides so please try to ensure suitable footwear is worn at all times. On a few occasions we may need to close the slides due to hot surface temperatures. The temperature of the slides are monitored and appropriate actions taken when required. In very cold wet weather, the fountains will be turned off and it may also be necessary to close the slides. 

Will my children get wet playing in the Magic Garden? Do I need any special equipment or clothing?
There is a lot of water-play in the garden, including fountains, so you may wish to bring a change of clothes and a towel - especially if you are planning on visiting the palace later. There’s also lots of climbing, sliding and sand to play in so you might want to wear some older clothes that you aren’t worried about getting a little dirty!

What is dress code?
Children should be clothed or in swimsuits at all times. For health and safety reasons, we ask that younger children are dressed in a nappy or swim nappy when playing in the area. Adults must not wear swimwear.

Will you limit the time we can spend in the Magic Garden?
If we are busy (usually at weekends, bank holidays and during school holidays) we will limit the time you can spend in the Magic Garden. This is for visitor comfort and to ensure everyone has a chance to enjoy the garden. Don’t forget you are welcome to come back later in the day!

How will I know when I have to leave?
All visitors will be issued with a wristband, the colour of which will vary according to the time you arrive. The wristband is not a ticket. It is purely to enable the Magic Garden attendant to identify those people whose time slot has come to an end. When you are given your wristband, and had your ticket or membership card scanned, you will be advised of the time you may be asked to leave. Please do not challenge staff when your time within the Magic Garden is up. If at any point staff feel threatened or experience rude or abusive behaviour, the visitor and their party will be asked to leave without refund.

What are the busiest times?
The popularity of the Magic Garden changes daily and is dependent on many factors. Generally on weekends outside of the schools holidays, the Magic Garden is busiest between 10:00 and 14:00. During school holidays, the Magic Garden is busy all day and queues are to be expected. During busy times, it may be necessary to suspend entry until people inside the garden have left. On these days a timed admission system will be in place to keep the queue time as short as possible. 

Do I have to wear the wristband?
If you are issued a wristband it is because you are visiting on a popular day. It is important you keep the wristband on as anyone spotted without a wristband will be asked to leave. 

Can I bring bikes into the Magic Garden?
During peak times no bicycles (regardless of size) will be allowed into the Magic Garden. On quiet days we may be able to accommodate a few small children’s bikes, this is subject to the discretion of the admission staff.  Adult bikes must be kept at the cycle racks and are left at the owner’s risk. 

Can I take my dog with me into the Magic Garden?
Assistance dogs are welcome but all other dogs are not permitted within the Magic Garden. Even small dogs are not to be taken inside. Do not leave dogs in your car. 

What else can I do with my children while at the palace? 
There are plenty of family activities taking place in Hampton Court Palace. Please check the family activities, or ask a member of staff for more details. You could try a Digital Mission, complete a family trail or dress up in a cloak to meet the king.

Will I be able to come back to the Magic Garden later in the day?
When capacity allows, we are more than happy to welcome you back! During peak times this may not be possible, but we will do our best to accommodate. You do not need to retain your original wristband as you will be issued a new coloured one when you return.

Catering and facilities

Is there drinking water available in the Magic Garden?
There are 2 drinking water fountains within the attraction as well as a café providing a range of hot and cold drinks. The Dragon kindly requests these fountains are used for drinking only and are not used to clean children.

Is there a café in the Magic Garden?
A small café serving a limited range of drinks and snacks is on-site. Hampton Court Palace also has other catering options available.

Are we able to picnic in the Magic Garden?
The use of picnic blankets, and setting up picnic tables and chairs is not permitted within the Magic Garden itself. You are able to utilise nearby areas such as the grassed tilt yard space or the rose garden, and these locations will be much more suitable for an enjoyable picnic experience. Anyone refusing pack away picnic blankets and chairs within the Magic Garden will be asked to leave.

Are there toilets nearby?
There are a limited number of toilets (including an accessible toilet and baby changing facilities) within the Magic Garden area. Additional toilets are available in the neighbouring Kitchen Garden. We kindly ask you notify a member of staff should you notice the facilities require some attention.

10 top tips from The Dragon:

  • Become familiar with the Magic Garden and decide where you would like your children to play.
  • Listen to announcements and adhere to staff advice.
  • Keep your wristband on whilst inside. 
  • Keep the space clean for all by using bins and nappy bins provided.
  • To avoid congestion do not picnic in the Magic Garden.
  • Do not use scooters or play ball games.
  • Do not smoke, vape or consume alcohol.
  • Respect the many plant species and vegetation inside the Magic Garden and in surrounding areas.
  • Do not leave children unaccompanied!
  • Most importantly, have fun!

Explore what's on

Re-opening 30 March 2018. Come face to face with mysterious mythical beasts, storm the battlements and discover the secret grotto in the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace.

The Magic Garden is closed - re-opening 30 March 2018. (2018 season planned closures - 21 May, 16 July and 10 September 2018.)

Families Highlights