Situated alongside the River Thames in East Molesey, Hampton Court Palace was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey; a favourite of King Henry VIII, in around 1514. After his fall from grace, the palace was passed to the King and as such, became a royal residency until the 18th Century.
Today, the palace is open to the public and is a major tourist attraction. Easily reached by direct trains from Waterloo Station, the palace and its gardens are looked after by independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, which also looks after Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, the Tower of London and Banqueting House.
This year, Historic Royal Palaces will be marking Hampton Court Palaces’ 500th Anniversary with a unique roster of celebrations; bringing to life the greatest moments in its history, and revealing some untold stories of the palace.
Taking place overnight on the 21st March will be a ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ sleepover, where ticket holders will get to spend one night at Hampton Court Palace! Taking visitors back in time, the sleepover is a rare chance to eat, drink and eventually sleep in the infamous Tudor palace; a once in a lifetime experience.
The evening includes a historically inspired dinner, and exclusive programme of entertainment including tours and live interpretation, a seated breakfast and tour the following day, and of course, general admission to the palace for the duration. Sleeping arrangements are communal, and guests will be provided with a sleeping mat, although sleeping ‘equipment’ is not supplied.
Tickets cost £120 per adult (minimum age is 18), however…it is money well spent! And guests are encouraged to come in costume!
From the 3rd to the 5th of April, from 18.30-21.15, visitors can explore the palace at night to a beautiful backdrop of live period music. Henry VIII chambers will be brought to live with music from the Tudor period, and there will be Baroque performances within the Queens Apartments. Littered throughout the palace will be pop-up food and drinks bars, allowing guests a taste of the past.
The climax to the evening will be a 25 minute long Son et Lumiere show; featuring projections on the south facade of the palace, adjoining specially composed music. The show will end with a firework display over the palace! Tickets cost £22 per adult.
To really bring to life Hampton Courts’ illustrious 500 year-long history Historic Royal Palaces have teamed up with Aardman, the famous animators who produced the Wallace & Gromit series, to animate the history of the palace into a five minute film…created from children’s drawings! Historic Royal Palaces are calling out to all young artists to submit their cartoons. Find out how to get involved here: http://moviemaker.hrp.org.uk/
Alongside the amazing 500th Anniversary celebrations, Historic Royal Palaces are offering visitors a special present. Should a guest visit Hampton Court on their birthday this year, they will receive a free entrance ticket to either the Tower of London or Kensington Palace. How nice!