Summer events at Hampton Court Palace (to 31 Aug)

2009 is a fantastic year to visit Hampton Court Palace, as Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence has been majestically transformed to mark his 500th anniversary, with new displays and presentations bringing the story of the King and his court to life as never before! The Tudor palace and Henry VIII’s State Apartments have been lavishly re-presented, featuring magnificent new furnishings, important historic exhibits, and the King’s own Council Chamber is open to the public for the very first time.

Also Hampton Court Palace will be hosting the wedding party for Henry VIII’s marriage to his sixth wife Kateryn Parr. Every day live historical interpreters, resplendent in Tudor costume, will recreate the wedding celebrations, with Tudor costumes also available for those who wish to fully immerse themselves in court life! A family-friendly way to experience the 16th century palace with much to see and do!

Exhibition Henry’s Women
Until 3 August

A temporary exhibition about Henry VIII’s wives and his dynastic quest. We will be bringing together for the first time little-known 16th-century portraits of each of the wives, Henry VIII, and his daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Other items on display range from a lock of Kateryn Parr’s hair, to the music book written for Anne Boleyn by one of her alleged lovers. The exhibition will be hosted in King Henry VIII’s Council Chamber which will be open for the first time to the public.

Tudor cookery
henry-viiis-kitchens25-26 July
29-31 Aug

Henry VIII’s kitchens at Hampton Court Palace are the largest surviving Renaissance kitchens in Europe. Throughout the year the kitchens are brought to life when the Tudor cooks experiment with traditional recipes, ingredients and cooking methods to prepare feasts fit for a king! The Tudor cooks will be working in the Great Kitchens on selected weekends to prepare the most magnificent food imaginable for King Henry’s court.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
7-12 July

Gardening’s best gets down to earth at this year’s show, so be ready to make the most of your garden.  There’ll be ideas on how you can grow your own, enjoy healthy outdoor living and much, much more.  With something for everyone at the show this summer, join us for a day of homegrown fun the whole family can get stuck into. In 2009, the show is celebrating the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne.  Garden designers are invited to design a garden representing one of the six wives (Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Katheryn Parr) – Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived!  All of whom will inspire very different garden designs.

Henry VIII: famous for 500 years
14 July

The third of the seven Henry VIII Talks being held this year in Henry’s Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace is chaired by Eamon Duffy and features Dr David Starkey. Together they consider how the world’s most famous king has maintained his reputation for half a millennia. Tickets £22.00. Book online at or call 0844 482 7795.

Sport for kings (falconry, fencing and archery)
25-26 July

As majestic falcons swoop overhead and gallant gentlemen take up their swords to show their skills, join King Henry VIII and his court at play. There is money to be won betting on the outrageous games of chance and skill which the Tudors loved. Pick up a tip or two on how to really impress your sweetheart. A truly fantastic chance to get involved in the very sports that Henry VIII himself was passionate about.

John Heywood’s The Play of the Weather theatre
6 and 8 August

The Play of the Weather is the exemplary court drama from the reign of Henry VIII that will be performed in Hampton Court’s Great Hall. Whilst records don’t tell us where or when the play was performed, it was clearly written to be staged at court with the play commenting on Henry’s divorce and his infatuation with Anne Boleyn. In this satirical play Heywood makes fun of everyone, courtiers and lords, gentlewomen and laundresses, millers and merchants, depicting the entire Henrician court in a less than flattering light. Book online at or 0844 482 7795

Tudor tournament
tol-knights2022129 – 31 August

For the first time in modern history, Hampton Court Palace plays host to a recreation of a Tudor jousting tournament. Gasp and cheer as knights in armour thunder onto the field on their magnificent chargers. England’s finest jousters compete to impress King Henry VIII and his bride Queen Kateryn Parr with a display of skill, strength and bravery. And who is the mysterious knight come to win all the prizes? Not to be missed.

Where do I find out more information?
Fun Kids review of Hampton Court Palace