Travel through time at Hampton Court Palace this May holiday!

Travel through time at Hampton Court Palace this May holiday!

Time quake

Experience ‘TimeQuake’ – a new family offer aimed at children aged 7-14.  Free, included in admission price

23 – 31 May

This May, Historic Royal Palaces is inviting families to visit Hampton Court Palace for a unique adventure – transporting them back in time through the stories of Hampton Court Palace’s 500 year history with a behind the scenes activity packed quest!

The brainchild of award-winning author Damien Dibben, the mission entitled ‘TimeQuake’, will send visitors on a whistle-stop tour to meet characters from the past and explore parts of the palace where visitors are normally forbidden to go – through secret passages, down concealed staircases and behind closed doors usually off limits to the public.

In a palace first, a group of talented young actors will take charge, performing as ‘Time Explorers’ for the nine day event over the May half-term holiday. Armed with some insider knowledge of some of Hampton Court’s most closely guarded secrets, the Time Explorers will lead visitors as they traverse the palace’s state rooms - playing games and making discoveries along the way – on a mission to find lost figures from the palace’s past. Cast from all over the country (and beyond!), the Time Explorers have been trained for their special roles by Historic Royal Palaces and the Rose Theatre in Kingston.

At the centre of the TimeQuake sits Hampton Court Palace’s world-famous astronomical clock. Commissioned by King Henry VIII himself, the complex clock tells the hour, month, day of the month, position of the sun, the twelve signs of the zodiac, the phases of the moon, and even the time of high water at London Bridge – crucial for a monarch who liked to travel by boat!

The clock was designed by astronomer Nicolaus Ktatzer, who will be making an extraordinary reappearance at the palace to set the young visitors on an important mission to be completed within the hour. From then on, the Time Explorers will take over the palace!

Participants will be plunged into the past as their Time Explorer guides take them through the palace. In the Tudor kitchens they will take part in a game show with a difference’. A whirlwind journey through the sixteenth century, sees them on a quest through the Stuart Court, for an audience with King William and Queen Mary, as they listen to architects Sir Christopher Wren and Daniel Marot, jostling over rebuilding a creaking Tudor Palace and creating a second Versailles. Immersive soundscapes will bring to life the turbulent Civil War, whilst projections and music will capture the spirit of the age.

On a top-secret mission through the Queen’s Apartments, to the tune of a musical mash-up of Handel’s Water Music, the Time Explorers will introduce participants to the elaborate world of the Georgian Court. After an etiquette lesson, they will sneak through the usually-closed Prince of Wales Apartments in darkness to complete their mission.

Those brave enough to take up the challenge of the TimeQuake should be prepared for a voyage of discovery to rival anything Doctor Who has to offer – with a few surprises along the way too!

Notes to Editors

For more information and images, please contact Laura Hutchinson in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: 0203 166 6338.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (with the exception of Hillsborough Castle). Registered charity number 1068852. For more information, visit

Learning and Engagement at Historic Royal Palaces is expanding with a new programme that aims to enable the widest possible audience to discover, explore and enjoy the stories of the palaces. The new approach is making learning even more central to how all audiences experience the royal palaces - onsite, offsite and online. (

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