The Magic Garden will be closed on 16 July 2018 for essential maintenance.

Tudor Joust Weekend


Ticketing information

Included in palace admission Buy Hampton Court Palace tickets

This July, the grounds of Hampton Court Palace will once again ring out with the sound of charging horses and the clash of cold metal, as King Henry VIII and his court are entertained by that most Tudor of royal sports: the joust.

Join Henry VIII, Katherine Parr, Lady Mary and other members of the King's inner circle for this ultimate display of Tudor power and performance.

Cheer on the rival knights as they compete for glory, and soak up the thrill and spectacle of the joust as guests of the King.

Daily schedule

11:00: Royal Procession (15 minutes)

Horse and riders exchange greetings with the King.

Location: Base Court 

11:30 and 14:30: Sword Fighting Display (15 minutes)

Courtiers practice the art of defence.

Location: East Front Gardens – Joust Arena

11:45 and 14:45: Arming of the Knights (30 minutes)

Watch the brave knights prepare for the joust.

Location: East Front Gardens – Round Pavilion

12:30 and 15:30: The Joust (45 minutes)

Immerse yourself in the thrill and spectacle of the joust.

Location: East Front Gardens – Joust Arena

14:00: Tudor Music (30 minutes)

Meet some of Henry's court musicians and hear them play their wonderful instruments.

Location: East Front Gardens

The Joust

By the reign of Henry VIII jousting had been a proper sport with set rules and specialized equipment for about 200 years. Tournaments were no longer regarded as training for war and to show off martial prowess but more of an opportunity to display wealth, enforce power and status.

Jousts were frequently held to mark State occasions, court celebrations and high days and holidays. They were often used as a way of impressing foreign visitors.

Tournaments were always vastly expensive affairs, enormously spectacular and the highlight of the year for participants and spectators alike.

At its heart, jousting is very simple and has one basic aim: hit your opponent accurately in the allowed areas.

One of three things will then happen:

  • The lance might skid off, this is called an 'attaint'
  • A rider might be unhorsed.
  • The lance will break cleanly, demonstrating maximum accuracy and power.

Heralds along with the Knight Marshal will control and facilitate what goes on in the tiltyard, the area where the joust takes place. They are responsible for the correct displays of heraldry and letting the participants and Royal party know what is going on.

Each jouster has the services of a specific Herald. Because the jousters cannot hear or see very well inside their armour, the Herald is their eyes and ears.

How a joust is scored

Points are awarded for the following:

1. A blow to any part of the body from the top of the saddle steel (the top of the front of the saddle) to the charnel (the lower edge of the helmet). This includes the arms and shield.

  • An attaint here carries 1 point.
  • A broken lance here carries 2 points

2. A blow to the helmet (The crest however is not part of the helmet and a strike there carries no points)

  • An attaint here carries 3 points
  • A broken lance here carries 5 points

Lances that break coronel to coronel shall be awarded 5 points to each jouster.

Jousting at Hampton Court Palace

Interview with a jouster

We caught up with Jouster Sir Nicholas Carew – who trained with King Henry VIII himself – to hear his thoughts ahead of the big day.

Tudor kitchen staff work in a busy backdrop of Henry VIII's kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.
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Transport yourself back to the heyday of Tudor feasting and entertainment in Henry VIII's Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.

Open daily

Food and drink at the Hampton Court Palace Good Food Festival 2017
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25 August - 27 August 2018

10:00 - 18:00

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Follow the tragic story of Anne Boleyn through her imprisonment, trial and execution at the Tower of London.

05 May – 30 August 2018

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Face on image of a Henry VIII dressed up brown teddy bear on a white background.

Henry VIII tudor teddy bear

Cuddle up with one of England's most iconic monarch's with our exclusive and super soft Henry VIII teddy bear. Henry VIII was the second king during the Tudor dynasty and is one of the most recognisable monarchs in history.


Anne Boleyn 'B' initial necklace mug

Anne Boleyn 'B' initial necklace mug

Anne Boleyn's 'B' initial necklace is arguably one of the most famous pieces of Tudor jewellery and is visible in many Anne Boleyn portraits. This exquisite stoneware mug features a unique interpretation of Anne Boleyn's 'B' initial pendant on a dramatic black glaze.


Anne Boleyn initial hanging decoration

Anne Boleyn initial hanging decoration

Inspired by Anne Boleyn's famous initial necklace, this luxury hanging decoration features a B initial suspended from faux pearls.