Field of Cloth of Gold 2020

An exhibition and a season of events to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's legendary encounter with his great rival François I of France

An exhibition and a season of events to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's legendary encounter with his great rival François I of France

Tudor West Gate of Hampton Court Palace under a blue sky. Visitors can be seen in the foreground

In 1520, Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon travelled across the Channel with an entourage of over 6,000 courtiers and their servants for the party of the century — an 18-day event known as the Field of Cloth of Gold.

To mark the 500th anniversary of this historic event, Hampton Court Palace will recreate the drama and spectacle of the event with a festival, exhibition and family-friendly programme of summer activities.

A Tudor spectacle

Henry VIII (1491-1547) June 1526-June 1527, by LUCAS HORENBOUT (C. 1490/5-1544)

The Field of Cloth of Gold was unparalleled in its lavish demonstration of wealth and power. Inside huge temporary palaces, under tents made of luxurious cloth of gold or on the specially constructed tiltyard, Henry and his rival François I indulged in a magnificent and competitive display of sport, ceremony and entertainment.

The two kings and their courtiers jousted and wrestled, hosted great banquets and exchanged expensive gifts. Wine flowed from the fountains and a 'dragon' flew above the festivities.

Image: Henry VIII by Lucas Horenbout 1526-7. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

A major new season of events and exhibitions

Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King

New exhibition opening April 2020

A special exhibition of dazzling Tudor treasures celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold, Henry VIII's legendary encounter with his great rival François I.

Immerse yourself in Tudor history as we reunite stunning works of art, gold, weapons, manuscripts and clothing from the actual historic event, as well as from the 16th-century English and French courts.

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Henry VIII vs. François I: the Rematch!

23-31 May 2020

500 years ago it ended in a draw. Join us to cheer on the English or French court in a replay of the greatest showdown in centuries.

Fresh from the Field of Cloth of Gold, join the French king as he arrives in the palace gardens for the rematch. Support your chosen champion from the English and French camps as Henry and François compete to up the stakes in everything from jousting and wrestling to courtly dance and quick wit. Which King will win, and how will the loser soothe his bruised ego?

Join the party to the sound of Tudor music as you dance with our courtiers, explore Henry VIII's tent, practise your combat skills and learn to party like a Tudor.

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Great Tudor Games

Summer holidays 2020

From combat to cooking, wrestling to revelling, throw yourself into Henry VIII’s Tudor extravaganza.

Have a go at sword fighting, crossbow, 16th-century football and a 'Tudor dance-off' during our summer of sporting activities for all the family.

Win a medal that Henry VIII himself would be proud to wear, experience falconry and wrestling, and see Tudor cookery demonstrations.

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Children and actors dressed in Tudor costumes enjoy a range of Tudor sports including falconry, archery, quintain and football.

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