Shire Horse Sunday


15 November 2020


Ticketing information

Meeting point is the East Front gardens at 15:00 for the blessing of the shire horses.

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Buy Hampton Court Palace tickets

An opportunity to see the palace Shire Horses in the East Front Gardens following social distancing guidelines.

Blessing the Shire horses at The Chapel Royal

The Shire horses at Hampton Court are part of the last herd of working Shire horses in London. They live in Home Park, where they also help maintain the wildflower meadows.

Each November, on Shire Horse Sunday, the whole herd is blessed by HM's Chaplain prior to evensong at The Chapel Royal.

Henry VIII's shire horses at Hampton Court Palace

Nearly 500 years ago, Henry VIII started the process to acquire the ultimate war horse. In 1535 and 1540, he instigated two acts that governed the breeding of horses in England, with the aim to develop a horse that could carry a man in heavy armour into battle.

The King is credited for naming this powerful new breed of horses Shire – from the Saxon word schyran, which means to shear or divide, hence the name synonymous with 'county'.

Since then, the Shire has become important both in agriculture and industry, until the combustion engine took over, making them almost disappear overnight.

Horse-drawn vehicles such as the tram became popular during Victorian times at Hampton Court, after Queen Victoria opened the gardens to the public in 1838.

Two shire horses pull a tram, also known as a charabanc carriage, outside the baroque exterior of Hampton Court Palace

Meet Henry VIII's Great Shire Horses and enjoy a tram ride through 500 years of history at Hampton Court Palace.


Hampton Court Palace


Separate ticket

Aerial view of a formal garden with green lawns on either side of a main path running towards the baroque palace. A fountain runs in the foreground at the centre of the path
Things to see

Take time to explore and relax in these world-renowned gardens without the usual crowds.


Hampton Court Palace

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

The Tudor Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace, showing the Abraham Tapestries and the room set out for day visitors.
Things to see

Experience the splendour of the Tudor court in Henry VIII's Great Hall, complete with his magnificent tapestries.


Hampton Court Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The King's Witch by Tracy Borman

The King's Witch (signed copies while stocks last)

After aiding an ailing Queen Elizabeth, Francis Gorges longs for the fields and woods of her parent's Hampshire estate. However, when the new puritan King James arrives from Scotland she is taken to court, where she finds herself surrounded by mortal danger.


Elizabeth's Women by Tracy Borman

Elizabeth's Women

Discover the world of Elizabeth I with this insightful look at Elizabeth's relationship with woman and how they helped to shape her into a remarkable monarch. This thrilling book explores the lesser known side of Elizabeth I who is often portrayed as a ruthless 'man's woman'.


Embroidered and hand painted Tudor rose, displayed in a wooden frame.

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