18 June 2018
9 April 2021. Following the death of His Royal Highness, there will be changes to opening hours for the gardens at Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle. For further information, please read our FAQs page
Join Henry VIII and a cast of Tudor characters for a weekend of food, music, theatre and more.
14 & 15 July 2018
Suffering from football fatigue this summer? Escape the World Cup final this July and immerse yourself in a more traditional sport, as Hampton Court Palace plays host to its annual jousting weekend.
Pomp, ceremony and splendour will reign supreme, as this family-friendly event takes place over two days in the palace’s spectacular gardens. Visitors are invited to join King Henry VIII and his court, along with a clutch of intrepid knights, all of whom will vie for glory at this impressive sporting spectacle. Along with the tournament itself, visitors can experience the delights of Tudor music, food, and even a specially-commissioned play throughout the action-packed weekend.
During the reign of Henry VIII, jousting tournaments formed the dazzling centrepiece of State visits and royal celebrations – and the same applies to Hampton Court this July. Kick-starting the event will be a royal procession in the palace’s historic Tudor Courtyards, which will see horses and riders greet the King with a display of heraldic pageantry. Then it’s straight into action as the courtiers flex their muscles with a sword-fight in the Jousting Arena in the East Front Gardens, before the brave knights are armed ready for battle. The tournament itself will see knights tilting for the right to be hailed a hero whilst visitors can cheer, jeer and follow all the fun of this epic face off.
From horseplay to summer play, a new theatrical performance at the palace will coincide with this year’s tournament and can be enjoyed as part of every visit. This special commission, celebrating the re-opened palace kitchens, explores the fascinating history of feasting in the palace and will be taking place inside Henry’s magnificent Great Hall. Here, visitors can watch Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, as he prepares a royal banquet to celebrate the King’s forthcoming marriage to Anne of Cleves. Like many things related to Henry’s marital affairs, tensions are running high and courtiers, musicians and politicians are all watching nervously to find out what the King will do next. After the culinary shenanigans, Henry VIII will then join spectators to watch the joust.
If that’s not enough for one day, the East Front Gardens will see musicians soothing spectators with traditional Tudor tunes, whilst back inside the palace, visitors can explore Henry VIII’s newly re-opened kitchens, where they can watch, smell and take part as chefs cook up Tudor recipes fit for a King.
The Tudor Joust is included in palace admission and free for Historic Royal Palaces members, allowing visitors to explore the many treasures of Hampton Court Palace and its famous gardens during their visit.
For further information and images, please contact Sophie Lemagnen in the Historic Royal Palaces press office: 020 3166 6304 / [email protected]
Notes to editors
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 in Northern Ireland. 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. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Registered charity number 1068852.
For more information, visit www.hrp.org.uk.