Saturday 13 July – Saturday 31 August
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
Unshackle the stories behind some of the most daring attempts to escape the Tower of London this summer with a series of exciting events and immersive activities for all the family to enjoy.
Step back in time to the days of Queen Elizabeth I and her successor King James I, at the height of the Tower’s dark reputation as an infamous prison. Rebels, plotters, heretics and spies have filled its cells and dungeons. The lucky ones were tortured, while the less fortunate lost their heads. But, with the right blend of cunning, ingenuity and disregard for danger, escape was sometimes possible!
From 13 July- 31 August meet notorious prisoners from the Tower of London’s past, including John Gerard, an Elizabethan ‘heretic’ and secret Catholic priest, Arbella Stuart, a resourceful royal rival to the monarchs and lovestruck nobleman William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, branded a traitor by James I for his clandestine marriage to Arbella. In the shadow of the imposing White Tower listen to their gruesome tales of imprisonment, torture and execution. Pick up a family trail and keep your eyes peeled and your ears open as you gather clues and hatch an escape plan. Do you have what it takes to evade the guards, or will you be left to languish in the dungeons?
Throughout August witness one of history’s truly great escapes. Relive the drama of John Gerard’s exhilarating 1597 escape attempt as he abseils down the Tower’s historic walls. John Gerard famously hatched an escape plan sending secret notes in invisible ink to his rescuers using orange juice. Find out for yourself if Gerard managed to outwit his captors! This 30-minute live performance and summer spectacle runs three times a day and brings to life the story of imprisonment at the Tower like never before.
Also on selected days from 29 July – 31 August, little escapologists can delve deeper into the Tower’s prison stories with a range of hands-on activities. Kids can have a go at writing in invisible ink just like John Gerard, as well as trying on a range of props and disguises – the perfect foil in your quest for freedom.
All activities included in the Tower of London general admission ticket. For more information and to buy tickets visit www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon
For more information and images: please contact Charlie Oven in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: [email protected] / 020 3166 6340
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 and Gardens. 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 and Gardens, 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. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle and Gardens under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk