Lose track of time this Christmas in a magical new light trail inspired by Hampton Court Palace’s famous astronomical clock

8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022

8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022

This Christmas, prepare to be swept up in a whimsical world of planets and stars in Palace of Stardust, an enchanting new after-hours light trail at Hampton Court Palace (8 December – 3 January). As dusk falls across this magnificent former royal home, an atmospheric, fantastical wonderland of clocks, moons, planets and sundials is just waiting to be discovered.

Visitors will lose track of time as they explore the historic cobbled courtyards and gardens, filled with magical illuminations inspired by the palace’s famous astronomical clock; the ticking Tudor heart of Hampton Court installed by command of King Henry VIII.

From glowing lanterns to mesmerising projections, Palace of Stardust offers a chance to see this incredible clock brought to life like never before, while unique and beautiful installations designed and created by award-winning outdoor event producers Wild Rumpus, will reveal the mysterious meanings behind the strange symbols on this legendary dial.

As the trail winds through the palace’s formal gardens, visitors will encounter a flickering moonlit ball in the East Front Gardens, hear the ancient royal trees as they whisper their secrets and even peek into mysterious miniature shadow worlds, before being transported to another planet in the deepest depths of the Wilderness, once home to King Charles II’s formal pleasure garden. 

There’ll also be seasonal food and drink available to keep the cold at bay, from mulled wine and mince pies to marshmallow-topped hot chocolate, while outside the palace’s West Front the popular Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink makes a welcome return.

For those who really want to make a day of it, a ticket to Hampton Court Palace offers the chance to walk in the footsteps of history, strolling through the lavish Tudor apartments where Queen Elizabeth once hosted yuletide banquets and standing on the very spot William Shakespeare performed for King James I during the Christmas festivities of 1603.  Visitors can also experience the roaring log fire inside the historic Kitchens, which once produced an astonishing 1,000 meals a day for Henry VIII’s festive feasts.

From 3-5 December, the popular Festive Fayre will return to the palace courtyards, offering visitors the chance to pick up some memorable gifts, tuck into delicious warming food and soak up the lively atmosphere.

Notes to editors

Palace of Stardust runs from 8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022 16.00-20.00 and is a separately ticketed, evening event in courtyards and gardens only. Purchase tickets here: www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/whats-on/palace-of-stardust-at-hampton-court-palace

Tickets: Adults £12.50 / Child (5-15 years) £8.00 / Family 1 adult 2 children £24.50 / Family 2 adult 2 children £37.00 / Half price entry for HRP Members

The Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre runs from 3 -5 December and is included in palace admission. Purchase tickets here: www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/

For further information or images, please contact the HRP Press Office via [email protected] / 020 3166 6166

Historic Royal Palaces is a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world. We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing. We are a charity and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.  

Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk


Wild Rumpus exist in a space where arts and culture meet the natural environment. Working from the Whirligig, four acres of woodland in Cheshire, they create experiences which inspire curiosity and immerse audiences in incredible stories and moments of wonder. 

They create other ambitious outdoor arts events including Lanterns at Chester Zoo (12 November - 23 December 2021) Hinterlands Film Festival in Skipton (13 – 15 May 2022), Just So Festival for families on the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire (19 – 21 August 2022), and Timber Festival in the National Forest (1 - 3 July 2022).  They also run an extensive volunteer and talent development programme working with performers, producers and programmers to shape a cultural environment where excellent outdoor work thrives. www.wildrumpus.org.uk