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Discover 500 years of family fun at Hampton Court Palace this summer

Families are invited to make memories to last a lifetime this summer at Hampton Court Palace, with a packed itinerary of events and activities to delight visitors of all ages.

Visitors can travel back in time to Henry VIII’s Joust (2 – 6 August), where the dashing young King Henry VIII will preside over five days of pomp, ceremony and splendour at his famous party palace. Spectators are set to be dazzled by a real Tudor joust, taking place in the magnificent gardens of Hampton Court Palace, where chivalrous knights will face off to be crowned champion. Amongst the spectators to this jubilant Joust will be King Henry VIII himself, Anne Boleyn, and upstanding members of the Tudor court, ready to welcome the uninitiated to their favourite courtly pastime.

Spectacular falconry displays will captivate visitors of all ages, with expert falconers sharing insights into the hunting techniques once popular with the Tudor court. Visitors will have the opportunity to see these majestic birds up close between shows as they relax in their tent. Throughout the day, families will be able to treat themselves to a tasty delight from one of the delicious ringside food and drink stands, including a British summer classic – a cool glass of Pimm’s and lemonade.

Ahead of the summer break, families are invited to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the first printed collection of William Shakespeare’s plays with Backstage at the Palace (running until 21 July). Throughout the day visitors are treated to short pop up performances around the palace, as a troupe of actors rehearse for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to entertain James I and Anne of Denmark. Theatrical fun for all the family!

Visitors of all ages are invited to uncover lesser-known histories from Hampton Court Palace’s past during the school holidays, as Unheard Voices (22 July – 25 August) shines a spotlight on individuals whose stories have yet to be told. Visitors will encounter scenes around the palace inspired by the lives of four individuals in Tudor England – Jane the Fool, Catalina of Motril, Roderigo Lopez and Jacques Francis. From the specialist free-diver from West Africa employed as part of the salvage team for the Mary Rose, to the son of a Portuguese doctor of Jewish ancestry, who served as physician-in-chief to Elizabeth I, visitors to the palace are invited to explore previously unheard voices who made their mark on history.

No trip to the famous Tudor palace would be complete without a visit to Henry VIII’s kitchens for a spot of Historic Cookery (22 July – 1 September), where our dedicated team will be preparing Tudor dishes all summer long. From roasts and stews to delicate sugar creations, families have the opportunity to discover what life working in the royal kitchens was like in the 16th century, and how the cooks created recipes fit for Kings and Queens.

The Hampton Court Palace Food Festival (26 - 28 August) reigns supreme when it comes to summer bank holiday celebrations, and this year promises unmissable family fun alongside mouth-watering treats from over 150 brands and producers. Festivalgoers can soak up the atmosphere with feel-good classics by local performers at the bandstand, take part in traditional fete games and face-painting in the gardens, and tuck into tasty street food, refreshing craft beers and spectacular cocktails in the sunshine.

Each of these fun-filled family activities is included in the price of admission to Hampton Court Palace, which includes access to the breath-taking State Apartments, famous puzzle maze, and 60 glorious acres of gardens. The Magic Garden, our themed adventure playground on the site of Henry VIII’s jousting tiltyard, is perfect for little ones to run off some steam. Visitors are invited to transport themselves back in time as they explore the palace interiors, from Henry VIII’s magnificent Great Hall to the baroque additions made by William and Mary.

For more information, and to book, please visit:

Notes to editors

Backstage at the Palace runs from 1 May – 21 July 2023 and is included in the cost of palace admission. Discover timings and locations for each performance, plus more information, here:

Unheard Voices runs from 22 July – 25 August 2023 and is included in the cost of palace admission.

Henry VIII’s Joust runs from 2 – 6 August 2023 and is included in the cost of palace admission. Find out more about the Joust here:

The Hampton Court Palace Food Festival runs from 26 – 28 August 2023 and is included in the cost of palace admission. Advance booking is recommended, find out more here:

Historic Cookery will take place every weekend until 31 March 2024, and runs daily from 22 July to 1 September 2023. Discover more information here:

For further information or images, please contact Jessica England in 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


The story of Hampton Court Palace

Home of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty

The gardens at Hampton Court Palace

A brief history of the famous royal gardens

Henry VIII, Terrible Tudor?

Who was the real Henry VIII?