Itinerary Planning for Groups and Travel Trade

New events to help you plan your future tours and itineraries

New events to help you plan your future tours and itineraries

The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I

Top image: On loan from the Churchwardens and Parish Council of St Faith's Church, Bacton / © Historic Royal Palaces  

Following a three-year conservation project at Historic Royal Palaces, the stunning “Bacton Altar Cloth” will go on display at Hampton Court Palace.

The richly embroidered textile, named after the church in Bacton, Herefordshire where it was preserved for centuries, was identified by Historic Royal Palaces’ curator Eleri Lynn in 2016. The fabric was quickly established as being part of a high status sixteenth-century court dress, making it one of the rarest survivals of Elizabethan dress in existence. The cloth had long been associated with Blanche Parry, one of Elizabeth I’s most faithful servants and who was often gifted clothing from the Queen.

After significant examination by conservationists at Hampton Court Palace, it became evident that the fabric had once formed part of a skirt belonging to the Tudor Queen. Customers will be able to see for themselves the high-status silver chamblet silk, the professional embroidery including real gold and silver threat and the distinct pattern-cutting – all signals that the cloth could have formed part of Elizabeth I’s lavish wardrobe.

Alongside the altar cloth will be the iconic Rainbow Portrait (c.1600-02), on loan from Hatfield House. The portrait, commissioned by Robert Cecil, depicts the Queen wearing a gown that bears a tantalising resemblance to the altar cloth on display!

On display will also be a selection of rate domestic print books dating from the Tudor era. Such books would have provided inspiration for many of the embroidered motifs fashionable during Elizabeth I’s reign, including those found on the Bacton Altar Cloth.

Visitors will discover the Virgin Queen’s now iconic style, with the exhibition exploring; the artistry and majesty of the Tudor wardrobe, Elizabeth’s inner-circle of women and how embroidery served as a way of female bonding at court. Customers will also gain a fascinating insight into the world of secret symbols and Elizabethan codes.

Plan your visit:

  • The exhibition will be on display from 12 October 2019 until 23 February 2020
  • The exhibition will be included in admission to Hampton Court Palace
  • Tickets to Hampton Court Palace operate on a freesale basis

Image: On loan from the Churchwardens and Parish Council of St Faith's Church, Bacton / © Historic Royal Palaces 


The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I exhibition, showing the Bacton Altar Cloth and the Rainbow Portrait in the green exhibition space.

A Field of Cloth of Gold for 2020

In 2020, a majestic event will arrive at Hampton Court Palace. In June 2020, it will be 500 years since Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met near Calais for a Grand European Summit. Designed to improve relations between the two kingdoms, the princes enjoyed a fortnight of; feasts, tournaments, masquerades and religious services. So extravagant was the affair that it became known as the "Field of Cloth of Gold".

Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King

To mark this event, Historic Royal Palaces will be rolling out the gold carpet with a special exhibition in the rooms of Thomas Wolsey.

Visitors will be guided through the turbulent relationship between the two nations and the events that resulted in François I requesting a meeting with Henry VIII. On display will be the original letter from François I to Thomas Wolsey, the organiser of the Field of Cloth of Gold in addition to the spectacular Stonyhurst vestments – woven from luxurious cloth and selected by Henry to use at religious services held during the festivities.

Moving deeper into the intricacies of the meeting, learn of the sheer scale of the occasion, from spending records kept to accounts of activities undertaken such as jousting and mass.

All’s fair in Love and War – discover how Henry VIII quickly turned against the new alliance and attacked France just one year later.

Henry VIII vs Francois I: The Rematch

From 23-31 May 2020, a spectacular festival of Tudor sport and entertainment will see the “rematch” held at the palace. Complete with jousting, foot combat and wrestling alongside a culture war of food, crafts and art, this event is guaranteed to make your tour EPIC!

The Great Tudor Games

In August 2020, visitors will be able to test their Tudor sporting skills at the Great Tudor Games. Under the guardianship of royal courtiers, build knowledge and skills of traditional Tudor games including jousting and archery.

Plan your visit

  • The exhibition will open on 10 April and will close on 31 August 2020
  • All activities will be included in admission to Hampton Court Palace
  • Tickets to Hampton Court Palace operate on a free sale basis

Image: The Field of Cloth of Gold c. 1545. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

The Field of the Cloth of Gold depicting the meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I in 1520.
The East Front Gardens after Kensington Palace renovations looking west towards the East Front, 28 May 2012. Showing visitors to the garden. 

Part of the Kensington Palace project, ‘Welcome to Kensington - a palace for everyone’, an undertaking over two years (2010-12) of major refurbishments (renovation) at Kensington, including new gardens.

Picture this! Life through a royal lens

For the very first time from 15 May 2020, groups to Kensington Palace can visit this exciting new exhibition of private photos taken by members of the Royal Family including works by celebrated fashion photographer and husband to Princess Margaret, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

For almost 200 years, the medium of photography has created an unprecedented intimacy between crown and subject. Learn how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s enthusiastic patronage of photography during its infancy helped this new invention receive greater scientific and public attention. Visitors will also get the unique opportunity of seeing some of the earliest photographs taken and examples of intimate portraits commissioned by Victoria and Albert.

From the Victorian era to the Twentieth Century, the display will explore the impact of Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson’s work. Images of Her Majesty The Queen among other loyal sitters will reveal how their work shaped changing public perceptions of the Royal Family.

Plan your visit 

  • This exhibition will open on 15 May 2020. Closing date to be confirmed
  • The exhibition will be included in palace admission
  • Pre-book your timed admission slot online