In this feature, we’ve rounded up the big announcements and events to be taking place at some of Historic Royal Palace’s renowned sites throughout this year and into 2021.
From 15th May, visitors to the birthplace of Queen Victoria will be able to explore the royal family’s relationship with the camera with the Life Through A Royal Lens exhibition. Photographs of the royal family, which have never been seen before by the public, will be on display alongside iconic images taken by renowned photographer, Cecil Beaton to offer a more personal insight into the life of the royal family. Looking into next year, the rooms at Kensington Palace will be brought to life from 26th March 2021 with examples of spectacular 18th century court clothing, including the stunningly intricate Rockingham mantua dress, juxtaposed with show-stopping modern designs.
Hampton Court Palace
A nine day event which begins on 23rd May at Hampton Court Palace will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold, the meeting between Henry VIII and François I, with a spectacular Tudor festival. Included in this event will be: jousting matches, combat re-enactments, wrestling and theatre performances at various times in the day. There will also be an exhibition from 10th April until 31st August displaying artefacts from the event itself and throughout August, visitors will be able to try their hand at Tudor sports at the Great Tudor Games.
Between 17th April and 3rd May 2021, thousands of tulips will take over the grounds at the palace, with visitors able to learn about the long history of tulip planting, dating back to Mary II, and see extravagant tulip vases from the Royal Collection. Live actors playing the king and queen will also be greeting visitors and various activities will take place throughout the day.
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
Throughout August, groups to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in Northern Ireland can make use of a daily programme of activities for all ages, including different creative activities, croquet on the lawn, object handling and storytelling sessions. The team are also preparing for Halloween, with visitors able to enjoy a Wild Raven Walk through the gardens from 28th to 31st October.
Tower of London
Every day in August, the Tower of London will be re-creating key moments from the trial and execution of one of England’s most controversial queens, Anne Boleyn. Also, on the 26th and 27th September, visitors to the Tower will be transported back to 1445 where England is celebrating the arrival of a new queen, Margaret d’Anjou. The two-day event allows people to step into the medieval world and experience the latest fashions from the era, feel the weight of a real knight’s sword, fire a crossbow and watch the queen’s knights in full sword-fighting action.
This year marks 200 years since the death of King George III, otherwise known as “mad King George”. Kew Palace is a great place to learn more about the king who had strong links with the Richmond site. A special exhibition, George III: The Mind Behind The Myth, will be marking this anniversary by exploring the man behind the exaggerated rumours about his wellbeing. Visitors will be able to understand the king’s many achievements that were vastly overshadowed by his poor mental health, and the often-cruel treatments he endured at the hands of his doctors. The display will open from 3rd April until 30th September.
Historic Royal Palaces has a dedicated sales team that can help with group bookings to any of the six palaces looked after by the charity. Special rates apply to group organisers and coach drivers on certain occasions. You can find more information at www.hrp.org.uk.