27 December 2015 – 3 January 2016
Daily between 11:30 – 15:00
Queen Elizabeth I and her court invite you to share in their music and merry-making around the Yule log.Find out more
4 – 6 December
Join us at the palace’s first ever Festive Fayre in the beautiful courtyards.Find out more
20 November – 4 January
A sure way to get you and your family in the festive mood, glide around the ice rink with the palace as a magnificent backdrop.Buy tickets
Daily from 1 September 2015
Join our costumed guides as they take you on a fantastic journey through one of Britain’s most iconic palaces.
Included in palace admission.Find out more
Selected dates in October and November
5 expert talks – 5 characters – 500 years of history
What do a court jester, a political writer, a scientist, the ‘Queen’s dwarf’, and the leader of a social movement have in common? They all lived and worked at Hampton Court Palace! Explore the fascinating, but lesser known, figures of Hampton Court’s 500 year history.Find out more
One of the best surviving parts of Wolsey’s work is Base Court, the vast outer courtyard he built to house guests.
In 1529, Wolsey’s master, King Henry VIII, decided that he would rather like Hampton Court for himself. So Wolsey, obligingly, handed it over. Henry made further improvements, and by the time he was finished in about 1540, the palace was one of the most modern and magnificent in England. Henry’s wives all visited: Anne Boleyn on her honeymoon, and Katherine Parr for her wedding. Henry’s son Edward VI was born here in 1537, though his christening in the Chapel Royal was quickly followed by the funeral of his mother, Jane Seymour.
Soon after gaining the throne in 1689, William III and Mary II commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild Hampton Court.
Wren completely overhauled the eastern half of Hampton Court, replacing a Tudor courtyard with the elegant Baroque palace that’s the English equivalent of Versailles. William and Mary died before they could enjoy their new palace, but their Georgian successors made up for that, enjoying balls and concerts here. But George III, reigning from 1760, moved the court elsewhere.
In 1838, the young Queen Victoria ordered that the neglected Hampton Court ‘should be thrown open to all her subjects.’ The Victorian age saw an ambitious programme of restoration, and Londoners flocked to the palace’s peaceful parks and gardens.
The interiors were closed briefly in 1915 for fear of Suffragette arsonists, and much damage was done in 1986, when fire destroyed much of the King’s Apartments.
But – phoenix-like – they were rebuilt. After years of conservation work by Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court looks as splendid as ever.x
Listen again to our panel debate on Edward VI’s christening, featuring Lucy Worsley.Find out more >