Historic Royal Palaces continues to support the Visitbritain Heritage is GREAT theme by marking the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace in 2015 and celebrating the Year of the Garden in 2016. As one of Britain’s most popular and best-loved visitor attractions, 2015 is the year to schedule a tour to Hampton Court Palace. Cardinal Wolsey began to build Hampton Court Palace half a millennium ago and the resulting palace he built to entertain a pleasure loving King Henry VIII has stood on the bank of the Thames as a symbol of power, prestige and majesty ever since.
In this, the palace’s 500th year, explore 500 years of history in a day with our best ever programme of immersive live performance: from Easter, the palace will be filled with kings, queens and courtiers, bringing history to life throughout the palace, courtyards and gardens.
Looking ahead to 2016, the magnificent gardens of Hampton Court will come into focus as we mark 300 years since the birth of Lancelot Capability Brown, the famous English landscape architect. In 1764 Brown was appointed to the gardens at the palace where he took up residence in Wilderness House. Our Curators are developing plans for an exhibition of garden designs for Hampton Court Palace by John Spyers, Capability Brown’s designer. Spyers worked as a draughtsman from 1746 to 1783 and it was he who prepared the drawings for many of Brown’s park and architectural projects over a period of 20 years.
At Kensington Palace, Fashion Rules has been extended throughout 2015, featuring rare and exquisite dresses from the wardrobes of HM Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. Moving into 2016 this popular exhibition will be refreshed with ‘new rules’. The exhibition will twist to explore how these women also set their own rules which in turn overtly lead fashion and taste. With new dresses and accessories providing a feast for the eyes the exhibition will continue to give a nostalgic glance back at recent decades with new photography and film footage from the optimistic 1950s, rebellious 1960s and 70s, through to the extravagant 80s and early 1990s.
The new fortress experience at the Tower of London set in two towers overlooking the City allows visitors to walk the walls on three sides of this mighty fortress. In the Upper Bowyer Tower discover how the Duke of Wellington transformed the Great Storehouse after a devastating fire in 1841 and built the Waterloo Barracks for 1000 soldiers in the heart of the ancient palace. Then reflect the Tower’s role during the First World War as both military base and site of execution for 11 enemy spies and find out how all the poppies were created that filled the moat in 2014, marking the centenary of the outbreak of WWI.
Hillsborough Castle open this summer until 27 September 2015 however, pre-booked groups can visit year round and discover one of the most beautiful and interesting historic properties in Northern Ireland. The late Georgian mansion was built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, first Marquis of Downshire and was later remodelled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, it is a working royal palace functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when in Northern Ireland, and has been the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s. A tour of the house guides groups through the elegant State Rooms, still in use today, including the majestic Throne Room and graceful Drawing Room. Groups can also pre-book a guided tour of the extensive gardens or simply wander through the 98 acres at leisure.
The magnificent Banqueting House, the only surviving part of Whitehall Palace will take the focus of our conservation and curatorial team in 2015 as we commence a four year project to clean, restore and re-present this fascinating and unique building in the middle of Whitehall. Outside, the building will be shrouded in scaffolding with a surprising and eye-catching wrap whilst inside groups and visitors can discover the beautifully lit ceiling paintings of Peter Paul Rubens and the extraordinary architecture and history through projections and performance.
Kew Palace and the Royal Kitchens are open until 27 September 2015 and again from April 2016. Visitors to Kew Gardens can journey back in time some two hundred years to the charming former family home of George III, Queen Charlotte and their fifteen children. Attractions include the king’s dining room where entertainments took place with some of his most famous subjects and friends, the wax facial life-cast of George III created by Madame Tussaud herself and displays of memorabilia from various periods of George III’s long reign.
For all your 2015 and 2016 itinerary planning requirements contact the Sales Team at [email protected] +44 20 3166 6311. For further details of events taking place at Historic Royal Palaces visit our website www.hrp.org.uk