With Christmas just around the corner, there’s a whole range of magical events at Historic Royal Palaces sure to get everyone into the festive spirit. Whether it’s grabbing a pair of skates and taking to the ice, sampling delicious food or enjoying some carols, a visit to a palace should be a must on everyone’s Christmas list.
Hampton Court Palace will be welcoming in the holiday season with a series of Christmas-themed entertainment and activities, from carolling in the courtyards to a special Elizabethan Christmas. Visitors can take a spin on the ice at Hampton Court’s famous ice rink (24 November – 7 January), where the palace’s Tudor facade provides a suitably magnificent backdrop to this magical riverside setting. The BBC Good Food’s Festive Feast returns for another year, setting mouths watering with over 50 stalls featuring handpicked producers, all filling the palace’s historic courtyards. It won’t just be delicious treats filling the air either, with the Christmas Music Weekend (16 – 17 December) promising traditional carols and sacred hymns within the walls of the Great Hall. Performed on traditional instruments just like those used at the court of Elizabeth I, this special event offers a wonderful mix of traditions, old and new. On selected dates, visitors will also be treated to an ‘Elizabethan Christmas’, with Tudor-style courtyard entertainment, live period music and dance conjuring up the Christmas of 1592 with Elizabeth I and her court. The Tudor Queen herself will even be in residence for the celebrations!
Head to the Tower of London this Christmas where there will be a number of seasonal events for all to enjoy. The ice rink returns to the famous dry moat, where visitors can take in the majestic views of the capital from this iconic, historic landmark. The Tower will also host a royal celebration, complete with Medieval Christmas festivities (27 – 31 December). Revel in the celebrations with King Richard III, Queen Anne Neville, and the knights and ladies of medieval England with music, dance and games adding to the family entertainment. Meanwhile, Noel Noel promises to hit all the right notes with 500 years of music for Advent and Christmas performed in the atmospheric Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. This sumptuous concert includes Spanish riffs, English traditional songs, melodies by Monteverdi and the original version of Silent Night.
Kensington Palace will also be suitably dressed for the occasion, with a Victorian Christmas theme running throughout the palace, complete with stunning lanterns, a gorgeous 25ft Christmas tree and a display of illuminated Victorian scenes. Running throughout the day on selected dates, visitors to the palace will also be able to experience the excitement of Queen Victoria’s Christmas with ‘Under the Christmas Tree’. This family-friendly event will see visitors being treated to Victoria’s memories of Christmas past, before being able to create their own beautiful Christmas decoration to take home. 16 December will see ‘Funtastic Saturday’ take place, where children can hear Christmas stories and create their very own Victorian puppet theatre. The ‘Tasty Talks’ will return every Sunday throughout December, taking visitors on a fascinating journey through the story of the items that now grace our Christmas table and how they arrived there. Live music will also take place in the Queen’s State Apartments between Christmas and New Year, filling the palace with the sound of traditional festive music.
For more information on dates, admission prices and timings go to: www.hrp.org.uk