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Your guide to the Hampton Court Palace Festival

The Hampton Court Palace Festival is back with a bang in 2022 bringing with it a stonking music line-up and a hospitality spread worthy of any A-lister. Here are three reasons you should go.

The location

Now in its 29th year, the series of open-air summer concerts is held against the iconic backdrop of King Henry VIII’s stunning Tudor Palace in East Moseley and attracts a mega line-up of artists year after year.

Not only is King Henry’s former home steeped in history – two of Henry’s wives, Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard, are said to haunt the palace – but it’s undoubtedly a stunning backdrop to a musical concert series.

Starting with a picnic or gourmet street food snacks, in the East Front Garden, whether you bring your own or indulge in one of the options from Fortnum and Mason. This is also the spot to enjoy a pre-show tipple, or two. Doors open at 5.30pm, so you have plenty of time before the show starts (at 9.30pm.)

After warming up in the garden, the grand gates to the palace open as you make your way through the regal courtyards and corridors which King Henry VIII once walked, emerging into the Base Court for the main event!

The music

With names like Kylie Minogue, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Keane, Liza Minnelli and Van Morrison, the 18-day music festival has a reputation for attracting some of the biggest names in the business across all genres.

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell open this year’s festival on Thurs 9 June – and they fully intend to get the party started! Backed by a seven-piece band, the British reggae and pop band will take fans back to the Eighties with hit including Red Red Wine and (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You.

For the following two nights, it’s the turn of indie rock band Elbow who, led by frontman Guy Garvey, are performing at the Palace for the first time. If you’re keen, there are still tickets left for Fri 10 June, but the Saturday night is already sold out.

Brit boy band McFly take to the stage on Wed 15 June, and with seven UK number one hits under their belts and six top-10 albums, plus a new album written, recorded and released during the 2020 Covid lockdowns, you can be sure it’ll be pure unadulterated pop punk fun.

Jazz master George Benson plays on Thurs 16 June, but tickets are already pretty much sold out. You can join the waiting list, or if you really fancy pushing the boat out, go for the VIP ticket package. More on that later.

Jack Savoretti brings tunes from his most recent album Europiana to the state on Fri 17 June, but it’s VIP only if you want to be in the crowd.

Ready to dance? The Sat 18 June is your night at the Palace. The Ministry of Sound Classical have joined forces with talented classical musicians to bring their classical music experience to the Palace. Fans can expect an evening of beats an rhythms as guest DJs, including DJ Fat Tony, take to the stage with dance anthems like you’ve never heard before.

US star Kacey Musgraves plays the Palace on Wed 22 June, bringing songs from her new album star-crossed, with Eighties legend The Human League the following night on Thurs 23 June, and Michael Ball and Aflie Boe on Fri 24 June.

Crowded House round things off on Sat 25 June, though you’ll have to join the VIP ranks if you want to see these Eighties and Nineties Antipodean legends. But, Don’t Dream It’s Over … the fest will be back again in 2023!

The food & drink

The Hampton Court Palace Festival is as (almost) as much about the food and drink as it is the music. Make the most of your time in the glorious grounds of Hampton Court Palace by arriving early and starting your summer evening with a picnic in the gardens or dinner from one of the gourmet street food vendors. If that’s not the perfect way kick off your festival evening and soak up the pre-concert atmosphere, I don’t know is!

You can bring your own picnic, or choose from the luxury Fortnum and Mason picnics. There are four picnics on offer, all suitable for two people and packed with summer-ready tipples and delicious seasonal food. Choose from the The Fortnum’s Picnic or The Fortnum’s Garden Picnic (vegetarian) which include a starter, main, cheese plate, pudding, and bottle of wine or Fortnum’s Champagne. The Fortnum’s Feast and The Fortnum’s Garden Feast (vegetarian) is a decadent affair with an abundance of Fortnum’s fine food, premium wine or Fortnum’s Champagne, all housed inside a beautiful Huntsman wicker basket.

Add a little luxury to your evening by booking a waterside gazebo which seats up to six people. (Cost is from £234- £259 per gazebo.) Or if you’re really feeling fancy, go for the King’s Dining Package, a VIP experience that includes a three-course dinner served in the Palace’s magnificent state apartments. It’s the perfect if you’re trying to impress a special someone, or looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion.

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