April 10th is set to be an exciting milestone for Historic Royal Palaces when Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in Northern Ireland re-opens following a five year £20million restoration project to open up this historic site to the public. Beautifully landscaped gardens and carefully conserved state rooms will provide the backdrop for visitors to uncover stories from the fascinating history of this royal residence and Government building.

In May we will be marking the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth at Kensington Palace, with two new exhibitions aimed at challenging expectations of this famously ‘unamused’ monarch kicking off our celebrations.

The Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt will return to Hampton Court Palace this Easter, and for the first time ever will also be held in the gardens and State Apartments at Kensington Palace.

Head to the Tower of London this April and retrace the footsteps of one of its most notorious 17th Century characters; ‘Colonel’ Thomas Blood. Meet Blood and his gang of villains as they plot an audacious raid to steal the Crown Jewels, just like they did in 1671. This May half term, the popular Horrible Histories stage show also arrives at the Tower of London. Travel back in time to the world of the ‘Terrible Tudors’, in this live outdoor stage production set within the Tower’s historic dry moat.

Highlights

NEW: Hillsborough Castle and Gardens opens to the public From 10 April Hillsborough Castle and Gardens This April, discover a transformed Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. After five years and a £20 million restoration project, this royal residence and official home of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will be officially unveiled to the public. Set within 100 acres of majestic grounds, the newly reopened Castle will kickstart the Spring season with a series of activities for all to enjoy, including tours of the sumptuous State Rooms and gardens led by our team of expert explainers. There will also be fun for all the family over the Easter holidays with storytelling, Easter egg rolling, and costumed characters bringing the history of the Castle to life. Tickets: For more information and to book tickets, visit hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle

Victoria: A Royal Childhood and Victoria: Woman and Crown From 24 May Kensington Palace To mark the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth at Kensington Palace, Historic Royal Palaces will unveil two new exhibitions at the palace on her birthday. Victoria: A Royal Childhood will examine Victoria's early years spent at Kensington, with the suite of rooms she and her mother occupied being reimagined in an evocative and family-friendly exploration of royal childhood. In the Pigott Gallery, Victoria: Woman and Crown considers the private woman behind the public monarch and will re-examine her later life and legacy. Included in Kensington Palace admission. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

Horrible Histories Live on Stage with the Terrible Tudors 25 May – 1 June Tower of London Dive into the world of the Terrible Tudors this May half term with Horrible Histories live on stage… with all the nasty bits left in! From Henry VIII’s punch up with the Pope to surviving the Spanish Armada, discover the grisly details of this infamous royal dynasty in this open-air hour-long performance set in the Tower’s historic dry moat. Tickets: Adult £12 / Child £7 / Under 5’s Free – Tickets on sale from April

Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt 6 – 22 April Kensington Palace This Easter - for the first time ever - the Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt comes to Kensington Palace, perfect for keeping the little ones entertained during the holidays. Hunt for the bunny around the palace and its gardens and collect a delicious chocolatey prize! Families will also be able to dress up in Georgian costume to prepare for a party at the court of George II, as well as taking part in spring-themed craft activities. Included in Kensington Palace admission. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt 6 – 22 April Hampton Court Palace The Lindt Gold Bunny Easter Hunt returns to Hampton Court Palace for 2019, with the famous Lindt Gold Bunny hiding throughout the palace and gardens. Every bunny found reveals a new story from Hampton Court’s history, with successful hunters offered the chance to claim a delicious chocolatey prize! Included in Hampton Court Palace admission. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

Events Kew Palace and the Great Pagoda From 5 April Kew Palace The picturesque Kew Palace opens its doors for the summer months, with a display celebrating the life of Queen Charlotte – a figure closely associated with Kew - throughout 2019. Following its inaugural season, the recently restored Great Pagoda also reopens, allowing visitors to ascend its 253 steps to enjoy the stunning 360° panoramic views over London. Included in admission to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Colonel Blood and the Great Crown Jewels Robbery 6 – 28 April Tower of London ‘Colonel’ Thomas Blood is one of the Tower of London’s most notorious characters. In 1671, Blood and two accomplices unsuccessfully attempted to make off with the Jewels after tricking the Jewel House Keeper, Talbot Edwards, into letting them handle them. Meet this gang of 17th Century villains as they plan their audacious raid, just like in 1671. Will you join their cunning plot or try to stop them? Included in Tower of London admission. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

How Drink Shaped Society 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 May Kensington Palace This May, visitors to Kensington Palace will be treated to talks by food historians uncovering how the unlikely trio of tea, coffee and chocolate have shaped society, from their impact on the stock exchange to literature and even fashion. The talks are drop-in sessions and take place in the palace’s opulent State Apartments. Included in Kensington Palace admission. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

May Half Term Activities 25 May – 2 June Kensington Palace Explore the world of Princess – later Queen - Victoria’s imagination this half term and create a Victorian puppet theatre. Inspired by the brand-new family exhibition Victoria: A Royal Childhood and the moving puppet theatre within it, families will also be able to dress up as characters from the puppet show, just as Victoria herself did as a little girl. Included in Kensington Palace admission. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

May Half Term Activities 25 May – 2 June Hampton Court Palace Families visiting Hampton Court this May half term can discover how Henry VIII and his six wives made the palace their home in the newly-conserved Tudor State Apartments. After enjoying the fun and interactive activities inside, a visit to the Magic Garden is an absolute must. Included in Hampton Court Palace admission.. Free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

Sing We at Pleasure 18 June, 7.00pm Tower of London Join the Choir of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London and the Band of the Chapels Royal for a concert commemorating the life of Peter Parker, who worshiped at the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London for 40 years. This celebratory evening features Elizabethan madrigals and music by Mozart, Haydn and Schubert, set within the atmospheric Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula. Tickets: £30

 

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