Review: Christmas at Hampton Court

Are you looking for a unique experience during this festive season? The Hampton Court Palace of Stardust light show will be an event like nothing else.

On Wednesday 8th of December, I was lucky enough to visit Hampton court for their Palace of Stardust light show. The palace is transformed into a place of celestial beauty and the exhibits cleverly nod to its interesting history throughout. Hampton court already benefits from its grand architecture, but when it is lit up with a diverse range of colours it brings a magical energy to the historic building that we know so well.


Everything has clearly been carefully thought about, the little touches that might be overlooked really tie the whole experience together. For instance, the building is lit up in a rich red colour, but as you walk through the entrance you can see the walls are lit up in a pallet of colours that are inspired by the milky way, a spectrum that guides you through to each art piece, from reds, to purples, to pinks, to blues.


The event has an abundance of photo opportunities, you are first greeted with large warm glowing letters that spell out “WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARDUST”, highlighting how the fundamental elements that make us human were once found in the stars. It’s a clever phrase that ties history, space, and people together, the three things that form the basis of this experience.


There are also opportunities for a bit of interaction with the exhibits, large clock faces glow on the side of the path so you can stand behind them, using your own body as a sort of shadow puppet to replace the clocks hands. In the occasional times when you are inside there are happy little notes of festivity, the halls are lined with little Christmas trees that are embellished with red berries and decorated clementine segments.


Halfway there is a courtyard that displays one of my favourite parts of the entire experience. The walls are covered in projected deep blue waves that slowly roll around you like you are in an aquarium, and in the centre, there are fish that move in the wind. I can’t figure out quite how it works, which adds to the magic of it, but the fish have incredibly intricate and life like designs. They have luminescent green veins that run through their fins and bright blue eyes that spring out from their glowing scales.


When you eventually pull yourself away from the fish, you enter the garden area where you are faced with an elaborate fountain, surrounded by large trees that flash one by one. As you get closer you realise that the trees are wrapped in speakers, and they have human voices that tell the stories of the people that once lived and worked in the palace. Next to these trees you can see shining women dressed in 16th century purple and blue dresses that slowly spin around as if they are ghosts left behind from one of Henry VIII’s lavish parties.


This is the point where you can visit one of the food stalls and go and grab a mulled wine and a mince pie to enjoy as you walk through the best and final part of the entire experience. Now you get the chance to walk through our solar system. You can really see how Hampton Court have used the darkness of winter to their advantage, placing huge spheres that run down the path, so you can get up close to the Sun, Earth, and Jupiter. The planets glow so brightly against the darkness, they give the magical effect of floating.

When you finally pop out of the palace, there is a short walk to the nearest bus stop and tube station so you can begin your journey home discussing everything you have just seen. I cannot suggest the Hampton Court Palace of Stardust experience enough for anyone looking for an interesting and unique time in the run up to Christmas. The event will be here until the 3rd January so grab your tickets now, wrap up warm and go for a wander.

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