This is a sponsored article on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Here's a rare opportunity to roam the grounds of this ravishing royal palace after dark. The reliably stunning RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival — supported by Viking — returns this summer, and Londoners are invited for a preview of this year's show before it opens.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival Preview Evening, which takes place on Monday 5 July, is a chance to discover the wonders of the world's largest flower show without the crowds. Explore this year's show gardens before anyone else, get first dibs on the diverse array of plants sold at the Floral Marquee, and nurture your green thumb at expert talks.
The Preview Evening features brilliant guest speakers like garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith, writer Charles Dowding and organic 'no dig' gardener Stephanie Hafferty, who'll share top tips and tricks for creating the perfect summer garden.
There are also demos for creating floral displays, plus live cookery from the likes of award-winning chef Angela Hartnett.
From the glorious grow-your-own RHS Allotment to the headily perfumed Festival of Roses, you'll find a huge amount of horticultural inspiration as you explore the palace grounds.
All that excitement is sure to work up your appetite, so pick some street food at Great Taste Market and enjoy an al fresco feast along The Long Water, or indulge in some fine dining at the Waterside Restaurant. As the sun sets and dusk descends over this majestic location, you'll be serenaded by musical acts including The Wilderness, The Soul Brothers, and The Faithettes.
Visitors can also treat themselves to a twilight shopping spree at the Plant Village, or Country Living Collection boutique (great for homeware and gifts), or sit back and enjoy the UK premiere of The Gardener, a documentary about a life’s work in horticulture.
The Preview Evening culminates in a fantastic firework finale, ushered in with a live drumming extravaganza by Box9 Drumline. See the skies above the magnificent Tudor palace set alight with fireworks, sip your tipple of choice, and enjoy the aromas of an English summer — Monday evenings don't get much more magical than this.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival Preview Evening, 5pm-10pm on Monday 5 July 2021. Tickets start at £63.75 for RHS members and at £73.75 for the general public. No under-16s are permitted and 16 and 17 year-olds must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets here.
Can't make the preview evening? Head to the daytime show instead. The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival runs Tuesday 6-Sunday 11 July, with tickets from £22.75.