As summer approaches, we start to dream the impossible dream of fun and sun filled days followed by balmy midsummer nights with a glass of something cold in hand. While there is no accounting for the great British weather, the Hampton Court Palace Festival offers up the best in outdoor music festivals. There's the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, great British history and catch an amazing musical line up.
Running for over 20 years, this festival seems to be a well kept secret that really does offer a bit of everything – from outdoor picnics to a historic setting to a diverse array of musicians – and, if you are truly lucky, no rain.
The Festival holds a series of midsummer evening concerts with iconic artists performing in the Palace's main courtyard, to an intimate crowd of 3000. The Palace gardens open at 5.30pm so you can arrive early and head to one of the open air bars or street food stalls. If you prefer, pack a picnic and some prosecco, find a spot in the gardens and soak up some horticulture as well as culture before the show starts.
Most concerts start at 9pm, though some do kick off at 8.30pm, and they generally last around 90 minutes. Tickets get snapped up fast so if you're interested, it's best to get a move on with your booking. Tickets are still available for most shows – though Michael Ball & Alfie Boe are understandably sold out (much to my dismay). There are other amazing acts to see though – from Bryan Ferry to Will Young to Jools Holland.
Artists playing this year are: 7 June Bryan Ferry 8 June James Morrison 9 June Amy MacDonald 14 June Will Young 15 June Van Morrison 16 June Jools Holland 17 June Bjorn Again
20 June Corinne Bailey Rae
21 June Bryan Ferry
23 June Michael Ball & Alfie Boe
24 June Fanfare & Fireworks
Ticket prices vary for each concert but range from £39 to £95. If you are feeling particularly flush, there are also VIP dining packages available at around £295 per person.
There are good options for travel too. Hampton Court Train station is just nearby with two trains each hour from Waterloo. There is complimentary parking if you are thinking of driving. For more info, click here