Hampton Court Palace Festival kicks off this week

Now that the warmer months are well and truly upon us, the prospect of enjoying live music in the open air is an attractive one. Those staying in luxury London hotels this month and seeking the most sumptuous and sophisticated of the summer's music festivals should look no further than the Hampton Court Palace Festival – a two-week programme of concerts in truly exquisite Tudor surroundings.

The festival was inaugurated in 1993 and has been held annually since, making this year the 20th anniversary. Accordingly, organisers have secured the participation of some truly stellar talent.

Demand has been huge and Hampton Court Palace reports some of the concerts to have already sold out. However, would-be attendees are advised that extra tickets are likely to become available closer to the date, so don't despair. A waiting list on the festival website allows interested parties to register for a chance to get their hands on last-minute allocations.

Proceedings kick off on Thursday (June 13th) with what has become a welcome fixture in Hampton Court Palace Festival's lineup – an appearance from celebrated British pianist and television personality Jools Holland. Backed by his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, expect an eclectic and enthusiastic set performed with staggering technical virtuosity.

Further highlights include ABBA pastiche Bjorn Again, a show that originated in Australia 25 years ago and has since entertained audiences around the world with a precisely tuned combination of parody and tribute. They'll be bringing hits like Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia to Hampton Court Palace on June 20th.

The star of the show, however, is sure to be the legendary Cliff Richard. One of Britain's first bona fide rock'n'roll stars, this musical icon has delighted fans for over 50 years and achieved staggering record sales of over 250 million. 

Sir Cliff is booked for two performances, appearing on June 22nd and 23rd. While online sales have closed for now, it's worth registering on the website in case more tickets are made available.

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