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Hosting Henry VIII at Exeter

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Henry VIII made an official Royal Visit to Exeter?

Join us in Exeter from 13th –  20th June for a range of Tudor festivities and living history as part of Historic Royal Palaces’ Henry VIII on Tour. The tour continues towards Powderham Castle from 17 to 23 June to celebrate Henry VIII’s close friendship with his cousin, Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter.

Programme of festive events in Exeter

Thursday 13 June

The Civic Welcome of ‘King Henry VIII’ by the Lord Mayor of Exeter
At Exeter Guildhall and Exeter Cathedral


  • Procession of dignitaries – including ‘Henry VIII,’ the Lord Mayor, and the Earl of Devon – from the Guildhall to Exeter Cathedral, led by the Civic Mace, historic Henry VII Sword and Cap of Maintenance. The procession will be met by the clergy of Exeter Cathedral.


  • Greeting at the Cathedral’s West Front, including ceremonial Tudor music performed by Exeter University Chapel Choir, and His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts – a renowned group of virtuoso wind players specialising in playing Renaissance and Baroque music in historically appropriate styles on original instruments.
  • Speech of welcome by the City Recorder, followed by the Lord Mayor’s pledge of loyalty to the Crown and presentation of a gift on behalf of the city of Exeter, to ‘King Henry.’
  • Entry into the Cathedral, singing the traditional Te Deum Laudamus (‘We praise thee, O God’) and an enactment of the Royal veneration of relics at the Nave Altar.
  • Civic procession departure from Exeter Cathedral, accompanied by instrumental fanfares, returning to the Guildhall.


Friday 14 June, 10am – 2pm

Education Day
At Exeter Cathedral, St Nicholas’ Priory and Exeter Guildhall

Come and learn about Tudor music and instruments at Exeter Cathedral as part of Historic Royal Palaces’ Henry VIII on Tour, with members of His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts. Listen as they perform some of Henry VIII’s own compositions on the weird and wonderful instruments from the 16th century, in the amazing acoustics of Exeter Cathedral. In this interactive workshop you will learn a song about Henry Tudor and his favourite hobbies. Each session will last 40 minutes and is suitable for children under 12.

Talks and workshops also taking place in St Nicholas’ Priory and Exeter Guildhall.

Saturday 15 June

Going Back in Time
Tucker’s Hall, St Nicholas’ Priory and Exeter Guildhall

Go back in time with a range of entertaining Tudor-themed events taking place at venues in Exeter:

10am-12:30pm: Dressed to Impress a King
Tucker’s Hall
Show-and-tell Tudor dressmaking at Tucker’s Hall, with Rosemary Griggs. Advance booking not required.

2:30pm – 4pm: Feasting with the King
St Nicholas’ Priory
A talk by Professor Anthony Musson from Historic Royal Palaces, followed by a The Tudor Kitchen show-and-tell, with Sally Dyer.
Book your ticket on the St Nicholas’ Priory website >

6:30pm: Royal Banquet
Exeter Guildhall
A Tudor-inspired banquet with ‘Henry VIII’ at the Exeter Guildhall, with drinks reception and musical entertainment.
Book your tickets on the Exeter Corn Exchange website,  01392 665 866, or in person at:
Exeter Corn Exchange, Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BW

Monday 17 – Thursday 20 June

Hosting Henry VIII Tudor Educational Experience for Schools and Home Educators
Powderham Castle

Is your class studying Magnificent Monarchs, the Tudors, or English and Local History this year? Why not immerse your students in the world of Henry VIII’s court at Powderham Castle. The Hosting Henry Experiential Workshops encourage active participation, truly bringing the past to life. Travel back in time and surround yourself in the captivating world of the Tudor Courtenay household as they prepare for a royal visit. Led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic costumed guides and instructors, discover the sounds and smells of a Tudor kitchen, feel the fabrics and outfits worn by courtiers, dance at a royal banquet and much more! Bring your class to Powderham this June as learning becomes an immersive adventure! P.S: Dressing up is encouraged!
Workshops £8.95 per child per day.

Email Powderham Castle Education for more information and booking: [email protected]

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