Sensory Palaces

Sensory Palaces

Sensory Palaces is a health and wellbeing programme for people living with early stage dementia and their carers. The programme engages audiences in the palaces through a unique combination of senses, spaces and stories.


About Sensory Palaces

Each Sensory Palaces session provides a chance to explore stories from the palace, participate in fun, sensory activities, and build social connections.

Sensory and participatory activities include music, drama, dance, and arts and crafts. For example, a sensory tour of the William III’s private apartments followed by music making inspired by the baroque period, or Tudor history. 

Sessions are free for participants. They are delivered by expert freelancers, skilled in supporting people living with dementia and their carers.

Alongside the programme, we regularly run the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ information sessions for our staff and volunteers, raising awareness of the disease and how to support those living with it. We are committed to Historic Royal Palaces being a ‘Dementia Friendly’ heritage venue, and are members of the Dementia Action Alliance in Richmond.


The programme is designed to enhance mental health and wellbeing, encouraging new learning opportunities in a safe and welcoming environment. In 2015 we commissioned external evaluation of Sensory Palaces sessions led by arts and health consultancy Willis Newson. The findings show that taking part in the programme may be particularly beneficial in improving participants’ mood and increasing their sense of engagement and their enjoyment of being with others.

“...when you’re talking to people, you  start remembering words because they’re talking back to you, they’re asking you questions... and it helps you.”
[Participant living with dementia]

Looking ahead

We have ambitious plans for future growth. We wish to lead the way for heritage sites across the UK to be accessible to, and programme for, people living with dementia and their carers.

To this end we will: expand our onsite offer; generate a best practice network with peers; work with a research partner to further evidence impact.

Get involved

Could you be part of the future of Sensory Palaces?

Session participants

We run fortnightly sessions at Hampton Court Palace and will be launching a new programme at Kew Palace in 2017. We are looking for:

  • Organisations that provide services to people living with early stage dementia and their carers that would like to form a partnership with Sensory Palaces and book spaces for clients.
  • People living with early stage dementia and their carers who would like to attend a session. 

Heritage sites

We are starting a network of heritage sites who are committed to being or becoming Dementia Friendly. We are looking for partner organisations to form a network that will understand and share best practice.

Research partners

We wish to robustly evidence the impact of the programme on participants, and are looking for research partners to work with us on this.

Please get in touch if this sounds like you!

Contact us

Email to find out more, ask any questions and take part in the programme.

You may also be interested in...