A Very Victorian Christmas at Kensington Palace

A Very Victorian Christmas at Kensington Palace

Experience the spirit of Christmas past this winter as Kensington Palace celebrates a traditional Victorian Christmas

Selected dates from 2 December

This Christmas, visitors to Kensington Palace will be transported back to the Victorian era – where Christmas as we know it today really began. In the palace where Princess Victoria grew up, the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a truly traditional Victorian celebration will be brought vividly to life through a series of immersive talks, festive music and seasonal food and drink.

Throughout the season, the palace and gardens will be gloriously decked out in their Yuletide best with period-inspired decorations. See the beautifully decorated tables where Victoria and Albert presented their carefully chosen Christmas gifts, as the Queen devotedly documented in her diaries. Gardening fans will enjoy a stunning display of ‘forced flowers’ – reflecting the Victorian fashion for demonstrating gardening prowess by cultivating exotic fruits and vibrant flowers in winter!

From 2 December, hear palace food historians reveal the origins of our Christmas dinner in the ‘Tasty Talks’ series. Take a sip of warming cider from the palace’s Wassail bowl, explore the history of the roast goose and Christmas pudding, and pick up some inspiration for your own festive feast with appetising advice from the era of Mrs Beeton. Sample the delights of Victorian cookery for yourself as the Kensington Palace café serves up a special selection of festive favourites for the season, including Victorian gingerbread, gluhwein (mulled wine) and, of course, mince pies!

On 5 December, discover the surprising world of Victorian pantomime and performance in a special Brunchtime lecture. Peek behind the curtains into a world of cross-dressing actors and backstage shenanigans – he’s behind you! – then find out which pantomimes Queen Victoria enjoyed herself! With a glass of Bucks Fizz in hand, we can guarantee one will be very amused.

Between Christmas and New Year, children will be able to get hands-on with interactive displays of Victorian Christmas memorabilia, from musical instruments to pantomime props. To keep the Christmas cheer going into 2016, the Prince Regent’s Band will be performing bold and bright brass arrangements of Victorian carols as well as the festive tunes we know and love today.

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than in the era that brought Christmas feasting, gift-giving and entertainment to the masses. Merry Christmas!

Notes to editors

For more information about Christmas at Kensington Palace please contact Jocelyn Murdoch in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: jocelyn.murdoch@hrp.org.uk or 020 3166 6166.

Tickets and Prices


Gate Price

Online rate




Child (under 162)







Tasty Talks: Christmas Dinner Delights

2, 5, 9, 12, 16 and 19 December

Have you ever wondered where our Christmas dinner traditions come from? Hear about the origins of the Christmas pud, discover the history of roast goose and more. Enjoy a warming spiced drink from the Wassail bowl (mulled cider).

Free, ticketed on the day.


Victoriana: Panto and Performance

5 December, 11.00

Join us for an insight into the world of Victorian pantomime, music hall, theatre and performance. Find out more about cross-dressing actors and backstage shenanigans in an era that brought entertainment to the masses. Part of our brunchtime lecture series. Ticket includes a glass of Bucks Fizz and entry to Kensington Palace.

£15/£12 HRP members


Carol singing

8, 11 and 15 December

Join us for a fun, festive evening of singing Victorian inspired carols as you explore the sumptuous State Apartments. Experience the bold and bright sounds of a brass ensemble whilst one of our expert Explainers guides you through the palace and reveals stories of Christmas past along the way.

Tickets: £15/£13.50 HRP members


Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most charismatic and best-known royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. Originally built in 1605 as a private country house, it was purchased in 1689 by King William III and Queen Mary II, eager to escape from the damp and smoke of Whitehall. They immediately ordered major improvements to the Jacobean mansion to make it fit for royal residence. The palace includes contributions from some of the most renowned architects of the past three centuries, including Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Sir John Vanbrugh, John Nash, Colin Campbell and William Kent.


Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Registered charity number 1068852.

For more information, visit www.hrp.org.uk.

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