Important info

We are currently carrying out upgrades and re-decoration to this area of the palace. For more details visit our Opening and closures.

Included in palace admission

Catering in Henry VIII's Kitchens

Between their construction in 1530 and the royal family’s last visit to the palace in 1737, the kitchens were a central part of palace life. For many people today, Hampton Court symbolises Henry VIII and Henry’s abiding reputation remains as a ‘consumer of food and women’.

Henry VIII's Kitchens at Hampton Court were the largest of Tudor England and were designed to cater for around 400 people twice a day. This was a vast operation, larger than any modern hotel and one that had to cope without modern conveniences.

On occasion, the kitchens are used by our team of cooks to prepare authentic Tudor recipes.

Life in the Tudor kitchens

The kitchens were divided into a number of departments, each controlled by a Sergeant and a team of yeoman and grooms. The Kitchen department where meat was roasted were under the control of three Master Cooks, one for the King, the Queen and the rest of the Court. These staff toiled under a complex set of rules that determined which of the 1,200-odd members of Henry’s court qualified for meals as part of their pay.

In one year towards the end of the sixteenth century the provision of meat for the whole Tudor court stood at 1,240 oxen, 8,200 sheep, 2,330 deer, 760 calves, 1,870 pigs and 53 wild boar, all washed down with 600,000 gallons of beer.

Working in the kitchens could be a sweaty and dirty job. Henry VIII had to give orders that the scullions should stop going about ‘naked, or in garments of such vileness as they do now, nor lie in the nights and days in the kitchen or ground by the fireside’.

A Spanish visitor to the Tudor court in 1554 said that the kitchens were ‘veritable hells, such is the stir and bustle in them... there is plenty of beer here, and they drink more than would fill the Valladolid river.'

Our team of history cooks prepare food fit for kings

Henry VIII’s kitchens continued to be used for a further two hundred years, feeding the tables of Tudor, Stuart and Georgian monarchs and their many courtiers.

In more recent times the Kitchens have been brought back to life by our team of historic cookery experts. In peak season they will interpret history where it happened with demonstrations of Tudor roasting and experimentation with recipes, ingredients and methods, they provide the experience of the sights, sounds and smells of life in King Henry VIII’s kitchens.

Lunchtime Lecture with Daniel Jackson, Curator of Historic Buildings

13 November 2017

Hampton Court Palace
The White Tower seen against a blue, partially cloudy sky on a sunny day with foliage creeping into the upper right-hand corner. Waterloo Block can be seen in the background

Member luncheons in the Perkin Reveller hosted by Jascots Wine Merchants

03 November 2017

Tower of London

From 12:00

Visitors walking through Base Court covered in snow

Experience Christmas at Hampton Court Palace by joining us for our fun festive family activities in December!

Selected weekends in December 2017

Hampton Court Palace

Browse more history and stories

Tudor Kitchens:  The Taste Of The Fire book
An illustrated book, written by palace curators and food archaeologists, explores eating at court and the Tudor diet.

Tudor kitchens: The taste of the fire

An illustrated book, written by palace curators and food archaeologists, explores eating at court and the Tudor diet.


Six Wives Charm Bracelet.  An intriguing royal heraldic charm bracelet with charms of Henry VIII and his six wives family crests.

Divorced, beheaded, died charm bracelet

Divorced, beheaded, died charm bracelet with each charm representing the fate of Henry VIII’s six wives.


King Henry VIII deluxe dress up costume

King Henry VIII deluxe dress up costume

Children’s King Henry VIII dress up costume featuring luxurious Tudor robes made from satin and velour, trimmed with faux fur.