Henry VIII’s Kitchens

Transport yourself back to the heydey of Tudor cooking and entertainment.

Transport yourself back to the heydey of Tudor cooking and entertainment.

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free) Buy Hampton Court Palace tickets

Henry VIII's Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace were the largest of Tudor England. 200 cooks, sergeants, grooms and pages worked to produce over 800 meals a day for the hungry household of Henry VIII.

Feeding the court was a complex business all done without modern conveniences as 1.3 million logs burned in the hellish fires every year. From boiling cauldrons to roasting spits, join the day-to-day grind of Henry’s cooks as you pass through this labyrinth of kitchen spaces.

Visitors explore Henry VIII's Kitchens after re-interpretation in 2018.

Feeding a hungry Tudor court

A Tudor cook carries a sack of vegetables in Henry VIII's Kitchens

Between their construction in 1530 and the royal family’s last visit to Hampton Court Palace in 1737, the kitchens were a central part of palace life.

The Tudor 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 was 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 determining which of the 1,200-odd members of Henry’s court qualified for meals as part of their pay.

Working in the kitchens could be a sweaty and dirty job. Henry VIII had to order the scullions to 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 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.'

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.

The Great Hall, looking east.
The hall was constructed by King Henry VIII to replace a smaller and older hall on the same site. It had two functions. First to provide a great communal dining room where 600 members of the court could eat in two sittings, twice a day. And secondly, to provide a magnificent entrance to the state apartments that lay beyond.
Highlights Things to see

Experience the splendour of the Tudor court in Henry VIII's Great Hall, complete with his magnificent tapestries.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Photo of an exhibition at the Young Henry exhibition at Hampton Court Palace
Things to see

Meet the young Henry VIII, the 'pin-up' prince, through the stories of the people who knew him best.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Things to see

Experience the recreated Kitchen Garden, which would have fed the Georgian royals and now supplies Henry VIII's Kitchens.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

This fun apron is inspired by the suit of armour made for Henry VIII in 1540, on display in the Tower of London armouries.

Henry VIII armour apron

This fun apron is inspired by the suit of armour made for Henry VIII in 1540, on display in the Tower of London armouries.

£14.99

Henry VIII gauntlet armour oven glove made from Cotton twill with polyester thermal

Henry VIII gauntlet armour oven glove

This fun oven glove has been inspired by a suit of armour made for Henry VIII in 1540, which is on display at the Tower of London.

12.99

Tudor Kitchens:  The Taste Of The Fire book

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.

£4.99