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No one does feasting like the Tudors

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Henry VIII’s Kitchens, brought to life like never before.​

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Henry VIII’s Kitchens, brought to life like never before.​

Tudor kitchen staff work in a busy backdrop of Henry VIII's kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.

From 5 May to 2 September, immerse yourself in Henry VIII's world during a season of Tudor cooking, events and talks.

It is 1538 and Hampton Court Palace is hosting 800 courtiers and ambassadors celebrating the arrival of Edward, Henry's son and heir. Explore the newly renovated Henry VIII's Kitchens and help our cooks prepare dishes to delight the King’s court and guests.

Discover how more than 800 meals were prepared each day, and hear fascinating expert talks on the history of royal food.

Discover Henry VIII's Kitchens

Open daily

Transport yourself back to the heyday of Tudor feasting and entertainment in Henry VIII's Kitchens.

Meet the staff who fed Henry's court during the tumultuous events of 1538, see the meat roasting on the spit and experience the ingredients used to dazzle the King.

Find out more

Explore the palace

A Live Interpreter dressed as a Tudor Yeoman of the Guard, wearing a red livery coat with HR and Tudor Rose, and holding a halberd.
Events

Experience Life Below Stairs at Henry VIII's court as you meet the yeomen, laundresses, barbers, sergeants of the cellars and women of the nursery.

04 May - 02 September 2018

11:00-16:00

Henry VIII surrounded by courtiers in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace
Events Families

The palace is a flurry of activity ahead of Henry VIII's marriage treaty with Anne of Cleves. But will the King's mood upset weeks of planning?

29 June - 02 September 2018, Thursday- Monday

11:30, 12:30 and 15:30

Things to see

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

Open daily

Talks and special events

Food and drink at the Hampton Court Palace Good Food Festival 2017
Events Highlights

Join us for a summer celebration of food and drink in the iconic East Front Gardens at Hampton Court Palace.

25-27 August 2018

10:00 - 18:00

A georgian Chocolate Tart in the Chocolate Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace
Events Tours and talks

Discover more about the fascinating relationship between chocolate and royalty.

24 September 2018

19:00-20:00

History of the Tudor kitchens

Historic Kitchen Staff at Hampton Court Palace prepare roast beef on the spit in early Summer 2016.

Henry VIII's food factory

The vast kitchens served the Tudor court with hundreds of meals a day.

The Great Kitchens, looking east. Showing fresh herbs laid out on a wooden table. An earthenware jug and wicker baskets stand on the table in the background.

Tudor food and eating

Food was an important part of court life at the palaces.

A man dressed as a Tudor cook looking puzzled in the Tudor Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace.

Play Time Explorers

Become an undercover time explorer in Henry VIII's kitchens.

What did the Tudors eat?

A Tudor recipe for jumbals

Jumbals, or jumbles, are sweet, spiced biscuits, popular because they could keep for long periods of time. They were often twisted into knots or pretzel shapes to make them easier to bite into: it is thought that the word 'jumble' derives from the Arabic word for twin.

Original recipe: Thomas Dawson, Good Housewife’s Jewel (1596)

  1. Take twenty eggs and put them in a pot, both the yolks and the white: beat them well.
  2. Then take a pound of beaten sugar and put to them, and stir them well together.
  3. Then put to it a quarter of a peck of flour and make a hard paste thereof; and then with aniseed mould it well and make it in little rolls, being long.
  4. Tie them in knots, and wet the ends with rosewater.
  5. Then put them in a pan of seething water, but even in one waum.
  6. Then take them out with a skimmer and lay them in a cloth to dry.
  7. This being done, lay them in a tart pan, the bottom being oiled.
  8. Then put them in a temperate oven for one house, turning them often in the oven.

Adapting the recipe for modern use:

This makes a ludicrous amount of jumbles (100, according to the recipe). More sensible amounts are: 2 eggs, 100g sugar, 1 tablespoon aniseed or caraway seeds and as much flour as you require to make all of this into a strong, yet malleable dough. You should make small knots of them, put them into boiling water, and, when they rise to the surface, scoop them out and place them on a greased baking sheet.

Bake them at a fairly low temperature, turning them frequently, until they are golden brown.

Recipe notes:

Eggs were significantly smaller in the late Tudor period, so this equates to about 10 medium modern eggs – not quite as jaw-dropping as it initially seems! Until the 1930s it is sensible to reduce egg amounts in old recipes (roughly half in this recipe).

Recipe taken from A History of Royal Food and Feasting, a free online course produced by the Department of History at the University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces: sign up on FutureLearn here.

A History of Royal Food and Feasting

Free online course

Join expert historians and fellow learners as you immerse yourself in the changing tastes of royalty in our free online course.

Sign up on FutureLearn