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

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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 Tudor Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace, showing the Abraham Tapestries and the room set out for day visitors.
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

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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

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

24-26 August 2019

Hampton Court Palace

10:00 - 18:00

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Food and drink category

Shop Food & Drink

Feast your eyes on our wonderful selection of food inspired by our royal kitchen. Shop chocolates, preserves, jam, chocolate coins and the finest liqueurs.

From £3.99

Lifestyle imagery of picnic ware

Shop Picnicware

Enjoy fine dining outdoors with our magnificent picnic hampers. Discover our luxury hampers and exquisite picnic blankets.

From £19.99

Tankard, flask and goblet gift selection from Historic Royal Palaces Shop.

Shop goblets & tankards

Discover our decadent range of goblets and tankards inspired by our Historic Royal Palaces. The perfect gift for a medieval fan our goblets are made in a selection of leathers, glass and pewter.

From £17.99