A taste of the gardens that would have fed the Royal Household through the 18th century
9 April 2021. Following the death of His Royal Highness, there will be changes to opening hours for the gardens at Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle. For further information, please read our FAQs page
Experience the recreated Kitchen Garden — restored to an approximation of how it would have looked in the 18th century. The food from these gardens once fed the Georgian royals and now supplies Henry VIII's Kitchens.
Few records survive of the original garden, but the layout of the beds can be discerned from contemporary paintings and engravings; as far as possible we have chosen historically accurate fruit and vegetable crops.
A speciality of the Georgian era were the Grand Sallats. Many published recipes featured intricate arrangements of 'no less than 35 ingredients' - well suited for adorning the royal table.
We may recognise some of the components, such as lettuce, rocket, endive, cucumbers and parsley. But how about Costmary, Hartshorn, Sweet Maudlin and Trick-madame?
We are growing these, alongside more familiar vegetable crops, in the central area of the Kitchen Garden. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and plums grow on the sheltered walls and a formal, box edged bed of soft fruit and standard dwarf apples completes the look.
The Kitchen Garden was originally built for William III and Mary II in 1689, on the site of Henry VIII's tiltyard. The tiltyard was divided into six square, walled areas, each approximately one acre in size.
When Queen Victoria came to the throne, she combined all of the royal kitchen gardens in the London palaces into one operation at Windsor Castle.
The Hampton Court Kitchen Garden was then leased out as market gardens for many years, before being converted to pleasure gardens in the 1930s.
The Kitchen Garden is one of the most active gardens at Hampton Court Palace, as a cycle of fruit and veg is grown in this space all year long.
Learn more about what we've been growing in 2019 in our blog by Expert Gardener Ichiho Garbutt.Read the blog