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Sensory Palaces

A Wellbeing Programme for People Living with Dementia and Their Companions

For nearly a decade, our Sensory Palaces programme has enabled people living with dementia and their companions to explore our palaces’ stories and spaces using their senses. Together, we have evidence the positive impact of heritage, storytelling and creativity on participants’ mental health and wellbeing.

We know as the ageing population grows, there is an increased need for programmes that support adults with cognitive impairment and dementia. We want Sensory Palaces to support this audience. Our current programme does not enable us to meet the high demands of requests. We know this will continue unless we rethink our offer.

For this reason, Sensory Palaces will be on a short break from January 2024.

Our team will be hard at work developing a new plan for Sensory Palaces. By spring 2024, we plan to launch a refreshed programme that will enable more people to access our stories and spaces, more independently.


New programme in spring 2024

Booking information

Email to register your interest in dementia-friendly programme by contacting the Communities team below.

Free (advance booking required)

Contact us

Upcoming online sessions

A Christmas Story

This session take place on Zoom.

Join us for a festive celebration of food - from Tudor feasts to modern day turkey dinners.

Date: Tuesday 05 December
Time: 11:00–12:30

Email [email protected] for the joining instructions.

Upcoming sessions on site at Hampton Court Palace

Christmas at the palace

We will explore how Christmas was celebrated at Hampton Court Palace throughout the ages. Come along to experience the sights and sounds of Christmas at court.

Access: Ground Floor
Date: Thursday 15 December
Time: 10:30-12:30 and 14:00–16:00

Note: This session is fully booked

An older man enjoying dressing up in Elizabethan costume as a woman looks on and laughs at a Sensory Palaces dementia-friendly programme session, 2020.

Sensory Palaces Programme Evaluation 2018

An evaluation of the benefits for people living with dementia and their carers and the impact of the heritage setting.

Dementia-friendly palaces

We are committed to making Historic Royal Palaces a Dementia-friendly heritage organisation across all of our sites.

We deliver the Alzheimer’s Society’s 'Dementia Friends' information sessions to our staff and volunteers in order to raise awareness and understanding so that we are better able to support people living with dementia at our palaces and in our communities. We are a proud member of Age UK Dementia Friendly Communities Richmond.

Dementia-friendly heritage group

We lead the Dementia Friendly Heritage Group, a peer network comprising 18 heritage sites across the UK who are committed to developing and sharing dementia-friendly heritage best practice, thinking and support. New members are more than welcome! Please contact [email protected] for more information or to join the network.

Two older women enjoying looking at items in a box at  a Sensory Palaces dementia-friendly programme session, 2020.
A group of older people enjoying looking in a display cabinet at Elizabethan textiles at a Sensory Palaces dementia-friendly programme session.
An older woman smiling with three other adults as she looks at items in a box during a Sensory Palaces session at Hampton Court 2020.


  • Tours and talks

Community Access Scheme

Explore Hampton Court Palace for free with your local community or adult learning group.

  • Wednesday - Friday
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Free (advance booking required)
Learn more
  • Things to see

Hampton Court Gardens

Take time to explore and relax in these world-renowned gardens and find our free entry Garden Open Days dates.

  • Open in line with palace opening hours
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more
  • Tours and talks

Community Access Scheme

Explore Kensington Palace for free with your local community or adult learning group.

  • 24 January, 26 January and 01 February
  • 10:00-15:00
  • Kensington Palace
  • Free (advance booking required)
Learn more


Elizabeth I

Was Elizabeth’s 44-year reign really a ‘golden era’ of English history?

Henry VIII’s kitchens at Hampton Court

Henry VIII's food factory, preparing up to 1,000 meals a day

The gardens at Hampton Court Palace

A brief history of the famous royal gardens