Sensory Palaces


  • Now taking bookings for the autumn programme

Booking information

Advanced booking only.

Free (advance booking required)

A wellbeing programme for people living with dementia and their carers

Sensory Palaces sessions engage participants in sensory storytelling in the historic spaces of our palaces.

Each session provides a chance to explore stories from the palace, participate in fun activities and build social connections. Sessions are designed to enhance mental health and wellbeing, encouraging new learning opportunities in a safe and welcoming environment.

Our next sessions

Chocolate Court
Date: Tuesday 05 November and Tuesday 19 November
Time: 10.30 - 12.30
Explore the chocolate kitchens at Hampton Court, the artistry and importance of the chocolatier and the etiquette of chocolate consumption.
Ground floor access.

Tudor Feast
Tuesday 03 December and Tuesday 10 December
10:30 - 12:30
Led by an expert freelancer, this festive session will explore the seasonal delights of the Tudor Kitchens.

Elizabeth I: Power, identity and legacy                                         
Date: Tuesday 14 January and Tuesday 21 January 2020
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
A weak and feeble woman? Join us to learn more about Elizabethan life, the impact of a female ruler on the Tudor Court and how Hampton Court was used to create the image of the invincible queen of the ‘Golden Age’. Includes the opportunity to visit our new temporary exhibition, The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I.

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.

Download summary report Download full report

Dementia-friendly palaces

We are committed to Historic Royal Palaces being a 'Dementia-friendly' heritage organisation.

We deliver the Alzheimer’s Society’s 'Dementia Friends' information sessions for our staff and volunteers to raise awareness and understanding of the disease so that we are better able to support people living with dementia at our palaces and in our communities. We are members of the Dementia Action Alliance in 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. New contacts are more than welcome!

The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I exhibition, showing curator Eleri Lynn looking at the Bacton Altar Cloth in a case. The Rainbow Portrait hangs in the background of the green exhibition space.
Things to see Highlights

See the Bacton Altar Cloth, a rare survival of Elizabethan dress worn by Elizabeth I, and the iconic Rainbow Portrait at Hampton Court Palace.

12 October 2019 - 23 February 2020

Hampton Court Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Mary of Modena bed in the Queen's Bedroom at Kensington Palace
Tours and talks

Helping blind or partially sighted visitors enjoy more of Kensington Palace, describer tours are available to book at no extra cost.

Selected dates - advance booking required

Kensington Palace

10:00 and 15:00

Included in palace admission (members go free)

British Sign Language (BSL) guide in the King's Guard Chamber of Hampton Court Palace explaining/guiding to a visitor
Tours and talks

Book a place on a British Sign Language (BSL) tour of Hampton Court Palace and discover its wonderful stories.

Next sessions: 09-11 November 2019

Hampton Court Palace

10:30-12:30, 13:30-15:30 and 16:00-17:00

Included in palace admission (members go free)