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.

Palace portraits

Marvel at the magnificent artworks on display at Hampton Court Palace including paintings by Rembrandt, Caravaggio and van Dyck then join artist Gwen Ramsay in our studio to explore the techniques behind the masterpieces.

Date: Tuesday 04 February and Tuesday 11 February

Time: 10:30-12:30


Charles I: a ‘treasonous’ King

Executed on 30 January, 1649 outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall, Charles I was once placed under house arrest at Hampton Court Palace. Find out more about the man and the King through the extraordinary artworks he bought and commissioned.

Date: Tuesday 03 March

Time: 10:30-12:30 and 14.00-16:00


Tudor symbolism

Explore 16th century symbolism in the paintings and gardens of Hampton Court Palace and discover how plants, animals and colours were used by the Tudors to convey messages and meaning.

Date: Tuesday 17 March

Time: 10:30-12:30 and 14:00-16:00


William III: Music of the battlefield

This interactive musical workshop led by Olivia McClennan will provide an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the battlefield through percussion and song.

Date: Tuesday 07 April

Time: 10:30-12:30 and 14:00-16:00

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 tours: 08 February 2020

Hampton Court Palace

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

Included in palace admission (members go free)