The Royal Kitchens at Kew

This vast, 18th-century kitchen block has survived practically untouched.

This vast, 18th-century kitchen block has survived practically untouched.

The Royal Kitchens at Kew

Back in the 1730s these vast, now-empty kitchens once hummed with life; shut up and abandoned in 1818, they now offer an authentic glimpse into 18th-century life.

George III's bath?

An early 19th-century bathtub was found in the Kitchens, possibly used by George III for his medicinal baths.

The Royal Kitchens. The Great Kitchen, looking south east before restoration

A rare survival

Once, these vast, atmospheric kitchens hummed with life. In the 1730s, around 30 staff bustled about preparing food for Frederick, Prince of Wales (George III’s father). They were used for almost eighty years by the royal family whenever they were in residence in Kew. After the death of Queen Charlotte (George III’s consort) in 1818, the the doors were locked and the Kitchen left untouched for nearly 200 years.

At Kew, the family stayed either in Kew Palace, or the White House, a large, country, villa which used to stand infront of Kew Palace. . Most of the other service buildings, such as the stables, a dovecote, and laundry, were demolished as the Royal Botanic Garden developed.

The Royal Kitchens. The bakehouse, looking north west

A glimpse into the past

Some of the furniture in the Kitchens remains as it was left, including the copper boilers and the charcoal stoves. Where other fixtures have disappeared, their ghostly outlines are still visible on walls, and it is possible to see where shelves once sat, where ironwork held objects in place and where the kitchen clock used to hang.

The massive table in the main Kitchen is the original elm table built when the kitchens were first fitted out in 1737, the deep grooves and cuts are a legacy to all the chefs labouring to prepare food 200 years ago there. In the massive fireplace, the original smokejack and spit racks are still visible.

The Royal Kitchens. The Clerk's Office, looking north east

How the kitchen worked

The downstairs part, left practically as found, comprises the main kitchen with its ‘offices’. These were rooms with specialised functions such as the Wet Larder for storing meat and salted fish, the Bake House and the Scullery.

The upstairs floor recreates the administrative offices and accommodation for kitchen staff, who were all supervised by the Clerk of the Kitchen, William Gorton. The Dry Larder was used to carefully store dry goods, including expensive, aromatic spices.

The Kitchen Garden illustrates the kind of vegetables grown in the 18th century and used in the Kitchens.

A Georgian cook in red and white overalls prepares food in the Royal Kitchens at Kew Palace
Things to see

Get a fascinating insight into Georgian life at Kew Palace in the Royal Kitchens, preserved as they were in 1818.

Open daily

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

Princess Elizabeth's bedroom
Things to see

Wander the intimate bedrooms of Princesses Elizabeth, Augusta and Amelia, daughters of George III, at Kew Palace.

05 April - 29 September 2019

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

Banqueting House's stone front architecture as it undergoes conservation
Things to see

Find out what remains of Whitehall – known as one of the first examples of Palladianism in British architecture.

Open daily

Banqueting House

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Descriptive, informative, authoritative - a superb guide to your visit to Kew Palace.

Official Kew Palace guidebook

Descriptive, informative, authoritative - a superb guide to your visit to Kew Palace.

£4.99

Kew Palace luxury embroidered hanging decoration, luxury Christmas ornament depicts the Dutch House of Kew Palace which dates back to 1631

Kew Palace luxury embroidered hanging decoration

This luxury handmade Christmas tree decoration features the design of the front of the Dutch House at Kew Palace on the River Thames in south west London.

£29.99

A handmade luxury Christmas tree ornament of the Kew Pagoda made from fabric and with tiny pearls woven into it

Kew Pagoda luxury embroidered hanging decoration

A handmade luxury Christmas tree ornament made from fabric and with tiny pearls woven into it using traditional metal threading techniques.

£17.99