Kew Palace is now closed for the winter months - re-opening in Spring 2018.

The Royal Kitchens at Kew

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.

Browse more history and stories

Explore

An actor in historical costume performs in front of a group of children

Do you have the stomach to pull rotten teeth, scour the ‘gong’ from the toilets or investigate the ‘Royal Wee’?

21 October - 29 October 2017

Hampton Court Palace

11:00-16:00

Go on an interactive adventure at Kensington Palace. Meet a character from history, explore all around you, do challenges and win a badge!

Daily

Kensington Palace
East view of Kensington Palace

This symposium at Kensington Palace brings together eminent academicians and museum scholars to investigate the role played by royal women in the shaping of court culture and politics in Europe of the long eighteenth century.

29 October - 31 October 2017

Kensington Palace

Shop

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

The history of Kew Palace, Britain's smallest royal palace, which became the retreat of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

The official illustrated history of Kew Palace

The official illustrated history of Kew Palace

£12.95

A fun-packed pop-up book, filled with flaps and fascinating facts about the most famous British kings and queens.

Pop-up Kings and Queens book

A fun-packed pop-up book, filled with flaps and fascinating facts about the most famous British kings and queens.

£6.99