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The Royal Kitchens

A preserved slice of life in the Georgian period

A preserved slice of life in the Georgian period

The Royal Kitchens remain preserved as they were in the Georgian period 200 years ago, when they were last used. They are one of the few buildings surviving from the complex that served the now-demolished White House. They were built around 1734-5 for Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III 

As you explore the kitchens, it’s easy to imagine them at their height – humming with the noise of life as 20 people laboured to produce food for the royal family and their household. 

By some quirk of fate, the kitchen survived when the White House was demolished. But when Queen Charlotte died at Kew in 1818, the officials of the royal household simply locked the door and departed. The kitchen was left untouched for nearly 200 years. 

Today, the Royal Kitchens evoke life on 6 February 1789, when George III was given back his knife and fork after his first bout of mental illness.  



11:00 - 16:00


Located in Kew Gardens, near Kew Palace.

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Included in Kew Gardens admission

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Discover Life 'Below Stairs' in a Georgian Royal Kitchen

Included in the staff were a master cook and an assistant, two yeomen, a groom, a turnbroach, a master scourer and his assistant, two boys and a child. They were assisted by a porter and a door keeper, with two coal porters and three men employed in the silver scullery. Covered dishes of food were taken from the kitchen by liveried servants who would arrange them all on the table for the diners to help themselves. 

Together, this staff prepared and served vast quantities of food, including meat, poultry, vegetables and bread, to feed the royal family and their household: 

  • Over 5,000 lbs of meat was purchased every month.  
  • Pheasants, partridge, grouse and other game were often sent to the King by lords from their estates.  
  • Despite its expense, fish from both sea and river were served regularly. Oysters, shrimps, crayfish, prawns, crabs and lobster were also delivered. 
  • Much of the fruit and vegetables came from the estate at Kew and the King’s farm in Richmond.  
  • Bread was made in the bake house but pies, tarts and gateaux were often bought in. 
  • Over 700lbs of butter was used at Kew every month, which might be flavoured with anchovies, oysters or shrimps. 

After the meal, scullery boys would spend hours scouring pots and pans with sand and soap. 

In the Silver Scullery, used for storing and cleaning the silver tableware, you may be surprised to find a tin bath. This dates from the period when George was advised by his doctors to take warm baths for his health. A visitor to Kew Palace in 1821 was told that George III used to take his baths in the kitchen, to save his servants the bother of carrying the hot water further.  

Visitors (posed by HRP volunteers) enjoying the ground floor of Kew Palace and The Royal Kitchens on costumed guide tours.


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The Great Pagoda

See The Great Pagoda at Kew Palace, now returned to its 18th-century splendour.

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  • 11:00 - 16:00
  • Kew Palace
  • Separate ticket
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Queen Charlotte's Cottage

Discover a queen's rustic country retreat in the grounds of Kew Palace with a visit to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage.

  • Open Weekends and Bank Holidays
  • 11:30 - 15:30
  • Kew Palace
  • Included in Kew Gardens admission
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Kitchen Garden

Wander through the edible Kitchen Garden at Kew - a veritable sanctuary for wildlife, created to serve the royal family when staying at Kew Palace.

  • Open
  • Kew Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more


George III, the Complex King

Dutiful, intelligent and cultured, but cruelly labelled ‘mad’

Queen Charlotte

Wife of George III and mother to 15 children

The royal kitchens at Kew

The kitchens have survived, practically untouched

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