Rediscover Hampton Court Palace’s famous Tudor Kitchens in 2018

27 February 2018

27 February 2018

Opens 5 May 2018

Hampton Court Palace’s sprawling kitchen complex was the beating heart of Henry VIII’s Thames-side pleasure palace, and once produced an astonishing 1,000 meals a day to satisfy the king, his guests, and all those working at the palace.

This May, independent charity Historic Royal Palaces will breathe new life into this Tudor food factory, as part of a major re-presentation of the kitchens designed to provide visitors with a ringside seat to the preparations for a royal feast. From the rich and exotic ingredients sourced from across the globe to dazzle the King and his court, to the stories of the hundreds of cooks and liveried pages who made it all possible, visitors will be immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of Henry VIII’s kitchens.

Throughout spring and summer, visitors will have the chance to encounter the fascinating cast of characters who ensured that the King’s kitchen was the greatest in the land, from Henry’s right-hand man Thomas Cromwell to master cook John Dale, clerk of the kitchen Michael Wentworth, and other members of the kitchen complex staff. For summer, a specially commissioned play – featuring Henry VIII himself - will add another dimension to the drama of life at court, while during holiday periods workshops, games and competitions will get families directly involved in the politics and practicalities of preparing a feast for the King.

The journey begins in the palace’s Master Carpenter’s Courtyard, where all the deliveries to supply the court entered the palace and were carefully checked by the Board of the Greencloth staff to ensure they were of the highest quality. Visitors will be able to eavesdrop on the conversations as the clerks go about their daily business, and uncover the intricacies of supplying food for Henry VIII’s hungry courtiers. Continuing into the kitchen complex – the most extensive surviving royal Tudor kitchen range - visitors will experience the sights, sounds and smells of the boiling house, before entering the Great Kitchen to discover how meat was prepared and roasted in front of the six enormous fireplaces.

Meanwhile, our historic kitchens team will be labouring daily to create a host of dishes guaranteed to tickle Tudor taste buds, and they may be on the look-out for extra kitchen hands! For anyone who has ever fancied themselves as the King or Queen of the BBQ, discover the secret to cooking meat in front of a roaring fire from the palace’s historic roasters, and even have a go at turning the spit! With Henry’s court using an astonishing 1.75 million logs each year, it’s all hands on deck to ensure the kitchen’s fireplaces are serving up enough meat for the palace’s twice-daily meal times. For those wanting to escape the heat of the fire and the bustling courtyards, the atmospheric surroundings of Henry VIII’s very own wine cellars –which once housed some of the 300 barrels drunk every year by the Tudor court - await!

Tracy Borman, joint chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces, said: “Henry VIII’s kitchens at Hampton Court are a rare survival from one of the most fascinating periods in the palace’s history, and a must-see for our visitors. By using new technology - and informed by our research findings - we’re now able to bring them to life like never before, and offer a real chance to experience history right where it happened. Promising everything from interactive cookery demonstrations to the sights, sounds and even scents of the Tudor Kitchens complex, we hope to engage visitors of all ages with the unique and fascinating stories behind their history.”


Notes to Editors

Entry to the Tudor Kitchens is included in palace admission, and free for Historic Royal Palaces members.

Ticket Prices

Adult - £25.00 / Child - £12.50 / Concessions - £20.00 / Family (1 Adult) - £44.50 / Family (2 Adult) - £62.50 / Under 5s and HRP members - free.

To accompany the re-opening of the Tudor Kitchens, a series of food-themed lectures will run during the summer at the palace.

A history of food

13 June

Join food writer and critic William Sitwell to discover the many trends and technological innovations that have shaped the way we eat over hundreds of years.

Tickets: £15 non-members/£13.50 members

Tudor cooking, experimental history

27 June

Join food historian Marc Meltonville, as he talks about his work in the Tudor Kitchens at Hampton Court and explores the methods, ideas and outcomes of his experimental cookery from the Tudor Court.

Tickets: £15 non-members/£13.50 members

The consumption of chocolate in the royal court

4 July

Discover more about the fascinating relationship between chocolate and royalty in this talk from Historic Royal Palaces' curator, Polly Putnam.

Tickets: £15 non-members/£13.50 members


For further information and images please contact Sophie Lemagnen in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: [email protected] or telephone: 0203 166 6304.


Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit