Schools FAQs

Frequently asked questions about school visits to our palaces

Frequently asked questions about school visits to our palaces

  • When are Historic Royal Palaces sites open for school visits?

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens: Tuesday – Thursday during term time from 01 September 2021.  

    The Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace: Wednesday – Friday during term time from 08 September 2021.  

    Pre-booking is essential and timed entry slots are in operation. For full planning and booking information including full term dates and booking forms, follow the links below:

    Tower of London

    Hampton Court Palace 

    Kensington Palace  

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens  

  • I can’t find the school session I booked in a previous year, why not?

    Due to the devastating impact of the Coronavirus on our charity we have focused on our most popular sessions this year. We have also taken the opportunity to rename some sessions to better reflect their content.  

    If you are not sure which session to choose for your particular key stage, class or group please feel free to get in touch with the team who will be happy to advise. Please email [email protected]  

  • Why can’t I book a visit for a Monday or Tuesday at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace or Kensington Palace?

    As a result of the pandemic, we are offering school visits on fewer days of the week this academic year, this is because we cannot guarantee that all sites will be open 7 days a week. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and hope this is only a temporary change to our schools programme. 

  • What happens if there’s another lockdown or my school cannot attend due to Coronavirus related challenges?

    We have adjusted our booking terms and conditions to support you should this happen. Please see our terms and conditions for full details.  

  • I haven’t been given the entry time I wanted. Can I bring my group early anyway?

    You may not be admitted until your booked entry time. We cannot provide indoor waiting space for your group prior to your entry time, so please ensure your group dress for the weather and be advised that you may need to wait if you arrive very early.   

  • Will there be somewhere to eat our lunch?

    We do have school lunchrooms at our sites and will aim to allocate as many schools as we can a lunchroom. Lunchrooms will be allocated by prioritising the youngest groups first and we will send confirmation of your lunchroom booking two weeks prior to your visit. Groups are always welcome to picnic on site in our designated outdoor areas.   

  • The day/session I’d like to book is sold out. How is this possible?

    Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, we are limiting visitor numbers on site. We have also adjusted our opening hours and will only be welcoming school groups Wednesday – Friday to our London sites, and Tuesday – Thursday at Hillsborough Castle. We have reduced the number of sessions we are offering and limited the number that can be booked each day. We hope this is a temporary change and apologise for any inconvenience caused.  

  • Your phone lines are closed, is this a permanent change?

    Due to reduced staffing levels, we may not always be available to answer your telephone call. Rest assured that we are aiming to open our phone lines Wednesday to Friday 09:00-17:00 during UK term time when we are expecting school visits onsite. If you need a swift response, we always recommend email and if you would like to speak to a member of the team you can request a call back.  

    School visits phone number: 020 3166 6646  

    Email addresses by site: 

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens [email protected]  

    Tower of London [email protected]  

    Hampton Court Palace [email protected]  

    Kensington Palace [email protected]  

  • Why haven’t I had a response to my email?

    Due to reduced staffing levels in the team it may take us longer to reply to emails than normal. It is our aim to reply to every email within 7 working days. If you have not had a response within this timeframe, please do get in touch via telephone: 020 3166 6646.  

  • Will everything be open when I visit?

    Parts of the visitor route may close at short notice due to staffing shortages as a result of the pandemic. We will always try our best to notify you in advance of any long term planned closures for maintenance or conservation works, but recommend checking the closure and notices pages of our website before your visit 

  • Is it possible to apply for the Access Fund for Schools?

    As a result of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our charity we have suspended the Access Fund programme. We hope to reintroduce it in the future. 

  • Can I come on a pre-visit, to plan our day and do a risk assessment?

    In your booking confirmation you will receive a teacher planning pass for two teachers to come onsite and plan your school visit. You do not need to pre-book this, but we recommend checking our opening times before travelling as the sites may be closed on certain days of the week. We are unable to provide teacher planning passes in advance of a visit being booked with us.  

  • How do I reschedule my visit, which was cancelled due to COVID?

    If you had informed us of your cancellation, in line with our booking terms, the following will apply. If you had not yet paid for you cancelled visit, you should already have received a credit note from us which cancelled out your original invoice. If you wish to rebook, please fill in one of our new booking forms and we will start the booking process afresh for you.  

    If you had paid for your visit and did not opt for a refund from us when offered, we can transfer across your payment to a new booking this academic year. If you would like us to do this please make it clear that you are rescheduling a paid visit when you email us your new booking form. Please note, you may be invoiced for additional costs such as additional students/adults, our prices have increased slightly this academic year.