Historic Royal Palaces visitor FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Historic Royal Palaces is closely following the latest government advice and guidance in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The safety of our staff and visitors is our highest priority.

We are doing everything we can to respond to your enquiries as quickly as possible and thank you for your patience.

  • Which of your sites are open?

    Updated 20 April 2021

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens are open Wednesday - Sunday.

    Hampton Court Palace gardens and courtyards are open Wednesday - Sunday.

    The Tower of London will reopen Wednesday - Sunday from 19 May.

    Kew Palace reopens from 4 June.

    Plans for the reopening of palace interiors including Kensington Palace will be announced shortly. Please check back regularly for updates or sign up to our email newsletters.

    All visitors need to pre-book tickets in advance.  Measures will be in place, including limited capacity and timed entry to ensure that we can provide everyone with a safe visit. Toilets and takeaway catering facilities will be provided, so please make sure you bring a face covering.

    We look forward to welcoming you back just as soon as it’s safe to do so.

  • What are the planned opening times?

    Opening times vary across palaces. Please see links below for opening times.

    Tower of London

    Hampton Court Palace 

    Kensington Palace 

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

     

  • Will the car parks at Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle be open?

    Yes, the car parks are open but cannot be pre-booked. 

    Hampton Court Palace
    Limited parking is available on-site. £1.60 per hour. Pay for your parking by card or by using the Glide app.
    9 disabled bays are available, free for blue badge holders.

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
    Free car parking is available with 27 disabled parking bays, free for blue badge holders.

  • Where do I need to wear a face covering?

    We would ask that all visitors bring a face covering with them.

    Face coverings must be worn by visitors in any spaces under cover, our retail shops and indoor spaces.

  • What extra safety measures will be taken at your sites to ensure visitors and staff are protected?

    The safety of our visitors and staff is our priority.  We have implemented a comprehensive plan to help our visitors and staff feel safe at the palaces.  We will:

    • Limit the amount of people entering our sites every 30 minutes, so we can prevent spaces becoming too crowded.
    • Provide clear signage to facilitate social distancing for staff and visitors.
    • In some cases, we will use screens to protect visitors and staff. Where appropriate, our staff will also be provided with PPE.
    • Provide hand sanitiser dispensers for visitors across our sites as well as hand washing facilities.
    • Implement an enhanced cleaning regime.
  • Will your staff be wearing PPE?

    Where appropriate – particularly where closer contact with members of the public is required – our staff will be issued with PPE, or may be working behind screens, for their protection and to protect our visitors. 

  • What measures do you have in place to ensure visitors observe social distancing?

    We have produced a film outlining the measures we have put in place to keep our staff and visitors safe. You can watch it here.

    Where appropriate, we will be using signage and floor markings to indicate best practice for social distancing.  Our staff are fully trained and will ensure the latest guidelines are followed by all visitors. The wearing of face coverings is also compulsory indoors and communal spaces, unless you have an exemption.

  • How will you be managing the toilets?

    Toilets will be frequently cleaned and monitored by staff.  We will display a sign in sheet in each toilet, so visitors can be clear on how we are maintaining high standards of hygiene.

  • What will your staff do if visitors are seen not observing social distancing?

    Our expectation is that all visitors will observe social distancing, to protect themselves and each other.  Our staff will be able to assist, should you have any concerns.

  • When will I be able to see the Field of Cloth of Gold/Life Through a Royal Lens exhibitions?

    These exhibitions were due to open in Spring 2020. 

    The Gold and Glory exhibition will open at Hampton Court Palace in spring 2021.

    Life Through a Royal Lens is postponed.

  • How will you be managing payments?

    For the protection of our staff and visitors, we will only be accepting payment by card/contactless.  To enable us to manage capacity on site, all visitors are required to pre-book tickets online.

  • How do I book a member timeslot/ticket?

    As a member, you need to pre-book a timeslot for your visit using the Member portal. This is to ensure the safety of both visitors and staff. 

    1. Log in to the Member portal

    2. Choose the palace you'd like to book your tickets for and follow the ticket purchase process, selecting your free member tickets from the list of ticket types. If pre-booking tickets for members only, you will skip the payment process.

    We inform our members and customers about new ticket releases by email. If you aren’t receiving notifications and would like to, simply sign up for our e-newsletters on the website, or if you're a member it maybe we need to update your email address or contact preferences. You can drop us a line on [email protected] and we'll arrange this for you.

  • I’m unable to login with my membership number and surname, how do I book?

    If you are unable to login with your membership number and surname, try a space after your surname. It is not case-specific.

    If you have recently purchased a membership and cannot login, your membership might not have been processed yet. Please email our team at [email protected] and we'll try to help.

     

  • I have just purchased a new membership, and don’t yet have my membership number, how do I book my ticket?

    You will need your membership number to book tickets, so if you're waiting for your new membership card to arrive and want to visit straightaway, please email [email protected] and we'll sort it out for you. 

  • I work for a company that has a corporate membership, how can I visit for free?

    You will have been issued with a special voucher from your employer that allows you to visit during opening hours without pre-booking. If you would like to visit with more guests than your voucher allows, you will need to book extra tickets on hrp.org.uk. We will endeavour to admit you on the next available time slot but as we are operating with a limited capacity please note that you might have to queue. We appreciate your patience if this should happen. If this doesn’t answer your question, please contact [email protected].

  • I have a corporate partner voucher, how do I pre-book tickets?

    There is no pre-booking for corporate partners - partners should just present themselves, with their voucher and proof of ID as per the terms and conditions of the voucher, on the day they'd like to visit where they will be admitted at the next available time slot on the day (every half hour).

  • I have a school visit booked, will this be cancelled?

    As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, our school programmes have changed a little.

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will be open for school visits from May 2021.

    Hampton Court Palace, Tower of London and Kensington Palace will be open for school visits from June 2021.

    For more information on our schools programme or to make a booking please visit Schools | Historic Royal Palaces (hrp.org.uk)

    Should you have a query about the schools programme please email [email protected].

  • I’ve ordered something from your online shop, are there any delays to deliveries?

    Staff safety remains our primary concern and we have implemented safety measures in our retail warehouse. This means our online orders may take slightly longer than usual to be processed. 

    Please read our delivery information for further assistance.

    Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions and we will aim to respond as soon as possible.

  • When will you re-open the maze / Magic Garden?

    The Magic Garden is now open and is included in a Gardens admissions ticket. Unfortunately, the Maze remains closed for now. 

  • Will I be able to get refreshments on site?

    Takeaway refreshments are available from the cafes and kiosks located at our open sites. Not all food outlets may be open, and we will be operating a reduced menu.

    Please check out the visit / eating pages for the palace you wish to visit for further details.

  • Will I be able to purchase anything in your shop?

    Our retail shops will be open from 14 April.

    You can continue to make purchases from our online shop too.

  • How do I use my Blue Peter badge?

    To use your Blue Peter badge, please bring the badge, card and proof of age to show our Admissions team on arrival. As children are only able to use a Blue Peter badge when accompanied by an adult, please book the paid tickets you require in advance, selecting the palace you’d like to visit and clicking the ‘Buy tickets’ option in the top right corner.

    Whilst we cannot pre-book these free spaces, we will admit Blue Peter badge holders on the same timeslot as your pre-booked ticket(s) and will not ask your party to split up.

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.

Find out more about visiting our six palaces and our various attractions in the links below.

The White Tower, looking north-west towards the Wardrobe Tower. Showing two young women visitors in the foreground, happily using digital video guide tour devices.

Tower of London FAQs

Discover London's castle – a secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison.

A wide view of the main visitor entrance (West Gate) of Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court Palace FAQs

Wander the corridors of royal power and pleasure at the former home of Henry VIII.

Exterior view of Banqueting House below a blue sky

Banqueting House FAQs

Experience the drama and splendour of the Rubens Ceiling at the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

The east front of Kensington Palace and gardens with the statue of Queen Victoria in the foreground, under a blue sky.

Kensington Palace FAQs

Be charmed by a stylish royal residence — once the home of Queen Victoria.

View of Kew Palace from the garden

Kew Palace FAQs

Glimpse inside an intimate royal family retreat, hidden in the grounds of Kew Gardens.

An exterior photo of the South facade of Hillsborough Castle on a sunny September day. Framed by greenery.

Hillsborough Castle FAQs

Explore the gardens and discover a castle at Northern Ireland's royal residence.