Coronavirus (Covid-19) Statement

Re-opening update 2 July

Thank you for your continued support, which has meant so much to us over the past weeks and months. Since we started the phased re-opening of our gardens and outside spaces, we have been delighted to welcome many of you through our gates, both as returning and first-time visitors.

You will no doubt have seen the latest government guidelines announcing that indoor venues can re-open from 4 July, with social distancing measures in place. We are pleased to share with you our plans for the phased re-opening of some of the indoor spaces at our palaces.

From 10 July, we will once more be lowering the drawbridge at the Tower of London and inviting you to explore Her Majesty’s 1000-year old fortress. The interior spaces at Hampton Court Palace will follow from 17 July, with Kensington Palace and Hillsborough Castle re-opening from 30 July. These wonderful spaces will feel a little different from normal, but with fewer visitors we believe you’ll have an incredible experience.

Your safety remains our highest priority, so we will continue to limit the number of people visiting on any given day. You will need to pre-book tickets in advance (which you can do from today) at hrp.org.uk. New tickets will be released every Monday.

Re-opening the palaces is very positive news, but the costs associated with it are significant and we still urgently need your support. Visiting the palaces, buying or renewing a membership, purchasing something from our shops or cafes or making a donation are all ways you can help us to secure the charity’s future. 

Thank you once again for your continued support, it means the world to us.

John Barnes

CEO, Historic Royal Palaces

Reopening update 12 June 2020

From 18 June, we will be re-opening the gardens and outdoor spaces at Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens for you to enjoy once again. In accordance with government and World Health Organisation guidelines, the palaces, shops and cafes remain closed for now, and we’ll open these just as soon as it’s safe to do so.

In order to open up our spaces safely, we’ve had to reduce the number of people we can welcome at any one time, so everyone (including our members and supporters) will need to book in advance. To book your ticket, you need to visit hrp.org.uk where you will be asked to select an entry time slot for your visit. There is no restriction on the duration of your visit. Unfortunately, if you do not have a ticket when you visit, you will not be able to enter the grounds. We will be continually monitoring the situation and new time slots will be released on a weekly basis.

As a result of the measures we have put in place to keep our teams and our visitors safe, your visit may feel different from normal. To give you an idea of what to expect, we’ve created a visitor information page and video, to give you some reassurance about the measures we’ve put in place to keep our staff and our visitors safe. We’re going to need you to play your part too. You can, however, still expect the same warm welcome from our team who are ready and waiting to welcome you back.

We have previously outlined the uncertainty about our future in the face of the serious financial challenges we are now facing.  Thank you to those of you who responded with donations and new membership applications. We need your support to sustain the charity through this difficult period.  A visit, a donation, a membership or any purchase from our online shop are all ways you can help us to invest in the palaces future – so that visitors can continue to enjoy them for centuries to come

We’re looking forward to seeing you very soon.

John Barnes

CEO, Historic Royal Palaces

 

FAQs

General

Which of your sites are opening?
Outdoor spaces at Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will open on 18 June. 

We will be opening the Tower of London from 10 July, Kensington Palace from 30 July, with interior spaces at Hampton Court Palace opening on 17 July and at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens from 30 July.

What’s the timeline for opening the other sites?
We will only open sites when we are confident we can do so safely, and in compliance with the latest Government Guidelines.  We will make further announcements in due course.

When will I be able to see the Life Through a Royal Lens / Field of Cloth of Gold exhibitions?
These exhibitions were due to open in Spring 2020.  They have now been postponed.  We hope to share them with visitors to Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace in the future, but for now, our focus is on operating our sites safely and in line with social distancing guidelines.

Safety Procedures

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.
  • 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. 

How will you be managing payments?
For the protection of our staff and visitors, we will only be accepting payment by card/contactless.  We advise visitors to pre-book online, to help us manage capacity.

What measures do you have in place to ensure visitors observe social distancing?
We will be using signage and where appropriate, floor markings to indicate best practice for social distancing.  Our staff will be fully trained on social distancing, so they can make sure the latest guidelines are followed by all visitors.

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.

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.

 

Hampton Court Palace
What are the planned opening times?
Hampton Court Palace will be open Wednesday – Sunday – 10.30 – 5pm.

Why have the areas of the garden that are usually free to access remained closed?
The safety of our visitors and staff is our highest priority and at present, one of the best ways to ensure that is to manage capacity in our outdoor spaces.  We cannot do this without ticketing these spaces and so some elements of the garden outside our pay barriers will remain temporarily closed.

When will you be re-opening the free areas of the garden?
We are not able to provide a date for this at this stage – we will only change our current stance when we are confident it is safe to do so.

When will you re-open the maze / Magic Garden?
We are not able to provide a date for this at this stage – we will only change our current stance when we are confident it is safe to do so.

How much are tickets and how different will the experience be?
We have developed a new outdoor experience at the palace, including a sculpture trail in the gardens.  This will be priced at £12.50 and will include a walk through the palace courtyards, with opportunities to take in the Tudor and Baroque architecture.

Will I be able to get refreshments on site?
When we initially open, it will not be possible to purchase refreshments, but we hope to open our cafes when it is safe and practical to do so.

Can I picnic in the gardens?
Visitors will be welcome to picnic in the gardens provided social distancing is safely observed.

Will I be able to purchase anything in your shop?
Our online shop is open and we can still deliver a wide range of historic treats direct to your doorstep.  If you’re not able to visit us in person yet, please show your support by visiting the online shop – all of the profits will go towards the maintenance of the six remarkable buildings in our care.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
What are the planned opening times / days?
Hillsborough Castle’s gardens will be open Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.

Why aren’t the gardens open every day?
The re-opening of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will be phased and gradual.  Like many organisations we will need to be confident of visitor demand, before we open the site 7 days a week.  In the meantime, this period will provide a unique opportunity to experience our royal gardens in all their Spring glory, without the crowds.

Will I be able to get refreshments on site?
When we initially open, it will not be possible to purchase refreshments, but we hope to open our cafes when it is safe and practical to do so.

Will I be able to purchase anything in your shop?
Our online shop is open and we can still deliver a wide range of historic treats direct to your doorstep.  If you’re not able to visit us in person yet, please show your support for Historic Royal Palaces by paying our shop a visit – all of the profits will go towards the maintenance of the six remarkable buildings in our care.

Will I be able to enter the gardens from the top site or only from the main entrance?
Entrance will be via the visitor entrance off the A1, which is closest to our beautiful gardens.

Members

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 this doesn’t help, please email our team at members@hrp.org.uk.

I have just purchased a new membership, and don’t yet have my membership number, how do I book my ticket?
We will endeavour to process your membership as quickly as we can. If you want to visit straightaway, please email our team at members@hrp.org.uk and we will send your membership number by email.

The available timeslots are full, but I’m desperate to visit! How do I know when new spaces are available?
We will be releasing new ticketing timeslots every Monday, and will keep our members informed by email. If you aren’t receiving these, we may need to update your email address or contact preferences. Drop us a line on members@hrp.org.uk.

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 without pre-booking. The voucher is valid for 4 people to visit during opening hours – if you would like to visit with more than 4 people 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 corporatepartners@hrp.org.uk.

Update 29 May

It is two months since we closed the doors to the six wonderful palaces in our care as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. We have been touched by the messages of support from our members, supporters and visitors.  

You will be aware that the Government recently announced some changes to the nation’s lockdown position and more changes will follow in the coming months. However the lockdown eases, it is clear that we must all observe social distancing for the foreseeable future, so we have been making detailed plans to re-open our sites safely, in accordance with the latest Government advice.  

We have begun awakening the palaces, re-opening our online shop and preparing the measures that will protect our staff and visitors when we open the doors again.

We know that you will be keen to see friends and family and to walk in the beautiful palace gardens again. Therefore, the gardens at Hampton Court Palace and at Hillsborough Castle will re-open during June for you to enjoy once more. In July, we hope that we will be able to re-open some palace interiors followed, in time, by our cafes and shops .

This will mean putting in place many new safety measures and precautions, and we will need your co-operation to make this work.

When we re-open, we will manage carefully the number of people visiting the palaces at any one time. The safest way to do this is to ask everyone to pre-book tickets via hrp.org.uk. We will shortly begin releasing tickets to pre-book in 4-weekly blocks. Please check the website for updates.

Our plans for new exhibitions, experiences and activities to share with you in 2020 may have been put on hold, but we will find new ways to create space for spirits to stir and be stirred at our six sites.

In the meantime, we urgently need the support of our members and supporters.  We have lost the majority of our income, and we face serious financial challenges. If, like us, you love the palaces and believe in what we do, we would welcome any donation you are able to give to sustain the charity through this difficult period.  A donation to Historic Royal Palaces is an investment in their future – so that visitors can continue to enjoy them for centuries to come.

We will be in touch soon with further details about re-opening. For now, thank you for your patience and support; we’ve missed sharing these wonderful palaces with you and look forward to welcoming you back soon.

John Barnes
CEO, Historic Royal Palaces