Historic Royal Palaces visitor FAQs

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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 26 January

    Hillsborough Castle and Gardens are open for local households to visit for essential exercise at weekends only, from Saturday 16 January 2021.

    Hampton Court Palace gardens will be open for local households to visit for essential exercise at weekends only, from 30 January 2021.

    We are opening in line with Government guidelines and ask that you only visit us if you live locally.  All visitors will need to pre-book in advance.  Measures will be in place, including limited capacity and timed entry to ensure that we can provide everyone with a safe visit.  Takeaway catering and toilet facilities will be provided, so please make sure you bring a face covering.

    The Tower of London is closed until further notice.

    Kensington Palace is closed until further notice.

    Kew Palace, The Great Pagoda and The Banqueting House will remain closed until April 2021

    If you have booked to visit for dates where we are now closed, we will contact you shortly to advise you of rebooking or obtaining a refund. 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 with card or by using the Gilde 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 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. The wearing of face coverings will also be compulsory in our shops (except at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland where this measure has not yet been mandated).

  • 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 Life Through a Royal Lens / Field of Cloth of Gold exhibitions?

    These exhibitions were due to open in Spring 2020. 

    The Field of Cloth of Gold exhibition will open at Hampton Court Palace in spring 2021.

    Life Through a Royal Lens will open at Kensington Palace in 2021.

  • 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 tickets online, to help us manage capacity.

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

    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?

    You will need your membership number to book tickets. We will process your membership as quickly as we can and are operating with a reduced team at the moment. If you want to visit straightaway, please email members@hrp.org.uk and we will send your membership number by email once we have processed your application.

  • The available timeslots are full, but I’m desperate to visit! How do I know when new spaces are available?

    New ticket batches will be released weekly. We 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 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 corporatepartners@hrp.org.uk.

  • 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?

    Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have suspended school visits and programmes.

    Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London will be open for school visits from February 2021. Bookings will open from 16th November 2020.

    We hope to have school visits return to Kensington Palace, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens from April 2021.

    Should you have a query about school bookings please email learning.info@hrp.org.uk.

  • 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 shop@hrp.org.uk if you have any questions and we will aim to respond as soon as possible.

  • Why have the areas of the garden at Hampton Court Palace 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?

    The Magic Garden and Maze are closed. We will reopen them when we feel it is safe to do so. 

  • 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?

    All our retail shops are closed.

    You can continue to purchase goods from our online shop too.

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.

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.

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.