Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, TW9 3AB


0844 482 7777



Opening times:

April-Sept daily 10:30-17:30 (last entry 17:00)

How to get there:

Tube: Kew Gardens

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Kew Palace is a fine example of the ‘artisan mannerist’ style popular in the early 17th century, and worthy of comparison with Forty Hall. A royal residence from the early 18th century, it is all that remains of George II and III’s palace at Kew. Formerly known as the Dutch House, it was built in 1631 for the Flemish merchant Samuel Fortrey. By the mid-18th century this fine three-storey block with its rubbed brickwork and Dutch gables was being used as an annexe to the royal residence known as The White House or Kew House, built in the 1730s by Frederick, Prince of Wales. As such it was the childhood home of George III, later the nursery for his own children and his retreat during the onset of his nervous disorder, porphyria. This was a role that the house played increasingly after the partial demolition of the White House in 1802. King George’s beloved wife Queen Charlotte spent the last six months of her life here in 1818, a year in which the palace also saw the marriages of two of their sons, the Dukes of Clarence and Kent. The latter married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and their daughter later became Queen Victoria, who opened the palace to the public in 1899.

Since 1996 the palace has been undergoing an extensive programme of restoration and re-presentation, still in progress at time of writing. The façade has been re-covered with its distinctive red brick-dust limewash over the Flemish bond brickwork. Inside, the wallpaper has been recreated from remaining fragments and the 18th-century brass door locks, engraved with the crest of Frederick, Prince of Wales, have been preserved. The re-presentation project focuses on the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when the house was most frequently in use by George III, Queen Charlotte and their children. Added attractions promised are a wax life cast of George III made by Madame Tussaud, a waistcoat specially adapted for him, and the shirt he wore during his illness, an image made famous in the film The Madness of King George III. Also on display is a remarkable ‘baby house’ or dolls’ house made both for and by the daughters of George III in 1780, complete with tiny Hepplewhite furniture and bright green wallpaper.

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Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.


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Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
2 Willow Road (National Trust)
William Morris Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Westminster Abbey Museum
Wesley's Chapel
Wellington Arch (English Heritage)
Wallace Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
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Tate Britain
Sutton House (National Trust)
Spencer House
Southside House
South London Art Gallery
The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House)
Sir John Soane's Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe
Serpentine Gallery
Science Museum
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St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Saatchi Gallery
Royal Society of Arts
The Royal Mews
Royal London Hospital Museum
The Faraday Museum
Royal Hospital Chelsea
RCM Museum of Music
Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
Red House (National Trust)
Ranger’s House (English Heritage)
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The Queen’s Gallery
Prince Henry’s Room
The Photographers’ Gallery
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Osterley Park (National Trust)
Orleans House Gallery
Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
Natural History Museum
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National Gallery
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Musical Museum
World Rugby Museum
Museum of the Order of St John
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Museum of London
Garden Museum
Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
The Royal Observatory
The Queen's House
Old Royal Naval College
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Marble Hill House (English Heritage)
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Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
London Canal Museum
18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Leighton House
Kingston Museum
Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
London Museum of Water & Steam
Kenwood House (English Heritage)
Kensington Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Keats House
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Jewel Tower (English Heritage)
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ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts
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Hampton Court Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Ham House (National Trust)
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Grant Museum of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy
Geffrye Museum of the Home
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Freud Museum
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Fenton House (National Trust)
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