What's cooking at Hampton Court Palace?

By Vanessa Teo

It’s no surprise that Henry VIII was a fan of his food; with a sprawling kitchen in Hampton Court Palace, he made sure that he and his guests were served the finest meals at his fancy. Setting an example, it seemed that the kitchens were used even up until Elizabeth I’s reign, who was accustomed to dining on such things as oxen, wild boar and deer. From the recent discovery of the 18th century chocolate kitchen, it’s clear there was a lot of extravagance in terms of culinary experiments in Hampton Court Palace. So we decided to take a look back in time at the kitchens of this royal residence and explore the eating habits of the kings and queens of British history.

  • The Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court Palace not only fed King Henry VIII and his family, but they also continued to be the royal court kitchens for a further two hundred years, serving the tables of Tudor, Stuart and Georgian monarchs and their courtiers.
  • The kitchens are located on the north side of the palace, where it is cooler and the optimum temperature for cooking
  • Over the last few years, Hampton Court Palace kitchens have been home to an interesting research project run by Historia food archaeologists, who have been experimenting with traditional recipes, ingredients and cooking methods to prepare authentic 16th century food
  • The palace had a spicery which was filled with exotic Oriental and European spices but the Office of Spicery was responsible for processing the huge amounts of fruits that were grown in the vast orchards
  • The royal chocolate making kitchen once catered for Kings William III, George I and George II and is the only surviving royal chocolate kitchen in the country. Recent research uncovered the royal chocolate kitchen in the Baroque Palace’s Fountain Court, and having been used as a storeroom for many years, it is remarkably well preserved with many of the original fittings, including the stove, equipment and furniture still intact
  • The palace had three cellars; a wine cellar which held 300 casks for courtiers; the wine for the royals was kept in the privy cellar; and under lock and key, ale was stored in the great cellar which was protected by two guards as well. Did you know around 600,000 gallons of ale was drunk on a yearly basis at the court?
  • Meat eating was a favourite past time at the Royal Court as it was a demonstration of wealth. Most people would have boiled their meat, or had it preserved while the rich and royals could burn their (costly!) fuel in an open fire and have the means to hire a spit boy to turn the meat all day long...

Find out more on a Hampton Court Palace tour included free with the London Pass and use our interactive infographic to learn about the history of this iconic palace. There's so much to be discovered...

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Explore London’s Music Scene: Past & Present

London music has evolved from Chas & Dave to the Sex Pistols to Congo Natty and back again. The capital city has been played by artists like The Who and the location of Jimi Hendrix’s last performance. The London sound is a reflection of its history, its diversity, and the creativity that comes with living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. A Musical Map of London London has some of the most legendary music venues in the world even though many have been lost to progress and development. When the Marquee Club closed down, a part of The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd’s legacy went with it. The Hammersmith Palais is no longer an epic entertainment venue but the title of a song by the Clash. Regardless the city is still thriving musically, with a community of like-minded music lovers attending shows in small pubs, pop-up venues, and stadiums with a capacity of 80,000. Whether you’re a head-banger, alternative rocker, mod, punk, indie, or anything in between, London has a venue to cover all tastes. Take a look at what London music history holds: Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road This theatre was built over the former Horse Shoe Brewery, the site of the 1814 London Beer Flood. The Dominion opened in 1929 and became well known for hosting musical shows. It wasn’t until 6th February 1957 that the hall saw its first proper rock and roll concert. Bill Haley and the Comets opened their British tour here where they were met my thousands of (atypically!) screaming British fans. The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road This Grade II* listed building has become one of the most famous music venues in London. This former railway shed saw The Doors play their only UK gig here in 1968 and by the early 1970s, DJ Jeff Dexter was a regular Sunday night feature. His shows helped launch the likes of David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Elton John, and The Rolling Stones to fame Punk arrived in 1976 and the Round House finished out the 70s with concerts from The Ramones, Patti Smith and The Strangers, Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Police, and so many more. After years of dereliction, the Roundhouse has risen from the ashes to become one of the capital’s best venues again. The Electric Ballroom, Camden High Street One of this venue’s claims to fame is it’s the location where Sid Sod Off – the last ever UK performance from Sid Vicious. Sid and his girlfriend Nancy wanted to move to New York and used the profits from this gig to do it. In 1979 Joy Division performed twice – around the same time U2 and Adam and the Ants were playing. In 2007, former Beatle Paul McCartney played a surprise gig for an exclusive audience. Dublin Castle, 94 Parkway Camden The famous late Camden resident Amy Winehouse was a regular at this lively pub. It’s an institution of the indie music scene and launched the music career of Madness. 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street This venue has seen change after change, but the spot has been music since 1941. The 100 Club’s roots are jazz and you’ll still find them playing it, but since the 1960s they’ve been throwing rock music into the mix. In fact, the name of the club came from its larger-than-life rock nights where The Kinks and the Animals played. In the late 70s they brought punk music into the venue with shows by The Sex Pistols and Siouxie; in the 1980s, the Rolling Stones took breaks from their huge stadium concerts for intimate shows. The increase in rents threatened the existence of the club in 2010 but a fundraising campaign helped its doors stay open to today. Eventim Apollo, Queen Caroline Street If you wanted to see some of the best gigs through London’s rock and roll heyday, you went to this Grade II* listed building in Hammersmith. Originally called the Hammersmith Apollo, it was renamed Hammersmith Odeon in 1962. It is known as the Eventim Apollo through sponsorship. The Beatles played their second Christmas show here in 1964 – it ran for 3 weeks and sold out its 100,000 tickets. The show involved music, comedy sketches, and special guests which made for a uniquely British holiday experience. Affectionately known as Hammy-O, this venue was just for live music. Live albums Alchemy by Dire Straits and appropriately titled No Sleep to Hammersmith by Motorhead were also recorded here. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore This historic venue dates back to the 1800s and was named after Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. From the 1960s it has been used regularly to pop and rock concerts, which is when Cream performed their last show and Bob Dylan upset some of his folk purist fans by playing an electric guitar – the horror! The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys are just a few of the legendary names to have graved the stage of what is the grandest venue in London. Ronnie Scott’s, Frith Street Primarily a jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s club in Soho is also a hotspot for rock music. The Who deafened an audience of journalists when the band launched their album Tommy here in 1969. It’s also the location of a sad farewell as Jimi Hendrix gave his last live performance here in September 1970. Up on a Roof, 3 Savile Row Savile Row may be known for Georgian townhomes and upscale bespoke tailors but this Mayfair street housed the Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd group of companies. On 30 January 1969, the roof of Apple headquarters marked the group’s final performance and one of the all-time greatest moments in popular culture. The Beatles got up onto their roof and had a set list of five songs. Their neighbours were no pleased with the surprise performance and called the police. When they arrived they stayed to watch the show. The performance was stopped after 42 minutes but the footage lives on. The building is now a branch of Abercrombie Kids. London Landmarks Abbey Road Most of the Beatles records were made at EMI Studios in St John’s Wood in North London. They named their last recorded album after the road where the studios were situated: Abbey Road. The photograph on the front cover was taken on the zebra crossing right by the studios. Ever since that album release, millions of people have made their way up to St John’s Wood in order to replicate the famous photo – at the expense of their safety and traffic flow. Abbey Road Studios have estimated 300,000 people come every year, making it one of the top 20 most visited tourist attractions in London. Ziggy Stardust Another one of the most imitated album covers is David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust which was photographed outside 23 Heddon Street, near Regent Street. Here is where visitors come to stand by the phone booth where David Bowie once stood. The Clash The photograph on the cover The Clash’s eponymous first album was taken on the steps right outside the Stables Market in Camden Town. This is where they had their rehearsal rooms. Animals Pink Floyd’s album cover for Animals shows Battersea Power Station with a large inflatable pig tied to its recognisable chimneys. During the photo shoot the pig came loose and drifted skywards. It caused a lot of confusion amongst pilots flying in and out of Heathrow airport! Subterranean Homesick Blues Bob Dylan shot the video for this song at the back of the Savoy Hotel where he was staying during his 1965 UK tour. Two Virgins 34 Montagu Square in Marylebone has an exciting rock and roll history. Ringo Starr and his new wife Maureen moved into this apartment in 1965. Later, Paul McCartney recorded demos of Eleanor Rigby with a portable recording studio. Jimi Hendrix lived at this address with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham and manager Chas Chandler. The trio were replaced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and became the location of their famous naked photo that graced the cover of their Two Virgins album. Dedicated Followers of Fashion There has always been a connection between music and fashion, and London has many places where the art forms collide. The King’s Road in Chelsea has been associated with fashion and music since the 1960s when Mary Quant opened her first shop here. Later on the wonderfully named Granny Takes a Trip opened at 488 King’s Road. The street became known for being the place where The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix shopped, meanwhile internationally renowned fashion designer Vivienne Westwood owns a shop called World’s End at No. 430. The shop has had many names over the years and when it was co-owned by Malcom McLaren, one of the minds behind the Sex Pistols, it was called Sex. The members who would later form the band were regular patrons at the store. Another street associated with music and fashion is Carnaby Street in Soho. It became popular with the Mod crowd in the 60s. The area was no stranger to The Who and The Small Faces who bought clothes there regularly. Carnaby Street was mentioned in The Kinks’ song Dedicated Follower of Fashion: “Everywhere the Carnabetian army marches on, Each one a dedicated follower of fashion”.
Vanessa Teo

True or False: the royal borough of Windsor & Eton

How good is your knowledge of Windsor & Eton? It is home to the historic Windsor Castle, the Queen’s preferred residence, and much loved by the men in the royal family who all attended the prestigious boy’s school, Eton College. Try and answer these tricky questions to test yourself! True or False: Eton has one of the only remaining vertical slotted letter boxes in the UK? True! If you go down half way down Eton High Street you’ll see an original mid-19th-century red ‘pillar box’ which has a vertical letter slot. The prestigious Eton College was originally founded as a charity school? True! A real rags to riches story, Eton College, was originally founded as a charity school in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide free education to 70 poor boys. It is now the prestigious Public School for 1,300 13-18 year old boys who wear an eye-catching uniform of tailcoats and colourful waistcoats. If you didn’t already know, Prince William and Harry both attended Eton College. Inigo Jones built and designed Windsor Guild Hall? False. Windsor Guild Hall was completed in 1687 by Sir Christopher Wren – who also designed St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Here, in the Guild Hall, you can view the many magnificent portraits that have been lent by the Queen for display. It also houses a Museum which has a lot of historical local information and is great for the kids. Windsor is home to the shortest street in England? True! Charlotte Street is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest street in England. The Crooked House has always been called so since being built? False. The real name of the leaning Crooked House is actually Marketcross House. Built in 1634, its structure has fallen over time and now it has become famous for its leaning structure. It has been an Antique shop, florist, butchers and a public house over its 400 years. There is a blue Post Box in Windsor? True! Look out for the old blue Air Mail Post Box which commemorates the first ever air mail from Windsor to Hendon in 1911. The Long Walk is actually only a few meters long? False. The Long Walk (created by Charles II in 1670) measures 2.5 miles and is a straight line from the end of Park Street right down from Windsor Castle. It’s a great one to walk for a spectacular view of the Castle. Shakespeare once lived in Windsor? True, it’s said that William Shakespeare lived in number 7 Church Street whilst he was writing the Merry Wives of Windsor. Coincidentally, this was next door to the house of Charles II’s favourite mistress – where, rumour had it, there was a secret tunnel underground leading into the castle. With the London Pass and Travelcard, you can travel out to Windsor & Eton for free. Travel is included in the price of the package, click here to find out more.
Vanessa Teo

BODY WORLDS London: Body Facts

BODY WORLDS London is one of the capital’s leading new attractions Entry to BODY WORLDS London is now included with the London Pass We’re marking that fact by celebrating the human body, with a mega list of extraordinary anatomical facts You’ll find out plenty more body facts during your visit to BODY WORLDS London with your London Pass BODY WORLDS London is now on the London Pass! To celebrate the fact that all London Pass holders can now get into the fantastically popular anatomic attraction, paying nothing at the gate, we’ve assembled a list of some of the most amazing facts about the human body. Some jaw-droppers, some chin-scratchers, some to make you smile smugly because you knew them already. Some you can challenge us about in the comments box at the foot of this page. And they're interspersed with some brilliant pictures from BODY WORLDS London. Here we go... Body Facts Let's start with a fun one: your brain dries out as you get older Your brain is sometimes more active whilst you’re asleep than it is when you’re awake. But try telling that to your boss Stomach acid is powerful stuff. If it touched your skin, it could burn through it You produce a gallon of mucus each day Your cornea is the only part of your body which has no blood supply. It gets the oxygen it requires straight from the air You’re taller when you wake up than you are when you go to sleep. It’s because the soft cartilage separating your bones gets squished throughout the day as the world weighs down on your shoulders You have fewer bones as you get older Your skin is your largest organ Your mouth creates around a litre of saliva each day. Across your life, you’ll make about five hundred bathtubs worth of saliva A quarter of your body’s bones are located in your feet Each square inch of skin contains over six metres of blood vessels. In total, your body contains more than 100,000 miles of blood vessels. That could wrap around the earth four times Uncoil all the DNA in your body and it would be around 10 billion miles long. That could get you to Pluto and back Your tongue print is unique to you, just like your fingerprints Koalas also have unique fingerprints Humans are the only animals with chins Human teeth are as strong as those of a shark. But your jaw is nowhere near as strong, unfortunately Decomposition of your body begins in less than five minutes after your death as your enzymes and bacteria begin breaking you down. Not particularly sentimental types, enzymes and bacteria When you smell something familiar, but can’t quite put your finger on it, don’t worry. Your nose is able to smell three trillion different smells, so that’s a big old olfactory Rolodex to flick through You shed 600,000 skin particles an hour, and will go through as many as 900 entire skins in your lifetime Across your lifetime, you will spend around a whole year sitting on the toilet...playing iPhone games If you weed in a bath every time you had a wee, you’d fill the bath within a month. Try it today! All people with blue eyes share the same ancestor who lived around 10,000 years ago People used to believe kidneys were the part of the body where reasoning occurred, the conscience in an organ. Aristotle thought the heart was the centre of intelligence If you’re born with just one kidney, it can grow to be a similar weight to two kidneys and perform just as well as a pair Your liver is the heaviest internal organ in your body Around eight percent of your body weight is blood By the time you reach six, your brain is already 90% of its final size Brains are wrinkly. If you were to iron out those wrinkles, your brain would be about the size of a pillowcase You can fit 10,000 human cells on a pinhead Sorry to mention this, but you’ve got mites living in your eyelashes When you blush, it’s because you’ve had a rush of adrenaline. When you blush, the inside of your stomach blushes too. Humans are the only species known to blush Genetically speaking, human beings are more than 99 percent identical to one another In the race of the fastest-growing parts of the human body, hair comes in second to bone The strongest muscle in your body. Biceps? Nope. Glutes? Nah. It’s your jaw muscles And the fastest muscles in your body are your extraocular muscles. They allow your eyeballs to move Babies blink five times less than adults. On average, an adult blinks 10 times a minute, babies just two. So babies just can’t get enough of the world. But adults, they’ve seen enough Babies can’t cry tears until they’re at least a month old. So it takes just one month for the world to wear them down The liver has around 500 different functions. These include removing toxins from the bloodstream, producing antibodies and making bile It may be small, but your little finger is responsible for half of your hand’s strength The liver can almost completely grow back According to studies, women’s brains shrink during pregnancy. But this is actually thought to make them more efficient Your heart can shoot blood over nine metres. It pumps over 5 litres of blood around your body each minute, which is around three million litres of blood each year. Over the course of your life, your heart will have pumped enough blood to fill an entire football stadium, which would be very disruptive Brains can function for between five and 10 minutes without oxygen The length of an adult small intestine is approximately 23 feet A human’s nose and ears never stop growing On average, a human breathes around 200,000 times per day Do you want to see which other leading London attractions we have included with the London Pass? Oh, but of course you do. So you should take a read of them...here.
Matthew Pearson

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