Archive for January 1st, 2010

Tour the oldest working kitchen in Britain

Friday, January 1st, 2010

The Great Kitchen tour of Windsor Castle was previously only available to pre-booked groups, but in the new year individuals are going to be able to visit the only kitchen in England that has been in continuous operation for over 650 years.

Windsor kitchen restored after 1992 fireThe kitchen dates to the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) who was himself born in Windsor Castle. Restoration work after the 1992 fire exposed the medieval structure in the kitchen. Restorers took the opportunity to update some of the kitchen amenities — like add more lifts so the poor servants don’t have to carry hundreds of dishes up flights of stairs to St George’s Hall for state dinners — but substantially the kitchen is as it has been for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Even the accessories are almost 200 years old. The large collection of traditional copper pots date to the reign of George IV (1820-30), as do the tables, workbenches, and shelves. George IV was quite the gourmand (read: glutton). He even gave guests tours of the kitchen himself.

Tickets will be available on select dates during the year. You can see a calendar of available dates and book tickets online here. It looks like the Great Kitchen tours will be open the last week in January, the first two of February, all but the first of August, all of September, and the first three days of October.

Ancient Kitchen - Windsor Castle, engraving by W.J. Bennett, 1819

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