The Royal Hospital Chelsea continues to exercise caution in terms of public access from 19th of July. The current rise in infections in our vicinity means that many of our Chelsea Pensioners remain at risk, despite nearly all staff and Pensioners being double vaccinated. Our priority, as ever, is to keep our community safe while we restore as much of our community life as we can.

Please read carefully the restrictions and information relating to different categories of visitors, access to on-site facilities and events.

Site Visitors

Pensioner Relatives and Friends

With effect from 17th May 2021:

Main site 

Groups of up to 5 people will be able to visit the main site in designated indoor areas, family and friends will not be allowed into the Pensioners' accommodation at this time. Visits should be organised through your Pensioner connection. We require visitors to have had a negative Lateral Flow Covid Test before the visit starts. Previously we had offered Lateral Flow Tests on-site, however recent changes mean that tests are available to everyone in the country and as such we are asking family and friends to obtain and take a lateral flow test before they make their visit. This link gives more information about how you can get the tests - We will have some tests available for family and friends who can’t obtain them. Personal Protective Equipment (masks and gloves) will be provided in accordance with national guidance during the visit to keep themselves, staff and residents safe. Children under 2 years of age are able to visit and not be classed as one of the 5 allowed visitors.


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Visits to Pensioners in the MTI now are now possible (as at 20 August 2021) Visitors must take a Lateral Flow Test prior to arrival, register it and show a proof of negative test on day of visit - alternatively testing will be offered on arrival. Visits to the care home are now open via appointments only (please see the contact details below). 

Responsible Visitor Code

In order to visit Friends and Family safely visitors are asked to acknowledge the following responsibilities;

  • Book visits in advance with Maj Phil Shannon MBE or the ward staff for a specific day, time and length of visit
  • Check in with the ward on the day prior to your visit, to ensure the situation in the service has not changed
  • Ensure you have not had COVID-19 symptoms for at least 10 days prior to the visit (new cough, temperature etc)
  • Don't visit if you feel unwell on the day of your visit
  • Don't visit if you have been told to self-isolate as a result of advice from NHS Test and Trace
  • Provide the necessary information required by the Royal Hospital at the visits (e.g. honest response to screening requirements about COVID-19 risk factors, compliance with NHS Test and Trace arrangements)
  • Comply with the infection prevention and control measures including: testing, mandatory hand hygiene, use of PPE as required, social distancing requirements and remaining in the designated visiting area
  • Ensure any gifts brought to give to your relative can be sanitised in line with relevant infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance – please ask if you are unsure.
  • Wherever possible, visitors should a try to walk or travel by car and avoid public transport when visiting

To arrange a visit please contact Maj Phil Shannon MBE, or the Pensioner's relevant Ward

  • Maj Phil Shannon MBE – 07432 727918  / 020 7881 5308
  • Jones Ward – 020 7881 5553 / 5223
  • Campbell Ward 020 7881 5550 / 5551
  • Paget Ward 020 7881 5519 / 5262


Currently a very small number of volunteers are present on the site to assist the Activities team with essential tasks. Many of our other volunteers are helping us from home, for which we are very grateful. If any volunteers have any questions they are asked to call the Activities & Volunteer Manager on 02078815311. 


All school bookings have been cancelled until further notice. There is currently no specific date as to when we are likely to resume our education programme. Once we are able to re-open the site to the public, we will offer all schools whose visits were cancelled priority booking for future dates and will contact you in due course.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the implications for your booking further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via 020 7881 5493. 


Please contact media@chelsea-pensioners or Liam Best on 07976400887 / if you have any media enquiries at this time. 

Guest Accomodation Bookings

Due to reducing our public access on site, unfortunately all our guest accommodation bookings will be cancelled until further notice.

Four Day Stay Visits for those considering applying for admission

We are still open for applications and would welcome hearing from any individual who meets our application criteria. We are keeping in touch with our current applicants so they are kept up to date with what’s happening at the Royal Hospital. We are conducting parts of the application process virtually and are delighted that we are able to allow applicants to visit the Royal Hospital again safely from 19th April. Please contact the Admissions Team on 0207 881 5204 if you have any specific queries.


Plans are pending for suppliers and contractors who are due to visit the site. If they have not already been in touch, please get in touch with your contact at the Royal Hospital to see how site restrictions may affect you.

Business Meetings

In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, it is important that the terms below are followed for the admission of any business visitors to the site:

  1. The default position should be that meetings should be arranged remotely, via conference calls or using video telephone conference applications.
  2. It is accepted that some meetings need to be conducted face to face because they involve physical inspections on site or require discussion of large quantities of drawings or unwieldy documents.
  3. All external visitors will be temperature checked at the gate and will be refused entry if they either refuse or evidence a high temperature.
  4. All visitors must use hand sanitiser, and if possible, wash hands for 20 seconds when they get to the location of their visit before sitting down.
  5. All visitors will be held at the security gate, and then met and escorted to the venue for their visit by a Royal Hospital host.
  6. Visitors who must cross Pensioner occupied areas to access the venue for their visit will be provided with a face mask and must avoid touching surfaces.
  7. Meetings will be held in a socially distanced manner - 2 metres between participants and wearing face masks to reduce the risk of cross infection between outside visitors and our staff.


Founder's Day

Once again, we have had to re-arrange our Founder’s Day plans in order to ensure that the event is safe for the Chelsea Pensioners and guests. Unlike last year, where the event was closed to the public, this year we are delighted that we have been able to invite some guests (largely restricted to friends and family of the Pensioners and with reduced numbers).

This event will now take place, subject to the COVID situation, on the 5th of August. We look forward to a full Parade next year at the usual time and with more friends joining us!

Please note that unfortunately this event could still be cancelled at short notice if a serious COVID outbreak occurs.

If you have any questions on this year’s event, please contact: Please note that Founder's Day is not open to the general public and is stricly by invitation only.

Private Event Bookings

In line with our Force Majeure Event clause in the venue hire contract, the Coronavirus has now constituted a severe enough reason for us to close the site for external events, ensuring we protect Pensioners, staff and residents.

Events are now cancelled until further notice. If you have made a booking with us, please contact the Events team on 02078815350 if you require any information.

Friends' and Governor's Circle Events

Our Spring/Summer Friends’ events programme has unfortunately now been cancelled. We hope to reschedule these events in the future.

Site Facilities

Post Office & Gift Shop

We are delighted to announce that the Shop & Post Office will reopen to the public on Monday 12th April. Please note that all other areas of the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be strictly out of bounds to public visitors at this time.

Online Shop

We are pleased to note we are now accepting orders again via our Online Shop. Please note due to increased demand and less staff able to fulfill orders, there may be some delays in receiving online orders.


The Chapel will reopen to the public from Sunday 1st August 2021, subject to all restrictions being lifted. Find out more here.

Once we open our doors again, on arrival, please expect to be directed to approach the Chapel via the gravel on the North Front and not to access any other part of the site. The Colonnade, Ranelagh Gardens and the Coffee Shop remain closed and for the time being we ask you not to attend Governor’s Parade ahead of the Service.

We encourage you to sanitise your hands and, if you wish, you may wear masks. Please do not to sit too close.

Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop is closed to the public until further notice.


The museum is closed to the public until further notice.

South Grounds

To support our local community’s COVID response, the Hospital is accommodating a Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) on the South Grounds during 2021 until further notice. The unit is set up in accordance with our current site movement restrictions, COVID protocols and ensure the safety of Pensioners.
Unfortunately, the South Grounds will be closed to the general public, including for dogwalking and general exercise, on days when the MTU is in operation. 

The site MTU is operating on the following dates in May from 0900 - 1500:

  • Monday 10th
  • Thursday 13th
  • Sunday 16th
  • Wednesday 19th
  • Saturday 22nd
  • Tuesday 25th 
  • Friday 28th
  • Sunday 30th 

On days not listed above, the South Grounds at the Royal Hospital Chelsea are still open to the public for exercise purposes and can be accessed by the Bull Ring Gate (from the Embankment),  in accordance with the latest Government regulations (enforceable by law). There will be no access through this route to the Hospital or Ranelagh Gardens, which will remain closed to the general public.

Central Health Physio

Central Health Physio services are closed until further notice..

Tennis Lessons

Please contact Albert for more information on either or 07944 186 743.

Burton Court

The tennis courts are now available for booking by members as per usual via the Burton Court page

Please be reminded that the following Burton Court Rules remain in place:

  • Dog walkers are expected to be scrupulous about picking up their dog’s excrement and placing it into the bins provided, ensuring that the bag containing the excrement is tied up.
  • Family ball games are not permitted in Burton Court, except on the football pitch.
  • Picnics are not permitted in Burton Court.

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View the archive

Ranelagh Gardens & Rotunda
From prehistoric marsh to a college that never opened – uncovering the story of our site

The Royal Hospital dates back to the late 17th century, but the story of the land where it stands has been traced back still further. Research from the Museum of London Archaeology has thrown light on the site’s varied past.

Salisbury Court Gardens - Royal Hospital Chelsea
Royal Hospital's Hidden Show Garden

This year a new garden was successfully installed in Salisbury Court, the private courtyard within the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary.


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