If we have less than 10 or more than 50 can we still book a tour?

We are unable to book in tours for groups smaller than 10 or bigger than 50. If there is only a small group of you, you would be very welcome to visit us independently of a tour, please see the visiting independently question below. We are not able to add on independent visitors to already established tour groups.

Can we join onto an existing tour?

We are only able to take bookings for private groups of between 10 and 50 people, and are not able to add on independent visitors to make up numbers (Please contact the Heritage Team today by calling 020 7881 5493 or by emailing tours@chelsea-pensioners.org.uk). If you are not affiliated with a group, you are more than welcome to visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea independently.

Can I visit the Royal Hospital without booking a tour?

If a tour is not available on the day you have planned to visit, or if you would simply prefer to have a look round at your own pace, small groups of 10 or fewer can drop in and visit the grounds, as well as access the Chapel, Great Hall, and Museum during normal opening hours (10:00 AM to 16:30). Please note that the Great Hall is closed between 12:00 and 14:00 for the Chelsea Pensioners’ lunch.

What happens if I need to cancel my tour?

Please refer to the cancellation terms in the terms and conditions sent to you upon booking. We are unable to give refunds, but in the case of extenuating circumstances, it may be appropriate for us to rebook the tour for a later date.

Can the tour still go ahead if we’re late?

Tours operate around the schedule of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. If you are going to be late for your tour, please make us aware as soon as you can by calling 020 7881 5493. Depending on how late you are running, the tour my need to be cancelled.

Where should we go if we arrive early?

Tours operate around the daily schedule of the Royal Hospital, which is why they run at set times. If you arrive early for your tour or lunch slot, we have a Visitor Centre on site (located by the Chelsea Gate) where you are able to go if you are early. The Visitor Centre has toilets, a video room – playing an introductory video about the Royal Hospital’s history. There is also a gathering room with tables and chairs, and vending machines for snacks and hot drinks.

How long should we allow to get from the Chelsea Gate to the Café?

Groups who are going to the Café before their tour should allow 15 minutes to get from one side of site to the other. If you are in the Café and have a 13:30 tour, please start making your way to the Chelsea Gate at 13:15.

Which Gate should we go to when we arrive?

All Coaches and Minibuses should arrive to the Chelsea Gate. If you are arriving by public transport, the tour meeting point is also the Chelsea Gate.

If your group is arriving by Public Transport and going to the Café first, arrive at the London Gate as that is where the Café is situated. Please see the visit us page for more details.

Will refreshments be available on site for before and after the tour?

The Coffee Shop (situated in the Royal Hospital at the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary) offers a range of cold and hot beverages, soups, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, and assorted cakes and pastries. Space can be booked for tour groups. Booking must be arranged in advance, but please note that due to capacity constraints, your group may not necessarily be able to sit together. 


Please note that the tour covers internal and external spaces and includes 10 steps to the Great Hall and Chapel, although there are benches located throughout the site should you require to sit down.

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Chelsea Pensioner pictured Dairy UK Chair Paul Vernon, the Governor of the Royal Hospital and the ceremonial cheese
Chelsea Pensioners and Dairy UK take part in the annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses

A festive tradition dating back to the opening of the Royal Hospital in 1692 – today Dairy UK donated over 270kg of British cheeses to the Chelsea Pensioners to tide them over the festive period.

Christmas Pudding
Festivities begin with the stirring of the Christmas Pudding

The Christmas period officially got underway today at the Royal Hospital, as the Chelsea Pensioners took part in the tradition of stirring in the ingredients for the Christmas pudding.


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