The summer home of King George III, Kew Palace is the oldest building within the Gardens.
Kew Palace was constructed in 1631 for a Flemish merchant Samuel Fortrey. A lovers knot with the initials S and C are carved over the front door of the house representing his initials and that of his wife, Catherine de Latfeur.
About 100 years later, it was leased by Queen Caroline and subsequently bought by George III. He and his wife, Queen Charlotte, spent happy summers at Kew Palace with their 15 children and it was an important refuge during his infamous episodes of ‘madness’. After Queen Charlotte died in 1818, Kew Palace was closed up.
It was acquired by Kew in 1898 and opened to the public for the first time. Today it is in the trust of Historic Royal Palaces.
The Royal Kitchens are next to the Palace, preserved from the time of Queen Charlotte's death in 1818.
The great kitchen and the preparation rooms give an insight into the servants who worked in them and Georgian culinary life.
To discover Kew's Ice House, which was used to store foods for King George III and his family, head towards the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
In the 18th century, ice houses were built in the grounds of most large households, where snow and ice were stored during winter to use during summer.
In keeping with the ice theme, the Winter Garden now surrounds it.