Kew Palace in Kew Gardens - a Royal Domestic Retreat

Visitors exploring Kew Palace

Eight years after the project finished, some members of the original access panel still work with HRP at Hampton Court

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • The condition of a Grade I listed building in a World Heritage Site was improved as a result of the conservation aspects of the project. The project demonstrated a sensitive approach to making a listed building accessible.
  • The heritage was better interpreted and explained through accessible displays, graphics, models and sound.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for people

  • Members of the access panel learnt about the heritage of the palace through tours and discussing improvements with the project team.
  • Visitors learnt about the heritage of the building. The story of the palace was told through interpretive displays, sound-based exhibits and activities in the learning space.
  • Staff involved in the project team developed awareness and skills that will ensure that heritage is better shared with disabled people in the future. New ways of consulting local communities were developed that can be applied at other properties.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for communities

  • More and a wider range of people, in particular disabled people, engaged with the heritage as a result of the project. The palace was opened to the public for the first time since 1996 and some parts had never been accessible to the public previously.
  • The visitor experience was enhanced for people with mobility impairments, who now have equal access to all areas of the palace.

Lessons learnt

A paid, task-focused disability access panel is an effective model for obtaining sound advice. Access panels need to be involved from the beginning of a project for maximum engagement. A clear remit for the panel should be set in advance; in this case, access issues beyond the footprint of the building could not be addressed within the project.

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