PIN The Royal Hospital Chelsea

A Kings Road Institution

Sir Christopher Wren designed and built the Royal Hospital Chelsea over 300 years ago during the reign of King Charles II. The King had a vision for a home for veteran soldiers for whom the state had, previously, made no specific provision and the church provided care for the poor and sick. However, most of this provision ended following the falling out with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII.

In 1681, King Charles II issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to look after those 'broken by age or war'. He commissioned Wren to design and erect the building and Sir Stephen Fox was ordered to secure the funds necessary to progress the build. The site, close to the River Thames in the rural setting of Chelsea contained the uncompleted building of the former 'Chelsey College'. In 1692 work was completed and the first Chelsea Pensioners marched in in February.

Today the buildings are the home to many Chelsea Pensioners, ordinary soldiers who have served their country and who are now in later years. There may not be any truth in the saying that ‘old soldiers never die’ but here in Chelsea, they are given a warm welcome and a comfortable home.

TripTide Thoughts

A wonderful institution coursing with history

Opening Hours

General site access: 10.00-17.00 daily
Great Hall: 10:00 - 16:00 daily (Please note that the Great Hall is closed between 12.00 and 14.00 for the Chelsea Pensioners' lunch)
Wren Chapel: 10:00 - 16:00 Mon to Sat (See our Sunday and special Chapel Services for other times)
The Coffee Shop: 10:00 - 16:30 daily
The Gift Shop and Post Office: 10:00 - 17:00 - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 10:00 - 16:00 - Wednesday (Closed for lunch daily at 12:30 - 13:30). See our Christmas Opening hours here.
Museum: 10:00 - 16:00 Monday to Friday only (Closed from Sunday 22nd December and reopens 6th January 2020)


  • Museum
  • , South West
  • , The Beautiful South-West


Lucy is a TripTide stalwart and has been with the company since inception. She is a font of knowledge of all things in our metropolis but she has a special penchant for London's historical past. She says:"London is a multi-layered confection of hi...


Royal Hospital Chelsea , Royal Hospital Road, , London. , SW3 4SR (View on Google Maps)
Famous Old Soldiers Home

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