History at Home

Victorian Recipes

The kitchens of mansion houses like Audley End House, Brodsworth House or Witley Court would have been a hive of activity in Victorian England, as the cook and staff busily prepared the food for their illustrious employers.

Those with a taste for the past can explore the life and times of Mrs Avis Crocombe, head cook at Audley End House in the 1880s, in our new cookery book, or watch her Victorian recipes come to life through our popular YouTube series, The Victorian Way.

You can also discover the reality of life below stairs at a Victorian country house, plan a visit to a site with Victorian history, or simply learn more about Queen Victoria and what proved to be a pioneering period of our past.

The Victorian Way

Watch Victorian recipes brought to life on YouTube

Meet Mrs Avis Crocombe, head cook at Audley End House and Gardens in the 1880s and now - as played by historial interpreter Kathy Hipperson - an international YouTube star.

Now also available as a cookery bookThe Victorian Way video series provides a visceral connection between the past and present of our nation's food tastes.

From cucumber ice cream and Christmas cake, to turkey and pigeon pie, discover what life was like in Victorian England and treat yourself to a delicious taste of the past.

  • The Real Mrs Crocombe

    Discover the history behind the cook with our six-part documentary series, featuring expert insights from Dr Annie Gray and Andrew Hann.

  • Behind the Scenes Interview

    Food historian Dr Annie Gray puts audience questions to Kathy Hipperson, the face behind Mrs Crocombe and her portrayal in our YouTube series.

  • Below Stairs at Audley End

    What were Victorian servants’ lives really like? Discover the stories of the men, women and children who worked at Audley End House in the 1880s.

  • Victorian Cooking at Home

    Join Annie and Kathy at home as they recreate a simple-to-make Victorian recipe from the new cookery book - lemon cheese cakes.

Learn to Cook the Victorian Way

How to Cook the Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe is the definitive guide to the life, times and tastes of YouTube's favourite Victorian cook.

Alongside specially adapted recipes and insights into the culinary world of the Victorians, you'll find beautiful photography, social history, and - for the first time - the full manuscript of Mrs Crocombe's handwritten recipe book. An absolute must-have for fans, foodies and anyone with an appetite for the past!



Join presenter Charles Rowe each week as we bring the history of our sites to life with news, views and expert interviews.

To celebrate the launch of new cookery book, How to Cook the Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe, we met the book’s authors - senior properties historian Andrew Hann and food historian Annie Gray - to discover the story of Audley End’s former head cook and the recipes she left behind.


Places to visit with Victorian history

Seeking a day out in history? We care for 28 Victorian sites

  • Audley End House and Gardens

    Discover the fascinating life of a Victorian servant in our 1880s Service Wing including historic kitchens, a dairy and laundry rooms to see what life would have been like for the servants that worked here.

  • Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

    With so much to see and do, a trip to Belsay is one of the best value family days out in north-east England. Explore the medieval castle, the Grecian inspired Hall and acres of impressive gardens.

  • Brodsworth Hall and Gardens

    Catch a glimpse of Victorian life at this 'conserved as found' country estate. Brodsworth Hall was built and the pleasure gardens laid out in the 1860s as an up-to-date new home for the Thellusson family and their servants.

  • Home of Charles Darwin - Down House

    Down House is a site of outstanding international significance. Here the famous scientist Charles Darwin lived with his family for forty years and worked on his revolutionary theories.

  • Osborne

    Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's family home. Take a glimpse into the private life of the royal family at Osborne House and enjoy the vast estate and gardens.

  • St Mary's Church, Studley Royal

    This magnificent High Victorian Anglican church was designed in the1870s by the flamboyant architect William Burges, and has been called his 'ecclesiastical masterpiece'.

  • Stott Park Bobbin Mill

    In the Lake District in Cumbria, this extensive working mill was begun in 1835 to produce the wooden bobbins vital to the Lancashire spinning and weaving industries.

  • Witley Court and Gardens

    A hundred years ago, Witley Court was one of England's great country houses, hosting many extravagant parties. Today it is a spectacular ruin, the result of a disastrous fire in 1937.

Explore the Victorian Era

The long reign of Queen Victoria was a fascinating period of our history, and saw Britain rise to the height of its international power and status.

The hive of industry brought by the industrial revolution transformed rural life. The publication of Charles Darwin's ideas (written at Down House) shook Victorian religious certainty. Armies of servants worked at great mansion houses like Brodsworth Hall, and a visit to Whitby Abbey inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula.

Queen Victoria’s marriage to the German Prince Albert also introduced many Christmas traditions to Britain. You can learn how to make your own Victorian-style Christmas crafts such as crackers, gilded walnuts, pin-prick cards and paper flowers with our handy video guide.

  • Victorian Makeup Tutorial

    Join Fashion Historian Amber Butchart and Makeup Artist Rebecca Butterworth as we open the doors to the Dressing Room at Osborne and show you how to recreate a Queen Victoria inspired look at home.

  • What Was Life Like? Victorians

    Step back in time to learn what life was like in the kitchen at Audley End House in 1881. Discover who works in the kitchen with Mrs Crocombe the cook, how the food gets to Lord Braybrooke’s table, and where the servants eat.

  • Who was Charles Darwin?

    You know the name, but who exactly was Charles Darwin? Join us on a whistle-stop tour of Darwin’s life and legacy, from his epic voyage across the globe to the home-grown experiments in his back garden at Down House.

  • Kids Rule! guide to Victorians

    In the Kids Rule! guide to the Victorious Victorians, learn all about England’s history, discover more about the historical places in our care, and find loads of fun things to watch, read and do.

More to Explore

  • Blue Plaques Scheme

    Founded in 1866, London’s blue plaques scheme celebrates the links between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked.

  • Victoria and Albert's Birthdays at Osborne

    Presenter Charles Rowe interviews art curator Michael Hunter at Osborne, the royal couple’s beloved former holiday home on the Isle of Wight, to find out how they celebrated their birthdays.


    Our free learning resources are packed with everything you need to give your learners a deep insight into the history of our places. Browse by theme, key stage and region.

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