Coronavirus (COVID-19) — Information for students and visitors

External information: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Government response.

Last update: Thursday 24 February 2022. This page will be updated as and when information or policy changes. Please check back for updates.

Founded in 1872, the Royal School of Needlework is a charity (no. 312774) and our mission is to ensure the future of hand embroidery through teaching, practising and promoting the art and techniques of hand embroidery to the highest standard.

It has been a difficult few years for everyone — personally and for businesses and organisations. As a charity, the Royal School of Needlework is particularly reliant on our customers to help us support our Tutors, students, staff and our future. We thank you for your continued support.

Opportunities to keep you busy with hand embroidery

We know that hand embroidery can be soothing and therapeutic during troubling times, encouraging calm, focused work and inducing a relaxed state of mind.  The motion of the needle through the fabric is therapeutic and the sense of accomplishment once you have created a beautiful piece of art can boost mental well-being.

We are teaching a variety of Online Day & Evening Classes at different times to suit various time zones; we offer eight self-paced Online Courses; the Online Shop sells a variety of equipment, kits, books, greetings cards and Gift Vouchers; we host Online Talks based on the RSN Collection by Costume History Specialist and RSN Degree Contextual Studies Lecturer, Amy Hare, and RSN Chief Executive and Curator, Dr Susan Kay-Williams; we organise Bespoke Talks for your group’s Zoom social gatherings, as well as Bespoke Private Classes.

    • RSN Online Shop
      The RSN Shop at Hampton Court Palace is currently open at limited times 12:30-14:00 Wednesday to Friday for all Palace visitors, and also on Mondays and Tuesdays for RSN students only. Our Online Shop is open as normal. Please be aware that shipping your order, especially internationally, may take longer than usual at this time. We have kits in a variety of techniques for beginners through to advanced as well as equipment and supplies which are difficult to source, particularly at this time. RSN Gift Vouchers can be purchased in multiples of £10 which make ideal presents for the embroiderer in your life.
    • RSN Online Day & Evening Classes
      We offer a range of LIVE Online Day & Evening Classes across a variety of techniques for beginners through to advanced which you can join from the comfort of home. These are scheduled at different ‘day’ times (UK, Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand etc.) and some are taught as a series of classes across several weeks, allowing time for progression between each class.
    • RSN International Summer School 2022
      From July 2022, we will teach an Online and Onsite International Summer School (please can you make a note to add links to the relevant pages once they are on the website).  The Onsite Summer School will be taught at Hampton Court Palace, south west London, and the Online Summer School will be taught across three time zones: Australia/New Zealand/SE Asia, the Americas and UK/Europe.  A variety of techniques will be taught over 2 or 3 or 5 days.
    • RSN Self-Paced Video Online Courses, in partnership with David & Charles
      If you would like to try a new technique in your own time, you may wish to try one of our nine Self-Paced Video Online Courses, each course is the equivalent of a three-day class. RSN Tutors guide you through the course, using market-leading online technology with video instruction, and you can interact with other students living on the other side of the world through a private Facebook group, where you can ask questions and share individual progress and pictures.
    • RSN Live Online Talks
      The RSN has been gathering and preserving hand embroidery since its inception in 1872 and our Collection has been at the heart of teaching embroidery as an art form ever since. These exclusive Talks, presented by Dr Susan Kay-Williams, RSN Chief Executive & Curator, and Amy Hare, RSN Degree Senior Contextual Studies Lecturer & Costume History Specialist, focus on life at the RSN throughout the years, our acclaimed methods of teaching, the embroidery techniques we’re most famous for and, of course, our unique Collection containing over 4,000 textiles donated from all over the world. The one hour Talks, followed by Q&A, are accessible via Zoom.
    • RSN Talks On Demand: Catch up with Live Talks which you have missed or want to watch again.
    • Private Online Lessons & Bespoke Online Talks
      You may decide that you would like to take a Private Lesson to perfect a technique or complete a kit which might be on your own or with your stitch group, to bring you all together through Zoom!  RSN Chief Executive, Dr Susan Kay-Williams, also gives Bespoke Talks and Lectures on RSN history, archives, royal connections etc. Please contact the Education Team for further information: [email protected]
    • RSN Gift Vouchers
      We sell Gift Vouchers which you can offer to your friends and family who are passionate about hand embroidery.  They can be used to purchase items from the RSN Online Shop , against an Online Day & Evening Class or an Online RSN Collection Talk, which will give the recipient something to look forward to!



    RSN Embroidery Studio

    The RSN Embroidery Studio continues to answer enquiries. With all online enquiries, please include photographs and the dimensions of the piece together with any other information you may feel useful and we will get back to you with suggestions of processes and cost. Due to high demand and remote working, it may take us a little longer to respond. Please email: [email protected]. You can also book a customer Studio appointment with the team.

    You can follow the Embroidery Studio on Instagram at rsnembroiderystudio and read stories about exciting previous and current commissions and projects.


    Keep in Touch with the RSN eNews!

    If you do not already receive our regular eNews, do please sign up for them and follow us across our social media platforms, on Facebook, Instagram,  YouTube and Twitter. Now, more than ever, we will be sharing our history, treasures from our Archive Collection, student successes and event news.

    As we become more physically distanced, embroidery will become a way to stay in touch with each other, connecting through a shared passion.  Please do therefore share your embroidery with us through social media as we love to see it by tagging @royalneedlework and take part in the RSN Postcard From Home Challenge, to use your stash, with hashtag #RSNPostcardFromHome.  We also post plenty of our student and Tutor work on our platforms too!

    We wish you the best of health at this time.  The RSN would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support which, as a charity, is greatly appreciated.


    RSN Courses Update

    This section outlines the current situation with each RSN course.

    • RSN Day Classes & Tours
      We have postponed all on-site Day Classes and Tours until further notice. For current cancellation, postponement and refund details please see our Day Classes Terms and Conditions page. If you have any queries about the cancellation of a Class or Tour, please contact the Education Team: [email protected]. Online Day & Evening Classes are available as an alternative.
    • RSN Certificate & Diploma in Technical Hand Embroidery
      We have been running on site C&D classes at Hampton Court Palace, Bristol, Rugby, Durham and Glasgow when it has been possible, and subject to Government guidelines. We are continually reviewing the situation, please contact the RSN Education team for updates. We are delivering Online C&D for our continuing students both in the UK and overseas and we have launched an Online C&D option for new starters taking their first Jacobean Crewelwork module. Please contact the Education team for further information: [email protected].
    • RSN BA (Hons) Degree and RSN Future Tutors Courses
      Degree and Future Tutor students have blended learning, i.e. learning both onsite and online. If you are interested in these courses we hold Virtual Open Days – see respective web pages for date and time.