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

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

Last update: Thursday 11 August 2022. This page will be updated as and when information or policy changes. Please check back for updates.

The Royal School of Needlework is now operating normally again in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This page is still available for historic information only. Thank you.


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.

For those unable to visit us in person, we teach a variety of Online Day & Evening Classes at different times to suit various time zones; we offer a number of 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  for all Palace visitors. Our Online Shop is open as normal. 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 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 and work as normal. 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.

When 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 continuing health.  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.