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Food and drink

~ Tudor Times lifestyle focus ~

In Tudor England, there were often food shortages after a bad harvest and this meant that the price of food went up. A third of the population, however, were very poor and could not afford to buy expensive food, so they went hungry, many of them dying of starvation.

The most widely eaten foods in Tudor England were bread and cheese, with beer as the most important drink. The rich people ate good quality bread made from white wheat flour, while the poor people ate bread made from rye and wheat.

Everyone lived off the land and many people kept pigs, sheep, chickens and sometimes a cow. The animals were slaughtered and their meat was smoked, salted or dried so it could be eaten over many months. This was usually done just before the winter set in, around November. Meat was not eaten on Fridays for religious reasons and so fish was eaten instead. There lots of fruits and vegetables available in Tudor England, with beans, peas, carrots, onions, apples, plums, strawberries and cherries being very popular. Potatoes and tomatoes, however were not available at this time.

In the winter months, little more than cold meat was available to eat and many people suffered with scurvy which is caused by a lack of Vitamin C.

Activity Zone


Design an invitation to a Tudor Banquet. Find out where is the nearest Tudor building to your school or home and think of this as your venue. Think of a suitable occasion for a celebration. Perhaps it is the christening of one of Henry’s children or his marriage to one of his six wives.

Create a menu for the banquet using knowledge of the foods available. Do some further research into the food and drink of the time and see if you can come up with some favourite dishes. Think about the number of courses you are going to offer and lay out your menu accordingly.

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