This handsome Italianate mansion, which was designed by Inigo Jones and constructed in 1620, was the first true Renaissance building in London. The sole surviving part of the Tudor and Stuart kings' Whitehall Palace, the Banqueting House features a lavish painted ceiling by Rubens, glorifying James I, 'the wisest fool in Christendom'. Regrettably, James's successor, Charles I, did not rule so wisely. After losing the English Civil War to Cromwell's Roundheads, he was executed in front of Banqueting House in 1649; the event is marked each January.
'Charles I's Execution' is a permanent display telling the story of the demise of Charles I who, on January 30 1649, spent his final few hours inside Whitehall Palace before walking across the Banqueting Hall and out of a window on to the scaffold. The display outlines the story of the events leading up to his execution through a series of banners which visitors read as they climb the stairs to the main Banqueting Hall. There's also a short film that illustrates Charles's final few hours, when he burned his private papers, bid farewell to his youngest children and said his prayers, displayed beneath the full length portrait of Charles by Daniel Mytens.
|Venue name:||Banqueting House|
Palace of Whitehall
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-5pm, last admission 4.15pm (on occasion closes at 1pm for private functions; check opening times before your visit: 0844 482 7777)|
|Transport:||Tube: Westminster/Charing Cross|
|Price:||£12, £6 child|
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Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
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I bought tickets online for a specific date for £4.50. When I arrived, the house was closed and the staff at the door simply told me to get in touch online. Visitor Services told me they'd be glad to issue a refund and referred me to their website where "all closures are advertised" (not the one on the day I visited, though, as I was able to buy tickets). My second e-mail was ignored, however, and I haven't heard from them since. Not going again.
I was lucky to do a guided tour of this building which really gave me context & an appreciation of it's significance. The only surviving building of the Tudor Whitehall Palace & the site of King Charles I execution it is historically unique & an important part of Great Britain's evolution. The beautiful ceiling painting by Rubens is it's biggest draw & the bean bags & mirrors really facilitate enjoying this masterpiece. There's not much to see- essentially it's predominantly one room but it is certainly worth checking out.
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