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Banqueting House

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites Whitehall
Recommended
3 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
Banqueting House exterior (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal Palaces
Banqueting House exterior (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal PalacesA close up of the Whitehall side facade.
Banqueting House entrance (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal Palaces
Bust of Charles I (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal PalacesThe inscription reads: 'His majesty King Charles I passed through this hall and out of a window nearly over this tablet to the scaffold in Whitehall where he was beheaded on 30th January 1649'
Banqueting House interior (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal PalacesThe banqueting hall in Banqueting House
Rubens ceiling (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal Palaces
Rubens ceiling (© Historic Royal Palaces)
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© Historic Royal Palaces

Time Out says

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.

Posted:

Details

Address: Palace of Whitehall
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2ER
Transport: Tube: Westminster/Charing Cross
Price: Admission £6.10; £5.10 reductions; free under-16s
Contact:
Opening hours: Open 10am-5pm daily; phone to check
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Users say (5)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

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LiveReviews|5
1 person listening

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. 

Tastemaker

Once upon a time, there stood a grand palace called the Whitehall Palace constructed in the 16th century and the first real Renaissance building in London. It once hosted some of the most exuberant and decadent parties in Europe and Whitehall was the largest palace in Europe before it was almost destroyed by fire in 1698.  Banqueting House remains the only surviving part of the palace.

As you’d expect, English Heritage has managed to preserve the handsome and lavish interior of Banqueting Hall. It’s stunning with pearly white walls, murals and a stunningly intricate and detailed painted ceiling which regales the story of English history.

Did you know Charles I spent his last few hours inside Banqueting House before being beheaded just outside the palace?

Although there is not much else to see inside Banqueting House beside the throne, there are bean bags dotted around the hall for you to lounge in. It’s actually quite comfy and people watching from near floor-level was somewhat quite fun.

I’m not sure if it’s £5.50 admission fee to see just the one room. If you don’t want to pay, then Banqueting House is open for free to the public as part of the annual Open House event in September. It’s worth seeing, then.


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.

Tastemaker

The visit consists of only a few rooms so don’t expect to spend much time there. But if you have a little time to spare and understand you shouldn’t expect too much, it’s definitely worth a look.


Historically, this building is so important, it’s simply fascinating just to stand there, imagining all that’s has happened inside of these walls. (Take the audio guide, it’s worth it!)


As for the view, it’s magical. The décor is stunning and the painted ceiling is breath-taking – it’s Rubens after all.

Tastemaker

I visited last week after hours as part of a pilot group for their new interactive experience which they should be launching next summer so I don't think all the info/ headsets were available like during the day however it was good to see the banqueting hall which has the most spectacular ceilings. Unfortunately didn't get to learn anything about white hall palace so need to spend some time now googling and I wasn't so excited by the experiences I piloted but some people were very impressed!

It is only two rooms so a small place. I wouldn't pay to visit again and I do agree they need to do something to make it more interactive so hopefully come next summer they will have launched something exciting for visitors! Watch this space...

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