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London
The Banqueting House
Whitehall
London SW1A 2ER
TfL Fare Zone 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Banqueting House is situated on the corner of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall opposite Horse Guards. It is the only complete building from the Palace of Whitehall to have survived the disastrous fire of 1698. Its remoteness from the rest of the palace probably saved it from destruction.
 
The First Banqueting House
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Henry VIII acquired the Tudor Palace of Whitehall from Cardinal Wolsey and turned it into the official Royal residence. The first permanent banqueting house had a short life. It was built for King James I but was destroyed by fire in January 1619, when workmen, clearing up after New Year's festivities, decided to incinerate the rubbish inside the building.
 
Today’s Banqueting House
King James immediately commissioned architect, Inigo Jones, to design a new Banqueting House. The building was designed in the new Italianate Renaissance style and was completed in 1622.
 
The building is on three floors. The ground floor or Undercroft is a low area of cellars and store rooms, with small windows. Above, the main hall occupies two storeys with a balcony running around the perimeter at the roof line.
 
Rubens’ Ceiling
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In 1635 Sir Peter Paul Rubens was commissioned to fill the ceiling panels with paintings depicting James I as an allegorical god. The magnificence of this hall has to be seen to be believed. After the ceilings were painted, the building’s purpose changed from being a feasting hall to being a reception area for foreign dignitaries.
 
King Charles I Execution
As a consequence of losing a Civil War, King Charles I was tried for high treason at Westminster. Following his trial he was sentenced to be executed. A scaffold was built in front of the Banqueting House and on 30 January 1649, the king was beheaded. His remains are buried in Windsor Castle.
 
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The Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell moved into the Palace and lived there from 1654 until his death in 1660. Considering Cromwell’s disdain for the trappings of monarchy and his penchant for destroying beautiful things, we are very lucky that the Banqueting House has survived in all its magnificence.
 
Restoration of the Monarchy
After the Restoration of the Monarchy with the accession of King Charles II, the palace returned to being a Royal residence and the Banqueting House once again was used for receiving guests.
 
Opening Hours
Open all year except 24 - 26 December and 1 January.
Always open Monday - Sunday from 10:00 - 13:00 (last admission is half an hour before closing.)
 
- Extended on days with no closures:
Monday - Sunday 10:00 - 17:00 (last admission at 16:30)
 
The Banqueting House can close at short notice so please call to check opening times before your visit. Tel +44 (0)2031 666 154 or Tel +44 (0)2031 666 155. Please note: the last ticket issued is 30 minutes before closing time.
 
Forthcoming Closures
These are advertised on The Banqueting House web site Web:Visiting the Banqueting House
 
Admission Costs & Ticketing
For admission costs and ticketing go to The Banqueting House website Web:Banqueting House Admission & Ticketing
 
Tip:
Historic Royal Palaces Membership
If you are spending a few days in London and would like to visit other Historic Royal Palaces it might be worth considering a Historic Royal Palaces Annual Membership
 
Membership confers substantial savings for visitors to five royal palaces. The five Royal Palaces are: Kensington Palace, The Tower of London, The Banqueting House, Kew Palace and Hampton Court Palace. For details about Membership, go to Web:  Historic Royal Palaces Annual Membership
 
Disabled Access
Wheelchair access Monday - Friday.
For details go to Web:Disabled Access
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)8707 515 178  24 hour Recorded Information line. Information Line 09:00 to 17:00
Telephone   +44 (0)8707 515 187 
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
To find the best way for getting to The Banqueting House, visit TfL Journey Planner.
 
- By Underground
Westminster Station     District, Circle and Jubilee Lines. Turn right out of the station, first right into Whitehall and walk along until you come to the Banqueting House which is approximately half way up on the right hand side.
 
Embankment Station    District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo Lines. From the Embankment Entrance, turn right, cross Northumberland Avenue, turn left into Horse Guards Avenue, walk past the Ministry of Defence and the Banqueting House is approx 100 yards down on the corner of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall.
 
Charing Cross Station   Northern and Bakerloo Lines. Proceed as for 'Mainline Rail' (see below)
 
- By Mainline Rail
Charing Cross Station  Turn left out of the station and continue in a straight line across Northumberland Avenue and across Whitehall Place until you come to The Banqueting House.
 
- By Bus
Bus Routes – 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77A, 88 and 159. We suggest that you use the TfL 'Journey Planner'
 
- By Open Top Tour Bus
Do not forget that Visitors can use their ‘Open Top’ tour bus ticket to travel to 10 Downing Street, Horse Guards, The Banqueting House and the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben precinct.  
 
Google Map - The Banqueting House