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Banqueting House

#211 of 1,515 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Whitehall Palace Whitehall | Horse Guards Avenue, London SW1A 2ER, England
Phone Number: +44 844 482 7777
10:00 - 17:00
Open now
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Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00

This revolutionary building, the first in England to be designed in a...

This revolutionary building, the first in England to be designed in a Palladian style by Inigo Jones, was finished in 1622 for James I. Intended for the splendour and exuberance of court masques, the Banqueting House is probably most famous for one real life drama: the execution of Charles I which took place here in 1649 to the ‘dismal, universal groan’ of the crowd. One of Charles’ last sights, as he walked through the Banqueting House to his death, was the magnificent ceiling, painted by Peter Paul Rubens in 1630-4. Banqueting House is the last and only surviving part of Whitehall Palace, once the largest palace in Europe, destroyed by fire in 1698.

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Private Tour: Westminster Abbey and Banqueting House Walking Tour in London
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Private Tour: Sightseeing Walking Tour of London
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 325 reviews
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    Very good
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  • 4
Ruben's painting amazing

This is well worth a visit especially if you enjoy paintings.The ceiling in the Banqueting House are covered with Ruben's paintings. You can see the paintings either by looking at... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
jane b
Poole, United Kingdom
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325 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 266: English reviews
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
571 reviews
138 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

The Banqueting House is all that remains after the fire that destroyed the rest of Whitehall Palace. It is an authentically preserved architectural masterpiece of Inigo Jones, built for James I to hold gala dinner performances. It is also the site of the regicide of James' son, Charles I. The building is classically inspired and maintained by the Historical Royal... More 

Thank CarpeNox
Andover, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
137 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Fantastic, loads of history and a beautiful building, great value if you travel to London by train and claim a 2 for 1 entry, if you visit the free audio guide is a must, it tells the story of the place and the beautiful ceiling.

Thank Peter P
Poole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This is well worth a visit especially if you enjoy paintings.The ceiling in the Banqueting House are covered with Ruben's paintings. You can see the paintings either by looking at a mirror, by lying on bean bags or sat on the benches around the room. You can stay as long as you want. Beware the Banqueting House is used for... More 

Thank jane b
Tumut, New South Wales, Australia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Amazing experience of seeing part of the palace that survived the fire, remained as a building continuing in use today, saw Charles the first leave from it for his execution. The history and art work truly inspiring

Thank Jeannette B
Northumberland National Park, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Good value for money especially as an audio is included in the price which gives plenty of information about the hall. The visit starts in the vaulted undercroft with a short introductory film and then you climb the stairs to the huge banqueting hall with the amazing ceiling paintings. Bean bags are provided which you can lie on so as... More 

Thank GeorgiaYorkshire
Level Contributor
62 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The Banqueting House is all that remains of the Whitehall Royal Palace (circa 1530's) that burned in 1698. The hall, completed in 1622, was used as a venue for extravagant forms of entertainment called "Masques" and for grand ambassadorial receptions. The ceiling is a masterpiece and the only surviving in-situ ceiling painting by Rubens. There are nine large pieces in... More 

Thank SeattleTep
Denham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 October 2016

The Banqueting Hall (once part of Whitehall Palace) is well worth a visit if you are around the Trafalgar Square area of London. Only £5 entry gets you into the main hall with it's spectacular original ceiling paintings by Rubens, amazingly not destroyed by fire or removed. A free audio account of the history is a must to listen to.... More 

1 Thank Jennifer J
Level Contributor
55 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2016

Visited in the middle of the day during the school holidays. It's an amazing place, and I loved the beanbags provided so hat you could look at the beautiful ceiling in comfort. I spent a happy hour there, listening to the audio guide in the quiet of this history filled place.

1 Thank suzibear
Reigate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2016

Not on most people's list of best London sites but it should be. Picturing Charles I walking to his death from the very building he built to project the Divine Right of Kings is very poignant. The audio story (free) is a must.

2 Thank jon180650
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
88 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2016

A visit to this fine House allows the opportunity to see one of the greatest pieces of Art ever executed. Michelangelo's ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican, is legendary but here, in Central London, is a remarkable piece of work that, in my humble opinion, matches the Chapel work. The canvases, on the ceiling, were painted by Rubens... More 

Thank Anthony K

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Nottingham, United Kingdom
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Staying in Westminster

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If you only had an afternoon to experience London on a grand scale, Westminster would be a wise place to start. The ornate Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey sit adjacent at a corner of Parliament Square, and a short stroll along The Mall leads to Buckingham Palace. Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column are just up the road as well. As captivating as the architecture is, the wonders of Mother Nature are highlights of the area too. St James's Park (arguably London's loveliest), the expansive Green Park, and pedestrian friendly tree lined paths along the river showcase the exquisite manicure provided by English gardeners. Just beyond the landmarks and the gorgeous outdoor spaces, quiet residential squares and age old local pubs offer a more subdued take on this global seat of power in the heart of London.
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