Banqueting House

Banqueting House
Banqueting House map
Address:
Banqueting House, Whitehall, Westminster SW1A 2ER
Tel:
0203 166 6000
Web:
hrp.org.uk

Opening times and price

Opening hours:
10 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Sun), but it sometimes closes at 1 PM for special events; Last entry 30 mins before closing
Ticket cost:
Adults £7.20; Children free entry (under-16)
Visiting hours and entry charges are subject to change
Time required:
A typical visit to Banqueting House lasts 1 hour (approx)

Getting to Banqueting House

Driving:
Service stations and parking near Banqueting House
Taxis:
Minicab firms close to Banqueting House
Buses:
3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 159 – London bus prices
Trains:
Charing Cross BKL NRN, Embankment BKL CRC DSC NRN, Westminster CRC DSC JUB
The nearest train station to Banqueting House is Westminster
Plan your journey from Earl’s Court, Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo or another London Underground station:
Train journey to Banqueting House
London train tickets · Oyster cards · Travelcard tickets · Contactless cards
Hotels:
Accommodation near Banqueting House
Rubens’ ceiling inside Banqueting House Inside Banqueting House

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s review of Banqueting House  Check out my London blog for a full review, with video

Good for kids? Value for money? Worth a visit?

Banqueting House is No.6 in our list of most historic attractions.

Banqueting House was built by Inigo Jones in the early 17th-century, after a commission from James I. It was said to be truly unique—Britain’s first Renaissance building—and hated by practically everybody for a hundred years.

Inigo Jones, and Rubens’ ceiling

When Charles I came to the throne in 1625 he paid the famous Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens £3,000 to cover the ceiling in homage to his father. With magnificent decorations such as these, Banqueting House quickly became a favourite reception hall for meeting foreign dignitaries.

Unfortunately for Charles, when the English Civil War ended in the mid 17th-century, he was put to death on a scaffold outside the window. Several thousand people gathered in the street below to watch his execution.

Oliver Cromwell then moved in until his death in 1660, but with his demise came the return of the King – Charles II. He marched down Whitehall on the night of 29th May 1660, and took speeches on the very spot where his father met his maker.

A special service is still held yearly to commemorate the King’s execution.

History of Whitehall Palace

The last great event to be held at Banqueting House was after the exile of James II, when William of Orange was offered the English Crown. But when the newly crowned King and Queen chose to live at Kensington Palace instead, the House fell out of favour.

Four years after Queen Mary’s death, a great fire ripped through the building leaving just the Holbein Gates and House intact. Christopher Wren was commissioned to turn it into a private chapel, which it remained until 1890. The Holbein Gate was finally demolished in 1759.

The government reclaimed the building in 1962, and restored it to its former glory. It now serves its original purpose once more – as a reception hall for meeting foreign dignitaries.

 
  • Fish – “It's worth a visit if you've got a special interest in it, but probably wouldn't interest the casual tourist. It's quite small and there's not a great deal to see -- we were in and out in under an hour. But most people only go to see one thing anyway -- the magnificent ceiling painted by rubens. This is defintely worth looking at, it is stunning. And the audio commentry does quite a good job of relaying the history of the place.”

> Talk about this attraction

> Craig’s review of Banqueting House – “I have a theory that you can gauge the age of a person solely by the kind of artwork they like. It's a bit like counting the rings on a tree trunk. When you're a kid you like cartoons and comics, and when you're a teenager (or a hoodlum) you enjoy ankle tattoos and spray painting your name on the side of someone's house. When you reach university it's all about modern… continued”

If you enjoy this then try: Guildhall (catch the tube from Westminster to Guildhall); Mansion House (catch the tube from Westminster to Mansion House); Old Royal Naval College (catch the tube from Westminster to Old Royal Naval College) and Whitehall (you can walk there in less than 1 min).

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