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Banqueting House

#243 of 1,283 things to do in London
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Address: Whitehall Palace | Horse Guards Avenue, London SW1A 2ER , England
Phone Number: 448444827777
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Mon - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 245 reviews
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(Almost) Hidden Beauty

I'm a Londoner but this was the first time I'd been inside. The £6 entrance is great value - well they did pay Mr Rubens £3000 to do the place up. Quiet and beautiful. Charming... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago

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245 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Montgomery, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Very informative audio guide and video at the start, was nice for a change to be able to sit down in their very comfy bean bags and stare up at the ceiling rather than walking around getting cold.

Thank RainbowDash750
Level Contributor
115 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I'm a Londoner but this was the first time I'd been inside. The £6 entrance is great value - well they did pay Mr Rubens £3000 to do the place up. Quiet and beautiful. Charming staff too. We popped across the road for the 11.00 changing of the horse guards too. It's in the 2 for 1.

Thank davidblades
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
186 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This attraction was included with our "Royal Pass", which consisted of the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and Hampton Court. First of all, it is not the easiest site to find. Then once you get in and listen to the audio tour, you find out that this is all that is left of Whitehall Palace. Basically you watch a video... More 

Thank wearymom3
Level Contributor
139 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Really interesting - excellent audio tour and also 20 minute talk on the paintings by very enthusiastic and engaging man (sorry - cant remember his name) - would definitely recommend. Make sure you make use of the bean bags to relax and look up at the paintings.

Thank F B
Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

When we were in London, me and my friends decided to visit the Banqueting Hall where we were given a set of headphones and a phone that told us information of the Banqueting Hall. We watched and introduction video, which gave us a lot of information on it. Next, you go up a flight of stairs and into a room... More 

Thank Madison H
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Last remaining piece of Whitehall Palace. The Banqueting House a great scene of history. The location of the beheading of King Charles I. The ceiling has wonderful paintings which can be viewed on the ample seating supplied.

Thank JessLM85
Grapevine, Texas
Level Contributor
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Make sure to see the 30 minute tour. Rubens are so beautiful, and the story about the removal of the Rubens during the war. After the tour, have a seat or lay down in the bean bag chairs to hear more information on Charles I.

Thank Titus360
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

to anyone not interested in history this site may seem disappointing. However, this was where Charles I was executed after the Civil War. The paintings on the roof are magnificent , and it was very relaxing to lie back on the beanbags and listen to the history of the building on the hand held voice recorder ,in context with the... More 

Thank Alison_L507
Croydon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The location is very good in central London, and it is great that this little gem has survived-and escaped the fires that wiped out the rest of the old Whitehall Palace. The paintings are huge and spectacular, and it is probably best to lie on your back on the large cushions to enjoy them. The audio guide is good and... More 

Thank martin p
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
48 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Although this building is small by some standards, the painting requires much time to study the beautiful detail.

Thank ZippyF1

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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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