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“This is about art and history - very little to do with banqueting or food”
Review of Banqueting House

Banqueting House
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$148.10*
and up
Private Tour: Westminster Abbey and Banqueting House Walking Tour in London
Ranked #200 of 1,633 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: 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.
Uckfield, UK
Level Contributor
414 reviews
201 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
“This is about art and history - very little to do with banqueting or food”
Reviewed October 4, 2012

I visited with a friend, only because it was part of a "Royal palace pass" that I had won in a raffle. Otherwise, I would not have gone - as I had never heard of it! The title 'Banqeting House' feels a bit deceptive. As a freebie, it was worth going. But there is surprisingly little to see, other than an empty hall, with impressive pillars and very impressive ceiling paintings by Rubens.
We watched the introductory video. In hindsight, we would not have bothered, as everything was repeated in the audio guide, which we found much easier to follow.
Not worth a solo visit, unless you are an art and/or history enthusiast. We really enjoyed the walk around Whitehall and nearby Westminster.
It seems that the marketing people here are trying to raise the profile of the place and to make it a more attractive place to visit (we were stopped by a lady from marketing on our way out, who asked us for our opinions and ideas).

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
89 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Beautiful ceiling but that's about it”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

If you are passing by and have a few minutes, then yeah I would stop. But I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to see this......like I did.

You watch a shoort movie regarding the history of the building and then an audio tour of the room. that's about it. If you are a history buff of Charles I & II then you should definetly stop and see this building.

Visited August 2012
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Thank charlie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
71 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A feast for the eyes”
Reviewed September 17, 2012

James I instructed Inigo Jones to build a new banqueting hall to replace one that had been burned down, drawing on his experience and what he had learned on a tour of Italy, Jones built a huge new hall which James's son Charles I had adorned with 9 ceiling paintings by Rubens. Charles Last sight of these may have been on the morning he stepped out of the building onto a scaffold on Whitehall to be executed.....
Although the hall has been partly remodelled it remains a superb example of the work of the two masters who contributed most to its creation. The tour begins with a an informative video in the basement then visitors are given an audio handset to help understand the details of the hall. Staff were friendly and courteous and there is a small shop for souvenirs...... £5 adult entrance.

Visited September 2012
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Thank Gerardat91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Micanopy, Florida
Level Contributor
30 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Very nice ceiling but”
Reviewed July 25, 2012

The rest is lacking. I enjoyed my visit but let's face it; it wasn't worth the price of the entrance. The commentary on the headset is extensive but the only thing to look at here is the ceiling and you can only spend so long looking up while listening to your headset. Go if you get a deal but don't expect it to take too long. I do admit though, it would be a great place for a wedding.

Visited July 2012
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1 Thank merryld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
512 reviews
184 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 315 helpful votes
“Small and quick to visit, but worth it for history or art lovers”
Reviewed June 24, 2012

This is all that is left of the complex of Whitehall Palace. A banqueting room built for that purpose by James I on Whitehall. It is basically just two main rooms, an arched undercroft (with a nice introductory movie) where King James used to hang out with his drinking buddies, and the banqueting room above this. The banqueting room has a beautiful and famous ceiling painted by Peter Paul Rubens, a throne, and it is from here that King Charles I (son of James I) stepped out of a window onto a scaffold on a chilly January day in 1649 to have his head removed with an axe. It will take very little time to visit and to be fair this is reflected in the entrance fee.

Visited January 2012
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Thank Nimitta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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