Please check our forthcoming afternoon closures before you visit. For more info

When

  • Open daily
1 hour

Ticketing info

Included in palace admission

A great hall for a party

The hall was built for the performance of ‘Masques’ and for grand ambassadorial receptions.

Masques were a sophisticated blend of poetry, propaganda, music, dance and outlandish costume, and the King and Queen sometimes took part. At the end of the performance it became a strange tradition for the audience to upset the table laid out with food and drink.

The room was where William of Orange and his wife Mary Stuart were read the Bill of Rights in February 1689, before jointly accepting the crown. In 1698 the rest of Whitehall palace burnt down but the Banqueting House survived.

Chapel Royal

The hall was fitted up after the fire as the principal Chapel Royal. The altar was at the north end, and a royal pew was placed opposite at the south end, where the replica throne is today.

Even when the Chapel Royal moved to St James's Palace the place was used for preaching and public ceremonies. In 1808 the room became a military chapel. Rich velvet swags hung between the pillars and pew boxes ran down the long sides of the hall. Up to 2000 soldiers took part in a service.

The Museum

In 1895 Queen Victoria granted the building to the Royal United Services Institution to use as a museum. Showcases full of military curiosities were crammed into the hall while banners hung from the ceiling.

The building is now managed by Historic Royal Palaces as an events venue and a tourist attraction.

Explore what's on

Wilson's Passage, looking south. The walls on either side of the passage are decorated with back vitrified bricks laid in diagonal patterns.

Come along and enjoy a fascinating talk by Nicola Tallis on her newest book, Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester

06 November 2017

Hampton Court Palace

Doors open at 13:45 for a 14:00 start

The stunning gardens of Hampton Court Palace will be the setting for a unique cinematic experience this autumn.

30 October - 01 November 2017

Hampton Court Palace
View of the White Tower exterior

Marvel at the imposing White Tower, a magnificent example of Norman architecture situated right at the heart of the Tower.

Open daily

Tower of London

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