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Banqueting Hall

Look around James I's 'great hall', completed in 1622 as a venue for extravagant entertainment.

Look around James I's 'great hall', completed in 1622 as a venue for extravagant entertainment.

When

  • Open daily
1 hour

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission Buy Banqueting House tickets

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

Illustration of a young girl and a blue and yellow dragon with Kew Pagoda in the background on a wall in an exhibition space
Events Families

Dragons have arrived at Kew Gardens! Discover our new family exhibition next to Kew Palace and go hunting for fiery beasts in the gardens.

30 March - 30 September 2018

Kew Palace

Open daily

The Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace
Events Families

The palace is a flurry of activity ahead of Henry VIII's marriage treaty with Anne of Cleves. But will the King's mood upset weeks of planning?

29 June - 02 September 2018, Thursday- Monday

Hampton Court Palace

11:30, 12:30 and 15:30

Fountain Court, looking west. The courtyard fountain can just be seen through an archway on the left.
Member only Tours and talks

Get an expert’s guide of what there is to see and do at each palace with one of our State Apartment Warders at Hampton Court.

2 August, 1 September, 27 September 2018

Hampton Court Palace

11:00 and 14:00

Browse more history and stories

Shop online for related items

Royal Wedding 2018 official commemorative fine bone china plate

Royal Wedding 2018 official commemorative fine bone china plate

Commemorate the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018 with the official commemorative fine bone china plate. Made in England using traditional fine bone china techniques, unchanged for centuries, this collector's plate has been commissioned exclusively by Buckingham Palace to mark the royal occasion.

£49.00