The Banqueting House is closed to the public for planned conservation work - it will re-open on 20 April 2018.

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.


  • Open dailyThe Banqueting House is currently closed for important conservation work, it will re-open on 19 April 2018.
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

A live interpreter dressed as a Tudor Lady and a Live Interpreter dressed as a Tudor Gentlemen are kneeling on either side of a padlocked chest in the Great Watching Chamber. They are arguing.

Step into the dangerous declining years of Henry’s VIII’s reign. Choose your enemies, choose your friends, but choose wisely.

Daily until 15 April 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Events Families

11:00, 12:45, 14:30

Join Siobhan Clarke at the Banqueting Hall for an exclusive tour of this revolutionary building.

21 (sold out) and 27 July (12pm tour sold out) 2018

Banqueting House

Events Member only

Starting promptly in the Undercroft at 10:30 and 12:00

Chief Yeoman Warder carrying the Tower keys

Member-only access to the traditional locking up of the Tower of London, the Ceremony of the Keys.

15 April (sold out), 20 May (sold out), 17 June (sold out), 15 July 2018 (sold out)

Tower of London

Events Member only

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Inspired by the delft ceramic collection of Queen Mary, this fine bone china tea for one set is perfect for afternoon tea.

Queen Mary delft bone china tea for one

The design of this tea for one set is inspired by the ceramic collection of Queen Mary II, a keen collector of Chinese porcelain and Delftware.