The Undercroft

This is a great place for a party, and James I thought so too.

This is a great place for a party, and James I thought so too.

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Designed as a drinking den

The vaulted Undercroft of the Banqueting House was designed as a drinking den for James I and his friends. At one end there was a 'grotto' decorated with shells which has now disappeared.

After James I's death, the Undercroft began to be used for holding lotteries. John Evelyn describes one gambling session in 1664, at which 'the King, Queen-Consort and Queen Mother' won only 'a trifle' – as he did himself.

On view in the undercroft is a short introductory film about the history of the Banqueting House. There is also a display on Masques, which includes models of Inigo Jones's set designs.

Ben Jonson's ode to the Undercroft cellar

Poet Ben Jonson wrote this dedication for the Banqueting House's Undercroft as a drinking den in 1623:

Since Bacchus, thou art father
Of wines, to thee the rather
We dedicate this Cellar
Where now, thou art made Dweller

Hire the Undercroft

If you are interested in having an event at Banqueting House, James I's 'drinking den' makes an imaginative party space. Please contact our Events team to discuss booking a venue.

The Great Hall, looking east.
The hall was constructed by King Henry VIII to replace a smaller and older hall on the same site. It had two functions. First to provide a great communal dining room where 600 members of the court could eat in two sittings, twice a day. And secondly, to provide a magnificent entrance to the state apartments that lay beyond.
Highlights Things to see

Experience the splendour of the Tudor court in Henry VIII's Great Hall, complete with his magnificent tapestries.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Costumed guide tour by Henry VIII in Base Court
Tours and talks

Take an introductory tour with one of our costumed guides through the courtyards of Hampton Court Palace.

07 January - 31 March 2019 (excluding 16-24 February)

Hampton Court Palace

Daily at 11:00 in Base Court. Duration 30 mins.

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Throne Room with silk green damask walls, wooden floor and large rug. Two red and gold Chairs of State, or 'thrones' are situated at the far end of the room. Gold-framed paintings of landscapes adorn the walls and three large chandeliers hang above.
Things to see Tours and talks

Discover elegant State Rooms still used by the royal family on a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle.

Wednesday to Sunday

Hillsborough Castle

One tour per hour, starting on the hour (first tour: 10:00, final tour: 15:00)

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Packed with fascinating history and colour photographs, ‘Discover the Banqueting House’ is the essential guide to your visit.

Official Banqueting House guidebook

Packed with fascinating history and colour photographs, ‘Discover the Banqueting House’ is the essential guide to your visit.

£4.99

Royal coat of arms tapestry cushion

Royal coat of arms tapestry cushion

This tapestry cushion depicts the Royal coat of arms which is the official coat of arms of the British monarch.

£50.00

Royal Beasts Lion tree decoration beautifully handmade using metal and silk threads on a satin background

Royal Beasts Lion tree decoration

The Lion is a common heraldic symbol that signifies bravery, valour, strength, and royalty and traditionally is regarded as the king of beasts.

£14.99