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.

Sculpture of a polar bear
Things to see

Discover why exotic animals were kept at the Tower of London and see how they lived in the Royal Menagerie.

Open daily

Tower of London

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.

Until 05 April 2019

Hampton Court Palace

Daily at 11:00 (and 14:00 from 29 Mar - 05 Apr) in Base Court. Duration 30 minutes.

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Sir Walter Raleigh's Study downstairs in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London, showing a desk and walls with projections.
Things to see

Explore the stories of the Princes in the Tower and Sir Walter Raleigh in the infamous Bloody Tower.

Open daily

Tower of London

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