Before you travel, please check our upcoming planned closures.

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 Buy Banqueting House tickets

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.

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.

27 September 2018

Hampton Court Palace

11:00 and 14:00

The King's Great Bedchamber, looking north. 

Objects seen include the state bed (1716) carved by Richard Roberts (active 1714-29), "Purchase of the Field of Ephron" wall tapestry attributed to Pieter Coeck van Aelst (1502-50) (on the right of the image), also showing part of the ceiling painting (c1701) by Antonio Verrio (c. 1639-1707).
Things to see

Enjoy the beautiful State Apartments and private rooms of William III and Mary II at Hampton Court Palace as part of your visit.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

The Bloody Tower, looking north towards lattice windows. The windows are set in a white-painted brick alcove.

The Bloody Tower was built by King Henry III (1207-72) and was originally named the Garden Tower.
Things to see

Explore the most infamous prison at the Tower of London and learn about the intriguing stories that inspired its name.

Open daily (closed 03 September to 19 October 2018)

Tower of London