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

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.


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

Ticketing info

Included in palace admission

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

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

Explore what's on

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

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).

The State Apartments and private rooms of William III and Mary II at Hampton Court.

Open daily

Hampton Court Palace

Things to see


Fountain Court, looking west. The courtyard fountain can just be seen through an archway on the left.

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.

12 April, 12 May, 7 June, 14 June 2018

Hampton Court Palace

Member only Tours and talks

Tours begin at 11:00 and 14:00

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