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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) 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.

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

Open daily

Tower of London

Exterior of Banqueting House with Whitehall in the foreground under a blue, partially cloudy sky
Highlights Things to see

Walk in the footsteps of the condemned King and stand on the spot of Charles I's execution, just outside Banqueting House.

Open daily

Banqueting House

Highlights Things to see

Experience James I's breathtaking Banqueting Hall, created in 1622 as a venue for extravagant Jacobean entertainments.

Open daily

Banqueting House

1 hour

White Tower luxury embroidered hanging decoration features the iconic White Tower with a silhouetted Tower raven perching at the top of the Tower.

White Tower luxury embroidered hanging decoration

This sparkling silver luxury White Tower hanging decoration is hand embroidered using the same metal thread work techniques used to sew royal dresses and finery in centuries past.

£10.99

Kew Palace luxury embroidered hanging decoration, luxury Christmas ornament depicts the Dutch House of Kew Palace which dates back to 1631

Kew Palace luxury embroidered hanging decoration

This luxury handmade Christmas tree decoration features the design of the front of the Dutch House at Kew Palace on the River Thames in south west London.

£29.99