This is a great place for a party, and James I thought so too.
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.
Join Siobhan Clarke at the Banqueting Hall for an exclusive tour of this revolutionary building.
09 February - 10 February 2018
Starting promptly in the Undercroft at 10:30 and 12:00
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.
25 November and 21 December 2017. 20 January, 08 February and 10 March 2018
Tours begin at 11:00 and 14:00