Banqueting Hall

Explore James I's 'great hall', completed in 1622 as a venue for extravagant entertainment

Explore James I's 'great hall', completed in 1622 as a venue for extravagant entertainment

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

The Banqueting Hall was built for the performance of masques and for grand ambassadorial receptions.

William of Orange and his wife Mary Stuart were read the Bill of Rights in February 1689 in this room, before they jointly accepted the crown.

In 1698 the rest of Whitehall Palace burnt down, leaving only the Banqueting House.

A Chapel Royal

The hall was refurnished after the fire as the principal Chapel Royal. The altar was at the north end, and a royal pew was placed opposite at the south end, where the replica throne is today.

Even when the Chapel Royal moved to St James's Palace the hall was used for preaching and public ceremonies. In 1808 the room became a military chapel. Rich velvet swags hung between the pillars and pew boxes ran down the long sides of the hall. Up to 2,000 soldiers took part in a service.

The Museum

In 1895 Queen Victoria granted the building to the Royal United Services Institution to use as a museum. Cases full of military curiosities were crammed into the hall while banners hung from the ceiling.

Vertical shot looking straight up at Rubens' Ceiling at Banqueting House Whitehall, London
Things to see Highlights

Marvel at Sir Peter Paul Rubens' ceiling in its original setting of Inigo Jones' spectacular Banqueting House.

Open daily

Banqueting House

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Arches lit by candlelight in the Undercroft of Banqueting House Whitehall, London
Things to see

Explore the vaulted drinking den beneath the Banqueting House, which was used by James I for decadent royal parties.

Open daily

Banqueting House

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Banqueting House's stone front architecture as it undergoes conservation
Things to see

Find out what remains of Whitehall – known as one of the first examples of Palladianism in British architecture.

Open daily

Banqueting House

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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