The Undercroft

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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 since been removed.

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

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)

Things to see

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

Open daily

Banqueting House

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A large four poster bed covered in detailed period fabric, in a bedroom covered in dark green wall decor
Things to see

Explore the beautiful private rooms at Kensington Palace where Mary II once took her meals, relaxed and entertained.

Closed until 31 March 2020

Kensington Palace

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