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Banqueting House street view.
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Banqueting Hall in Banqueting House.
Banqueting Hall in Banqueting House.

Banqueting House

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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Banqueting Hall is one of the historic Royal Palaces, a royal masterpiece that's home to a phenomenal Rubens ceiling.
  • Explore its feasting hall, the secret drinking den, and even the site where royal execution took place.
  • Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear historic tales of mighty Kings, immersing yourself into this site, kids will learn so much.
  • Be sure to check out the audio tours that the Banqueting Hall runs, offering the whole family fun history to learn while navigating the historic site.


Banqueting House, London, is a wonderful historic site, one of the five Royal Palaces in London, along with Buckingham PalaceHampton CourtKew Palace, the Tower of London and Kensington Palace. It was the first Palladian style building in England to be designed, created by Inigo Jones and finished in 1622 for James I. Most famously, it’s known for the execution of Charles I, which happened in 1649. The Banqueting House has been frequented for parliamentary receptions, ennoblements, and investitures throughout history, all taking place beneath the stunning, eye-catching canvases of Peter Paul Rubens.

At Banqueting House, which was a part of the palace of Whitehall, King James I would frequently host visitors, often inviting people into the ‘Undercroft’, which was his secret drinking den. What else do you think you could discover here? After King James, and following years of civil war, there are the stories of Charles I, who was sentenced to death in the very halls that you will stand in. Rumour has it, on one account, in order to not appear as a coward, Charles I wore two shirts that morning so that he wouldn’t shake and shiver as he approached the scaffold. 

At all the Royal Palaces, families can find engaging, interactive displays that immerse the little ones into the history of the site, and often programmes like Horrible Histories are screened to inform and entertain the whole family. You’ll soak up centuries of gory, important and interesting history whilst having fun. There is a variety of interesting images of James I and Charles I that are among the important collection of art and sculpture that the Banqueting House is home too; see which you can spot.

Don’t miss out on the audio guided tours that the Banqueting House offers. This can be great fun for the whole family, especially if you give the kids little tasks and challenge while on the tour. You could give them drawing tasks, an eye-spy task and so much more, this way they can remember all the information they learn while they are having fun.

Be sure to check out the fantastic learning resources that Banqueting Hall provides for any budding historian. They offer tours and trips for schools too, so you know they are great at teaching kids and ensuring they have fun. 

What to know before you go

  • There are toilets available; the main facilities can be found in the Undercroft, which is situated just off the main entrance hall. Accessible toilets are available, please speak with a staff member as they are not located with the main facilities. The accessible toilet is accessed by going down a short ramp that has no handrail.
  • Breastfeeding is allowed in all areas of the Banqueting House. If you’re looking for more privacy then there is a seating area in the ladies' toilets in the vanity area.
  • Sadly, there are no baby-changing facilities at Banqueting House.
  • Buggies can be used on the ground floor of the Banqueting House and can be left downstairs before ascending the stairs.
  • There is limited access at Banqueting Hall, so for visitors with access needs please contact Banqueting Hall prior to arrange for help and accessibility guidance.
  • Free WiFi is available within the palace.
  • Looking to buy a gift? There is a shop full of gifts and souvenirs that are inspired by this royal venue and it offers lots, from souvenirs and gifts, to fine jewellery.
  • Banqueting House has some of the finest caterers, florists and production specialists all ready to help you out for events, and offer a variety of eateries on site, but please note this is for events only. For a family day out, there are tons of restaurants and cafés nearby, including Pret A Manger, Capeesh, Japanese food and more. 

Getting there

  • Westminster station (Circle, District and Jubilee lines) is approximately a five-minute walk from Banqueting House, and Embankment station (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern lines) is also around a five-minute walk.
  • London Charing Cross station (Northern and Bakerloo lines and National Rail) is about a 10-minute walk.
  • Bus routes 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88 and 159 all call at stops close to the Banqueting House. 
  • If travelling via car, bear in mind that Banqueting House is in the Congestion Charging Zone.
  • There is no on-site parking available, and it is advised and recommended that visitors travel by public transport where possible.
  • There is parking available in the nearby area if coming by car is necessary, although it is limited. The closest car park is Q-park Trafalgar, which is around a six-minute walk away.
  • It is possible to travel via coach too. Metered coach bays are located along the Victoria Embankment, which is just a short walk away from the Banqueting House. Coaches can drop off and also collect groups in Whitehall. Ensure to organise this prior and give 24 hours' notice, and provide the coach registration details and driver name to Banqueting House in order to arrange. 
  • You can also travel by bike. The closest bicycle parking racks to the Banqueting House are situated near the corner of Northumberland Avenue and Embankment Place. Alternatively, you could hire a Santander Cycle; a docking station can be located just outside Whitehall Gardens on Northumberland Avenue.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

Location

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Historic Royal Palaces white crown and castle logo on a black background.

Hosted by

Historic Royal Palaces 

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Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after some of the most extraordinary buildings and palaces, including the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in Northern Ireland. Delve into the deep history of all the palaces and discover the stories of how monarchs and others have shaped society in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

Kids and adults alike can experience history where it happened at these six palaces, which have seen over 1,000 years of history. Whether you are visiting in person or virtually, there is so much to see and do. Discover a series of events for families, including garden trails, family trails, Yeoman Warder tours and spectacular exhibitions. A trip to one of these palaces will leave everyone impressed!

Historic Royal Palaces is self-funded and depend on the support of their visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. They exist to ensure the future of the palaces and their aim is not only to protect both the palaces and the life in them but also to help visitors experience the history firsthand.