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Banqueting House

#201 of 1,589 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Whitehall Palace | Horse Guards Avenue, London SW1A 2ER, England
Phone Number:
+44 844 482 7777
10:00 - 17:00
Open now
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Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00

This revolutionary building, the first in England to be designed in a...

This revolutionary building, the first in England to be designed in a Palladian style by Inigo Jones, was finished in 1622 for James I. Intended for the splendour and exuberance of court masques, the Banqueting House is probably most famous for one real life drama: the execution of Charles I which took place here in 1649 to the ‘dismal, universal groan’ of the crowd. One of Charles’ last sights, as he walked through the Banqueting House to his death, was the magnificent ceiling, painted by Peter Paul Rubens in 1630-4. Banqueting House is the last and only surviving part of Whitehall Palace, once the largest palace in Europe, destroyed by fire in 1698.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 356 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 124
  • 110
    Very good
  • 38
  • 12
  • 4
Visit 'executed' very quickly

We visited this little gem thinking we would be there for a long time but to our surprise we came out after spending only 20/30 mins inside. That said it was worth it to see the... read more

Reviewed 10 March 2017
London, United Kingdom
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356 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 288: English reviews
Hamilton, NJ
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

The only surviving in-situ painting by Rubens can be viewed here. Large bean-bag chairs are available to make viewing easier as well as mirror tables. Staff are very helpful.

Thank EvelynHamilton_NJ
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
601 reviews
361 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Leaders who think that they are all powerful and don’t need to connect with their citizens should remember the fate of King Charles I who was executed in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall at around 2pm on Tuesday, 30 January 1649. The Banqueting House, the only building remaining from Whitehall Palace which was destroyed in a fire in... More 

Thank Ian C
Level Contributor
61 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I read some other person's review with wry amusement. "Some paintings", refers to Rubens' magnificent ceiling. This remaining element of what was once the largest Palace in Europe is steeped in Royal and Commonwealth history. The focal point must be the ceiling panels, the beanbags and mirrors highlight this. The video presentation in the undercroft is also worthwhile. Please don't... More 

Thank James M
Buckinghamshire, England
Level Contributor
60 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Beautifully proportioned building with stunning ceiling. Start with viewing the 10-15 min introductory video before visiting the Hall. Very small shop. Not alot of time needs to be spent here.Tickets can be booked and bought in advance. Lots of interesting places to visit nearby.

Thank Jasmine2
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 March 2017 via mobile

Visited as part of day out in London. The ceiling is amazing and probably one of the overlooked masterpieces in London. The bean bags are a nice touch and allow you get a good vantage point while listening to the commentary. Visit and enjoy Peter Paul Reuben masterpiece.

Thank Agnes W
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2017

We visited this little gem thinking we would be there for a long time but to our surprise we came out after spending only 20/30 mins inside. That said it was worth it to see the spectacular banqueting hall and the 'Rubens' picture ceiling. There are two areas to visit, the hall and the basement area where you can watch... More 

Thank RamboRoger
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2017 via mobile

The fact that Charles 1st was beheaded outside alone makes it worth a visit but it is more than that a glimpse of the old palace of Whitehall with its amazing ceiling. Not much to pay not long to visit and bang in the heart of London, you will go passed it and be curious so just go inside and... More 

Thank adrian1453
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
192 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2017

We visited in Feb 17 after the restoration of the ceiling. We used the Days out in London 2 for 1 offer through our rail company and this made the visit good value. It included audio guides which brought it to life. There is however, only the 1 room to see and this is really all about the ceiling. Ive... More 

Thank Sarah O
Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
105 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2017

We visited this building and found it of great interest and history, we were greeted by friendly staff, explained clearly what to do and shown were to go. You must first watch the short 10 minute video on the TV provided to understand what the history of the building is all about, then we went upstairs to view the great... More 

Thank Kevin M
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
159 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2017

I was very keen to visit, as I really wanted to see the surviving part of the Palace of Westminster. We received a frosty welcome from the gentleman selling the tickets; not sure why. The film at the beginning was useful, and the hall itself was very lovely: beautiful proportions and very elegant. The ceiling was ornate and pleasant to... More 

Thank YallournGirl

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Staying in Westminster

Neighbourhood Profile
If you only had an afternoon to experience London on a grand scale, Westminster would be a wise place to start. The ornate Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey sit adjacent at a corner of Parliament Square, and a short stroll along The Mall leads to Buckingham Palace. Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column are just up the road as well. As captivating as the architecture is, the wonders of Mother Nature are highlights of the area too. St James's Park (arguably London's loveliest), the expansive Green Park, and pedestrian friendly tree lined paths along the river showcase the exquisite manicure provided by English gardeners. Just beyond the landmarks and the gorgeous outdoor spaces, quiet residential squares and age old local pubs offer a more subdued take on this global seat of power in the heart of London.
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