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Banqueting House

Stunning regal building originally part of Whitehall Palace, one of the first examples of the principles of Palladianism being applied to an English building. Ceiling paintings by Rubens.


Jones, Inigo



Whitehall SW1A 2ER

Sat/Sun 10am-5pm. Last entry 4.15pm. Max 500 at one time.

Westminster, Embankment

Charing Cross

3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 159

  • Partial disabled
  • Refreshments available
  • Toilets available

BANQUETING HOUSE Inigo Jones_ masterpiece of classical architectureManaged by Historic Royal Palaces, this remarkable structure marks the beginning of a revolution in British architecture. It is one of the first examples of the principles of Palladianism being applied to an English building. It is the last surviving building from Whitehall Palace which burnt to the ground in 1698. It was designed by Inigo Jones for James I, and work finished in 1622. Inigo Jones had travelled to Italy, had seen the buildings of the ancient world, and decided to recreate something of their effect in rainy London. This was supposed to look like a piece of ancient Rome transposed to Whitehall, and the effect was extraordinary. The building was intended for Court masques, State receptions and entertainments. But when Charles I commissioned Sir Peter Paul Rubens to paint nine ceiling paintings to commemorate his father, James I, concerns about smoke damage from candles during evening occasions meant the parties were held elsewhere from 1637.ÿ Envisioned 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. This took place here in 1649 to the _dismal, universal groan_ of the crowd. Paradoxically, one of Charles_s last sights as he walked through the Banqueting House to his death was the magnificent ceiling celebrating his father_s rise into Heaven.The exterior of Banqueting House is currently (2015) under repair & conservation (hence the scaffold wrap).Craft skills of masons, lead-workers and others are repairing, cleaning and redecorating the complex structure. This will be finished by March 2016. This is only the start of the Banqueting House Project to reveal the history and stories of this building and the wider Lost Palace of Whitehall. The next stage (2018-20) will be to prepare the interior conservation work, including the Rubens ceiling conservation and revealing the intriguing stories of the Lost Palace of Whitehall. Historic Royal Palaces_ conservation ethos is to ensure repairs protect the patina of age and respect contributions from the past. Where possible we use reversible techniques and cause the minimum amount of disturbance to the historic fabric. This is a Grade 1 Listed Building.You can find out more about the history of Banqueting House in our guidebook which is available in our shop. Banqueting House is open to the public throughout the year so please do come back and visit us again. Admission costs apply. Please check our website or call us for more information about opening times and entrance costs.www.hrp.org.uk/BanquetingHouseTelephone: 0844 482 7777