Banqueting House

Banqueting House

The West End

Banqueting House is the sole surviving section of the Tudor Whitehall Palace (1532) that once stretched most of the way down Whitehall before burning to the ground in a 1698 conflagration. Designed by Inigo Jones in 1622 and refaced in Portland stone in the 19th century, Banqueting House was England’s first purely Renaissance building and resembled no other structure in the country at the time. Don't miss The Undercroft cellar.

In a huge, virtually unfurnished hall on the 1st floor there are nine ceiling panels painted by Peter Paul Rubens in 1635. They were commissioned by Charles I and celebrate the 'benefits of wise rule' and the Union of England and Scotland Act (1603).

A bust outside commemorates the date 30 January 1649, when Charles I, accused of treason by Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War, was executed here on a scaffold built against a 1st-floor window. When the monarchy was reinstated with Charles's son crowned as Charles II, it became something of a royalist shrine. Look to the clock tower opposite at Horse Guards Parade – the number 2 (the time of the execution) has a black background.

Tickets are marginally cheaper online, but check the closure schedule online as Banqueting House sometimes closes for functions.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The West End attractions

1. Horse Guards Parade

0.06 MILES

In a more accessible version of Buckingham Palace’s Changing the Guard, the horse-mounted troops of the Household Cavalry swap soldiers here at 11am from…

2. Household Cavalry Museum

0.07 MILES

This small museum looks at the roles and work of the two regiments of the Queen's Household Cavalry, the Life Guard and the Blues & Royals. The tour is by…

3. No 10 Downing Street

0.11 MILES

The official office of British leaders since 1735, when King George II presented No 10 to 'First Lord of the Treasury' Robert Walpole, this has also been…

4. The Cenotaph

0.14 MILES

The Cenotaph, completed in 1920 by Edwin Lutyens and fashioned from Portland stone, is Britain’s most important memorial to the men and women of Britain…

5. Admiralty Citadel

0.17 MILES

The ivy-covered concrete Admiralty Citadel is a heavily fortified, bomb-proof command and control fortress built for the Royal Navy in 1941 to prepare for…

6. New Scotland Yard Building

0.18 MILES

The London Metropolitan Police has moved several times since its founding in 1829 but the latest move – to this renovated neoclassical block with a modern…

7. National Police Memorial

0.18 MILES

In the northeast corner of St James's Park, at the junction of Horse Guards Rd and the Mall, stands this memorial, one column of marble and another of…

8. Benjamin Franklin House

0.22 MILES

This modest house southeast of Trafalgar Sq is where American statesman Benjamin Franklin lived from 1757 to 1775 as he tried to broker peace with Britain…