Feast On This - There's More To Banqueting House Than Meets The Eye!

Banqueting House
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Feast your eyes upon the beautiful Banqueting House hidden in Whitehall! The perfect pitstop for any sightseeing trip, kids will be wide-eyed with wonder admiring this ornate royal masterpiece. This magical building was only open to royalty and courtiers back in the 1600s when it was built, but now it’s open for all to explore and completely free for children! There’s a short video and a free audio tour to help kids explore the building’s history and so much more - continue reading to find out our top five things to see and do at Banqueting House!

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1. Marvel at the magnificent ceiling

Kids will be mesmerised by Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ incredible ceiling paintings and royally good architecture, which make great inspiration for a craft activity when you get home! The ceiling was probably commissioned by Charles I in 1629-30 and it was one of the King's last sights before his execution - that definitely means it’s worth seeing! You won’t believe how great the ceiling has been preserved - don’t forget to bring a camera to snap some pictures!

banqueting house incredible ceiling

2. X marks the execution spot!

This isn’t your typical photo opportunity but at Banqueting House walk in the footsteps of the condemned King Charles I and stand on the spot where he was executed! If your little ones are studying the Tudors at school, a trip to Banqueting House is the perfect way to bring what they are learning to life. Plus, there’s plenty of expert staff around who are more than happy to have their brains picked about anything and everything royal related!

3. Delve into The Undercroft - if you dare

Hidden beneath Banqueting House, lies The Undercroft - originally created as a drinking den for James I and his friends. Included in the price of admission, venture downstairs into The Undercroft; on view in the Undercroft is a short introductory film about the history of the Banqueting House and some engravings of the Banqueting House as it was in earlier centuries, including a depiction of Charles I’s execution - gory!

banqueting hall undercroft secret chamber

4. Get up close and personal with the impressive art and sculpture

Aside from the magnificent ceiling, Banqueting House is also home to some pretty impressive artwork and sculpture. A painting of King Charles I (1600-1649) by Daniel Mytens (1590-1647) hangs above the grand staircase leading into the Banqueting House - see if you can spot Charles I blue stockings! As well as this, a bronze bust of James I is positioned above the door into the Banqueting House - don’t forget to snap a selfie with him!

King Charles bust

5. Explore the revolutionary architecture

Inigo Jones - the designer of Banqueting House - intended for it to look like a piece of ancient Rome transposed to Whitehall and you can clearly see this when you tour it for yourself! Having travelled to Italy and seen the buildings of the ancient world and the Italian Renaissance, Jones wanted to recreate the architecture in our very own, rainy London and the results are truly extraordinary - book tickets from just £7.15 and see for yourself!

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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Ellie Sylvester
Oldest of three

Ellie is a keen Londoner, thespian and foodie! She's the oldest of three and loves taking her younger siblings, aged nine and fourteen, on adventures to the theatre and food markets, trying new foods and dabbling in the world of musical theatre. Some of her favourite spots include Primrose Hill and the Natural History Museum, not to mention the ever-changing Spitalfields Market.