Today as part of my week of solitary wandering (*a tiny violin plays in the distance*), I went to chow down on some much needed Malaysian home comfort food in Rasa Sayang, Chinatown, then decided to take a little visit to Banqueting House. I quite enjoy finding out about the history of the British monarchy and I’ve spent a fair bit of time wandering around a few of the Historic Royal Palaces in London, so unfortunately I was a little bit disappointed in comparison when I visited Banqueting House.
The Banqueting House is on the doorstep of Central London, just opposite Horse Guards Parade; it’s a pretty unassuming building, blending in with all the other stone buildings on Whitehall. When you enter, a video in the Undercroft tells you about how the building was built by James I for entertaining and gambling and half a century later, Charles I is famously executed on the pavement outside Banqueting House.
After the video, you can climb the stairs to enter the Banqueting Hall, which is the impressive feature of this site. It’s a large airy room, where you can lie down on bean bags and look at the famous painted ceiling by Sir Peter Paul Rubens from the 17th Century. Although the architecture and design of the hall is quite spectacular, the visit was quite bland in comparison to my other visits to palaces. There was no added information or interactive features. It was just a large, albeit grand, hall with some bean bags.
I guess if you’re interested in architecture and art, it’s worth taking a look at the Banqueting House, but at £6 for admission, I couldn’t help but feel that my trip out of the house was only made worthwhile by the Malaysian food, rather than the Banqueting Hall.
Have any of you been to Banqueting Hall before?