March 18, 2016
We love all our events venues. From the Ritz to the Natural History Museum, we feel that whatever your needs, there is the perfect London events venue for everyone. If you want an amazing view of the London skyline to accompany your entertainment, you might wish to explore the Sky Garden. If science is more your thing then the clue is right there in the name of another venue – the Science Museum! In amongst all these, we also love the venues that fall under the Historical Royal Palaces banner – Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Banqueting House.
The latter of the three venues is what we’ll be focusing on today because so many tourists are unfortunately arriving in London and unable to visit Banqueting House because it is currently being refurbished. Since December 21st last year until 1st April 2016 – we hope this isn’t an April fool! – the fabulous venue is off limits to anybody and everybody!
Okay, that’s not quite true. If you work there, you’re obviously allowed access. If you’re helping with the refurbishments then again, you’re allowed access. And if you’re an events supplier? Then maybe you’ll get an invite to see what they’re doing as well. Yes, we were lucky enough to be invited to tour the wonderful historic venue, complete with scaffolding on the inside(!), and were able to check out the stunning Rubens ceiling up close! For record, here is what it normally looks like:
And here is how close we got:
Yes, that really is a Rubens masterpiece right above their heads! Banqueting House is a wonderful venue for events (and one in which we’re proud to say we helped contribute to a marvellous showcase last year), but the problem with old buildings is that, well, sometimes they need a little bit of TLC to keep them going long into the future.
Currently under repair, Banqueting House is undergoing extensive work with tradesmen cleaning and conserving the masonry, repairing the lead roof and rainwater good and re-servicing and redecorating as required. When we visited, they were also working on the interior, repairing the sash windows. As any visitor knows, they are extremely high up, which has the added benefit of allowing visitors to really get up close to inspect a Rubens masterpiece, the only surviving in-situ painting by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (to give him his fill name) and also, if macabre facts are your thing, one of the last things King Charles I ever saw before he lost his head; he was executed on a scaffold outside in 1649.
We cannot wait for Historical Royal Palaces’ Banqueting House to reopen soon and our greatest thanks must go to the team for inviting us along. Until then, feel free to enjoy the photos of our visit. Alas, we only had a phone!
For more information on Banqueting House or any of the Historical Royal Palace, please click here.
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By Henry Fosdike