Whitehall Palace, Horse Guards Ave., SW1
SW1A 2ER London, England
NileGuide Expert tip:
See the only place in England where an English king lost his head.
The very first Classical building in England (1622), designed by Inigo Jones and decorated by Rubens, the Banqueting House is all that survives above ground of the 2000-room Whitehall Palace which stood here for 170 years until destroyed by fire in 1698. The spectacular ceiling painting is the largest Rubens in the world. The bust of Charles I, above the entrance, marks the position of an old window through which, on 30 January 1649, the king, defeated in the English Civil War, exited onto the execution scaffold that had been specially built outside for the enormous crowd of spectators. The room is still used for banquets but unless you're a visiting head of state you'll have to dine elsewhere!