The Medieval Banquet is an evening of dining and medieval entertainment held underground at St Katherine Docks, near Tower Bridge. You'll get over two hours of singers, contortionists, jugglers and magicians to entertain you while enjoying a four-course meal.
This is an evening of theater and dining and isn't a history lesson and there are no gags about the royalty of the time.,
Where is The Medieval Banquet?
Address: The Medieval Banquet, Ivory House, St Katharine Docks, London E1W 1BP
St Katherine Docks used to house valuable cargoes from across the world and had a reputation for wealth. The Medieval Banquet is held in the Victorian Ivory House built in 1852. This was one of the warehouses designed with extensive vaults to store luxury goods and these vaults are now the restaurant venue. This means the restaurant is divided into smaller seating areas to each side and the entertainment takes place along the central corridor.
Note, it's well worth arriving early and having a walk around St Katherine Docks, as there are some incredible boats moored here, almost next to the Tower of London.
The Medieval Banquet is on Wednesday to Sunday evenings, with an earlier start time on Sundays. Families are encouraged to book on Sundays.
Doors open 30-45 minutes before the entertainment starts, but do arrive promptly, as there is lots to do in that time. At the door, you get given a ticket which notes your seating area and then downstairs you are led to your table. Each section has two long tables so you will be seated with other parties. Get to know your new friends, as you'll be laughing and dancing together later.
Our section was named after the Tower of London and the one opposite was Kensington Palace.
Once you've got your allocated seating you can go to the rails and choose a costume, as dressing up is fun whatever your age. Men have lots of long tabards which are great for any size, and the women's dresses have a lot of stretch so there should be something to suit everyone. There are some children's costumes too. Do note, there is an additional £10 costume hire charge, which you can pay on the evening. If donning a velvet ankle length gown is not for you, there are crowns to buy too, so you can still join in.
Before the main entertainment there are jugs of water on the table, but if you want something else to drink the bar is open.
Seated at the end of the room is King Henry VIII watching over us all from his throne. Don't be shy, as he's quite friendly, and you can go and sit with him and have your photo taken.
Back at your table, a knight comes round to welcome everyone and to show card tricks. He asks about birthdays and special celebrations, so do let him know if you need anything special.
You will get introduced to your server for the evening who openly encourages you to shout "Wench!" when you need her to come over. The staff are a real asset here as everyone is friendly and polite, and set you at ease in the slightly surreal setting.
When the entertainment starts you need to stay in your seat during the performances, but you are welcome to get up while the food is being served. There's entertainment between each of the courses culminating with a sword fight finale.
Instead of clapping you are asked to bang your fists on the table and make a lot of noise to show your appreciation.
The performances include singers and musicians performing songs from the Middle Ages, 'jesters' juggling while upside down and a contortionist twisting her body within a large hoop. Some of the entertainment is a cross between opera and circus skills, and all is of a high standard. Some of the singers will walk between the tables and sit down to join diners.
Food and Drink
There are beer tankards on the table for all the drinks and you can ask for more glasses, if required. Every table has big jugs of water, then jugs of ale and carafes of red and white wine are brought to the table and replenished as often as needed. Children can have apple juice which my daughter liked as it looked as if she was drinking cider.
There's a ceremony about bringing the food as your 'wench' stands in front of the tables with large cauldrons before you banged the table to be served.
The first course is a hearty vegetable soup with thick bread we had to break and share. No spoons are provided. The next course is a pate served with cheese, tomatoes and rocket salad. There are vegetarian options so do book this in advance if you have particular dietary requirements. The main is chicken and roast vegetables; dessert is apple pie, or ice-cream for the children.
It's Not the End
When you've finished your meal and the sword fight has been won your 'wench' will get you all up dancing with them: first circle dancing, followed by a freestyle dance time to pop music.
Anything to Change?
The toilets are spacious, and have a useful area with mirrors to help you check your outfit, but the actual toilets could do with an upgrade. There is also no wifi and limited phone reception. However, these are minor issues in an otherwise great experience.
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