The Painted Hall (reopening in 2019)



The Painted Hall, created between 1708–27 by Sir James Thornhill, is often described as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the UK’.

In 2013 the Old Royal Naval College completed the first phase of planned conservation works in The Painted Hall, which saw 560 square meters of paintings in the Upper Hall cleaned and restored to dramatic effect.

The Old Royal Naval College is now embarking on the next stage of its ambitious plans to restore The Painted Hall to its former glory. Over the next three years we plan to conserve the remaining 3,700 square meters of Thornhill’s masterpiece.

The Painted Hall is currently closed as we prepare for an ambitious conservation project. From next spring visitors will have the opportunity to get up close to the vast lower hall ceiling via a special observation deck.
The space will then be available for weddings from January 2019.

During the conservation period our Admiral’s House and Queen Mary Undercroft are still available for hire.

For more information on the conservation of the Painted Hall or to help us make a difference visit us here 




Your wedding day is a one-of-a-kind experience that deserves a venue like no other. The moment you enter the Painted Hall, you will know that you have found such a venue. Exquisite paintings by Sir James Thornhill soar to the lofty ceiling of a room that always inspires awe and wonder. Here in the “finest dining hall in Europe”, your wedding breakfast will feel warm and intimate, even in the midst of such grandeur.

Beyond the hall itself, there is a wealth of venue treasures to discover. The majestic vaulted Undercrofts that sit beneath the Painted Hall can be hired separately or in combination with the hall. These settings showcase a different side of the Old Royal Naval College, a unique ambience, no less impressive.The Victorian Skittle Alley is a remarkable period setting which you can hire in conjunction with the Queen Mary Undercroft, giving your guests a chance to try their hand at skittles, 19th century style! It also works perfectly as a calm space for any guest that wants a moment away from all the excitement.

Picture your perfect day

Your guests will arrive via the beautiful Westgate entrance, just moments away from the Painted Hall. Alternatively, why not make your entrance as dramatic as your venue and arrive by boat? Amidst the majesty of the Painted Hall, the bride will make her way down the aisle, with all eyes on her, the centrepiece of Sir James Thornhill’s masterwork. Here a beautiful civil ceremony is conducted, lasting for around half an hour and leaving barely a dry eye in the hall!


Once you have said your “I do”s, guests are invited to take advantage of warm weather, with an al fresco drinks reception on the King William Colonnades. During the cooler months, guests will be welcomed to the Queen Mary Undercroft for their pre-dinner drinks. This is a wonderful opportunity to take photographs capturing the enchanting backdrops offered by the grounds at the Old Royal Naval College.Before long, guests will be called to dinner.On returning to the Painted Hall, you will find it transformed for your wedding breakfast and speeches. Here in the “finest dining hall in Europe”, your celebration will feel warm and intimate, even in such grand surroundings.

As the mood changes, your guests will appreciate a change in scenery, as they discover more of the Old Royal Naval College’s elegant spaces. Take to the Queen Mary Undercroft to cut the cake and dance the night away in atmospheric surroundings.Hire the Queen Mary and your guests can even try their hand at skittles in our refurbished Victorian Skittle Alley!



Need to know:

  • The Painted Hall is open to the public from 10am, therefore weddings can take place from 4.30pm onwards, but no earlier.
  • Ampersand is the contracted cater onsite at the Old Royal Naval College and dry hire is not available.
  • Please see our suppliers’ page for information regarding Asian Catering.
  • We offer weddings as a package, to include a wedding breakfast and drinks reception. We regret it is not possible to hire the Painted Hall on a “ceremony-only” basis.
  • We ask for a minimum of 80 guests for a Painted Hall wedding. Should your wedding party be smaller than this, we suggest you choose the equally charming but more diminutive Admiral’s House.
  • Due to the historical nature of the Painted Hall and the Old Royal Naval College as a whole, we cannot allow any candles, naked flames or confetti.
Painted Hall
  • 400 Standing
  • 400 Dinner
  • 300 Civil Ceremony
Queen Mary Undercroft
  • 290 Standing
  • 180 Dinner


For prices and more information please contact our sales team on 0208 269 2131


Virtual Tour

Painted Hall