London Event Venues Guide 2019
London consistently ranks as one of the best cities in the world to visit.
Its impressive range of venues makes it the perfect backdrop for business events of all types and sizes, be it a board meeting for 10, team-building for 50 or a conference for 10,000 delegates.
From the famed West End to trendy Shoreditch in the east, and up and coming areas such as Kings Cross and Southwark, there are a wealth of different neighbourhoods each offering their own unique vibe.
The capital’s expertise in key industry sectors, from finance – there are 143,000 people employed in the city’s banking sector – to the fast-growing and thriving tech sector, home to 46,000 enterprises, makes it an ideal location for brands in those industries to host events, and also means there’s a wealth of knowledge to tap into.
From an accessibility perspective, London is one of the best-connected cities globally, with six airports providing direct flights to over 400 destinations, as well as great rail connections to the rest of the country and across the channel to mainland Europe.
Travel within the city will also improve once the new Elizabeth Line opens. Despite ongoing delays, there is no doubt that the Elizabeth line will provide easier, quicker and more direct travel opportunities throughout the capital. Delegates travelling from Heathrow will be able to get to London’s West End in 28 minutes, the City of London in 34 minutes and ExCeL London and The O2 in 44 minutes.
London Big Stats
- 1,600+ hotels, offering more than 146,000 rooms
- 1,700 future hotels in the pipeline
- 1000+ Diverse venues
- 857 art galleries & museums
- 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- 19,000 restaurants and eateries
[Source: London & Partners]
From underground vaults to rooftop terraces, royal palaces to trendy galleries, and historic landmarks to purpose-built conference centres, the capital is bursting with unique spaces for corporate events with new venues popping up all the time.
At First Event, we have delivered all manner of events in London, from meetings and conferences, to team building and celebratory events, and here we share a selection of our favourite London event venues, along with some of the hottest new openings across the city.
If you'd like to host your own London event, you can use our free venue finding service for impressive worldwide venues.
New hotels on the block
We couldn’t write a London venue guide without a focus on all the exciting new hotel developments taking place. There has been an unprecedented number of new properties opening their doors over the past couple of years, from trendy new builds to boutique boltholes within historic venues.
Some of the most notable openings include The Ned in 2017, situated in the former Midland Bank building in the City. The 252-room property boasts six Grade-I listed meeting rooms with period features plus a panoramic rooftop space for members and hotel guests providing views over St Paul’s Cathedral with a heated swimming pool and two converted domes with outdoor terraces.
Nobu Hotels made its London debut in hip Shoreditch in 2017, set behind a striking concrete and steel façade on a quiet street just off East London’s bustling Great Eastern Street. Nobu Shoreditch offers private dining and event spaces for up to 200, 148 guestrooms and a Nobu restaurant.
Another newcomer in Shoreditch, The Curtain Hotel & Members Club is one of our favourites and provided the backdrop for our recent summer showcase event. It offers 120 rooms and a rooftop pool, while event spaces range include The Burbage Room for up to 140 seated and 350 standing and the split-level Courtyard with booth seating, private bar and retractable roof.
If it’s the very latest openings you’re after, there are plenty of hot new properties this year, including the long-awaited Belmond Cadogan Hotel. Once home to British-American socialite Lillie Langtry and the location for the arrest of playwright Oscar Wilde in 1895, this chic bolthole offers 54 luxurious rooms and a gourmet dining experience with London-based British talent and Head Chef of The Frog Adam Handling as executive chef.
From the classic to the cool, the new Hard Rock Hotel London at Hyde Park is jam-packed with music memorabilia and original artwork paying tribute to former residents such as Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly in each of the 1,000 bedrooms. It also boasts an enviable location on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane.
If quirky is your thing, check out the Nhow London, which will combine traditional British icons with unconventional contemporary elements under the theme ‘London Reloaded’ when it opens in September. Located between the City, Islington and Shoreditch, a ‘Big Ben’ rocket sculpture in the lobby will be one of the most striking elements at the 190-room hotel.
Unique conference & meeting venues
While there are plenty of standard meeting and conference rooms in hotels and venues throughout the city, taking delegates out of traditional settings can do wonders for creativity and boost productivity.
Up to 100 people
One of the most memorable moments of this summer so far has to be England winning the Cricket World Cup for the first time, and the strikingly modern J. P. Morgan Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground where all the action was reported from, provides an unusual backdrop for meetings for up to 80 people with views over the pitch.
Located on the 6th Floor at London & Partners HQ, The Tower Room boasts stunning views over the River Thames and iconic Tower Bridge, as well as an interactive video wall. Groups of up to 80 can brainstorm strategies with digital post-it stickers in a collaborative environment.
One of the biggest developments currently taking place in the capital is Battersea Power Station, which is gradually being transformed as part of a multi-million pound project. As you can imagine with a project of this scale, they’ll be plenty of large event spaces on offer. However, small groups should head to No.29 Power Station West – an independent bar and restaurant with several contemporary spaces for hire including the Private Dining Room for up to 18 and Cinema Room for up to 30.
Up to 500 people
If you’re after a unique backdrop for slightly bigger groups, we’d recommend etc.venues St Paul’s. Its largest room can hold up to 400 along with a further 12 rooms for conference breakouts, training and meetings.
Another of our favourites, the award-winning Kings Place houses two auditoriums, two art galleries, Rotunda Bar & Restaurant, and a range of event spaces with views over Regent’s Canal. Hall One, the largest event space, is an impressive high specification auditorium with tiered seating for 420 people.
The Sandbox is Level39's brand-new events facility. Flexible and creative, the space is designed to facilitate best-in-class tech events in the heart of London's Canary Wharf. The Sandbox can accommodate up to 200 seated and offers impressive views overlooking Canary Wharf and Greenwich.
Located in Kensington, Olympia London has enjoyed a colourful history since opening its doors to the public in 1886. The iconic venue offers a range of inspiring spaces for larger events. Famous for its stunning Victorian architecture, magnificent galleries and ornate barrel-vaulted roof, Olympia Grand, the largest space, is ideal for exhibitions, conferences, sports and concerts with a maximum capacity for 10,000 (4,000 seated).
From the classic to the modern, Magazine London is a brand-new purpose-built event space in Greenwich. Magazine boasts 3,205 sqm of versatile interior space for up to 3,000 people and can extend to accommodate a further 7,000 people across the venue’s outdoor showground.
If you’re after a more industrial vibe, check out the 6,000-capacity Printworks in Canada Water, where The Evening Standard, The Daily Mail and Metro newspapers rolled off its presses for 24 years. Reopened as a versatile events venue in 2017, spaces include HSBC, Vanway and Publishing, which can host groups of 1,000 to 1,900 all with original features. Brands such as Nike, Adidas and Mercedes to name but a few have hosted events there.
Sauce by The Langham is a new cookery school in the heart of London, ideal for groups looking for a foodie-themed teambuilding experience. Opened in June this year, delegates can have fun learning the trade secrets of some of London’s finest chefs. Choose from ‘building block’ classes to master basics such as perfecting pastry, or hone more refined techniques in the premium classes, which cover everything from creating British classics to a master class with Michel Roux Jr.
In the heart of Shoreditch, The London Shuffle Club is the first shuffleboard club in the UK, introducing the Capital to a whole new gaming craze and providing a unique teambuilding backdrop. The venue boasts six indoor shuffleboard lanes and two outdoor lanes complete with their own Airstream cocktail bar and seated terrace, accommodating up to 300 people.
Billing itself as London’s newest ultimate team experience, the new Crystal Maze LIVE Experience, as you’d expect, gives groups the chance to get competitive by rushing around, shouting themselves hoarse, and solving all sorts of bizarre puzzles and challenges. If puzzle solving is your thing, Locked In A Room at ExCeL London provides 13 themed escape rooms to allow up to 78 players to compete simultaneously in an immersive race against the clock. Coming together as a team is essential within the group to work out how they will complete the tasks in order to escape from the room within the 60-minute timeframe
London After Dark
From Michelin-starred restaurants to chic cocktail bars and grand gala dinner venues to cool clubs, London comes alive at night.
Networking drinks & cocktail receptions
Perched atop Sea Containers London, 12th Knot is an elegant rooftop bar with an extensive list of the world’s best champagnes alongside seasonal and ingredient-led cocktails. Epitomising the vibrancy of the South Bank against the backdrop of the River Thames, the venue is ideal for receptions and parties for up to 300 guests.
For a drinks reception with a difference, Illuminate at The Science Museum is a brand-new space that opened in February this year. Located on levels 4 and 5 of the Science Museum, Illuminate has capacities of up to 450 for receptions.
Or follow in the footsteps or Princess Margaret and throw an extravagant party at the opulent Café de Paris. Opened in 1924, it’s a stunning grade II listed building, boasting grand sweeping staircases, beautiful eye-catching chandeliers and other original features. The venue can host 100-715 for standing receptions.
Awards, banquets & gala dinners
For Art Deco elegance, head to Banking Hall in the City. This vast Grade II-listed property was once the long-time home of Lloyds and can now accommodate up to 800 standing guests and 280 seated for memorable celebrations.
Another of our favourites is the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, an iconic event venue in Covent Garden. With a history dating back to 1775, the building was once home to the original Freemasons’ Tavern. Since then, the venue has hosted some of the world‘s leading politicians, royalty and celebrities. With its arched ornate ceilings, beautiful wood-panelling and dramatic chandeliers, the Grand Hall creates an impressive backdrop for up to 550 for dinner.
For the ultimate regal experience, groups can actually host their own lavish banquet at Kensington Palace, still home to British Royalty. Spaces include The King’s Gallery, which is filled with Royal Collection's masterpieces and can host up to 110 for dinner. Meanwhile, The Pavilion a glass fronted building overlooking the palace’s famous Sunken Garden, replaces the Orangery at Kensington Palace until 2021, and can host up to 300 guests for a truly memorable gala dinner.
This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg as far as London venues are concerned, so if you’re looking to host an event in the capital, or need help finding the perfect London venue, check out our free venue finding service and we’d be happy to help.
Like our blog? Like us on Facebook!