Discover Westminster; Showcase Success!

We have long been known for our fantastic Westminster Venue Showcase events and this year was no exception!! The 26th of May 2022 marked the occasion of our Discover Westminster; Around Westminster Venues in 80 minutes, showcase event and how special for us all to be back together and what a fantastic evening it was!

Located at the Royal Society, one of our fabulous member venues, it was great to be back hosting a face-to-face event – You could feel the excitement amongst all. This elegant setting really set the scene and created the perfect backdrop for the occasion.

The showcase was attended by event professionals from London and beyond for the opportunity to celebrate and explore our unique consortium of Westminster’s finest venues. It was amazing to see them all showing off their venues and event packages to new and potential clients. Our venue collection includes a wide variety of venue types and styles, all with their own fascinating backstory and many with historic significance.

Originally home to the United Services Club, Georgian venue 116 Pall Mall was designed by John Nash, and this Grade I listed venue still contains many of the club’s original treasures. Then we move to The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn. Their Great Hall was opened by Queen Victoria, and not to mention, Edwardian venue One Great George Street, 18th Century RSA House, and the world-famous Houses of Parliament.

The recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations taking place throughout the city have seen these spectacular venues celebrated in all their glory, which has led to more enquiries, but let’s not forget the incredible modern venues within the collection. The QEII Centre got the chance to boast their cutting-edge AV facilities, essential for delivering live and engaging hybrid and studio events. The Westminster London, Curio Collection by Hilton, showcased their stylish conference spaces and luxurious rooms for overnight stays. And if you’re looking for big screen events, Vue West End have got you covered!

We were also joined by key industry suppliers, including Frew & Co rolled ice cream. Their fun and refreshing treats are perfect for outdoor summer events. The talented chefs at the Royal Society also made an appearance to showcase some sweet offerings. Dan and the team plated up a feast for the eyes, demonstrating some impressive techniques, including dry ice!

Thank you to all who attended, and especially to Barbara Wutte and her team at the Royal Society for helping our board and the Paje team to organise the event, it wouldn’t have been a success without all those involved. The drinks were flowing and the delicious canapes went down a treat, and it was fantastic to see members sharing their images across social media.

“We are so excited about the future, we have new members joining our collection, new initiatives planned by the enthusiastic board and Paje Team and our venues are back to business at 2019 levels again!  We look forward to working with you over the coming months and celebrating just how amazing London and our wonderful Westminster Collection are!”  –  Rachel Azzopardi, Chair of Westminster Venue Collection.

Our experienced sales marketing and PR partners, Paje Consultancy, are here to support with enquiries and help you find the best space for your events. If you’re looking to book last minute summer parties, our venues have some stunning, private outdoor spaces available for hire, right in the heart of the Capital. Contact us today and we’ll help you find the perfect fit for your occasion.

Now we’re all back in our offices, some of our members have been brushing up their sales and marketing skills with training and development from our Westminster Venue Collection dedicated learning and development academy in partnership with the team at Paje Consultancy.  If you’d like to do the same, you can find out more about the courses available here.

RIBA launches new hospitality pop-up for the summer

RIBA London’s 66 Portland Place has launched a new hospitality pop-up on its 4th floor terrace.

The pop-up will be a unique outdoor space for clients to entertain their teams on a summer’s evening, either as a standalone event or as a part of a meeting or conference.

Designed by Merrett Houmøller Architects Peter Merrett and Robert Houmøller, the brightly coloured pop-up, was selected from entries to the RIBA Architecture Open 2017, an annual architecture competition run by the institute and open to RIBA members, chartered practices, students and non-members alike.

The summer pop-up is available for exclusive use only, and is able to cater for up to 40 people for an early evening networking event. Food will be provided by event caterer Harbour & Jones and will embrace the theme of social dining featuring dishes from around the world.

Moya Maxwell, head of venues at RIBA, said: “We are delighted to be able to utilise this fantastic installation, which has been designed by the talented Merrett Houmøller Architects. The pop-up is in-situ on our 4th floor terrace until mid-September and we hope to encourage companies to bring their teams together this summer to enjoy each other’s company for a few hours in a relaxed, informal environment that encourages a sense of fun, togetherness and sharing.”

For more information or to book the summer pop-up for an event, please email [email protected] or phone 020 7307 3888.

Welcome Regent’s Conferences & Events

The Westminster Collection is proud to introduce our newest member venue Regent’s Conferences & Events.

Just a few short minutes from Baker Street Station and located within 11 acres of private grounds in Regent’s Park, the venue offers capacities of up to 370 for conferences as well as vast opportunities for outdoor events such as team building or barbeques.

Chairman of the collection Robin Parker commented on the new member venue: “We are delighted to welcome Regent’s Conferences & Events to our collection and look forward to involving them in all our activities. We are in the middle of a really exciting period for the collection and it is the perfect time for our new member to immerse themselves in everything we have coming up. To welcome a venue with such impressive outdoor space is fantastic and I know they will be a real asset to the collection.”

If you are reading this on behalf of a Westminster venue and are interested in becoming part of the collection please contact [email protected]

New light festival Lumiere London to illuminate capital’s landmarks

See some of the best landmarks and attractions in Westminster lit up in spectacular fashion next week, as the capital illuminates for Lumiere London, a new and free light festival. From 14-17 January 2016, Lumiere London brings together some of the world’s most exciting artists working with light. Expect large-scale video-mapped projections, interactive pieces and jaw-dropping installations, transforming many of the capital’s most iconic streets and buildings in the West End and King’s Cross.

Lumiere London Elephantastic

Amongst sights to see is Elephantastic by Catherine Garret and Top’là Design. Emerging stomping from a cloud of dust, an enormous elephant makes his slow, and heavy journey through the archways of Air Street. This extraordinary animated projection brings the sounds of the jungle to Central London as he trumpets his way through the Regent Street area.

Lumiere London BAFTA

At BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, experience an exploration of different genres of cinema and television using images from BAFTA’s archive. The visuals hark back to the origins of 195 Piccadilly as the home of the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters. The animation, by motion design experts NOVAK, is accompanied by a striking soundtrack, created by Ed Carter and inspired by the classic sounds that helped define these genres of film and television.

Lumiere London neon dogs

In the heart of ‘Theatreland’, Neon Dogs by Deepa Mann-Kler brings together 12 neon dogs inspired by balloon dogs at children’s parties. Grouped together near Trafalgar Square, these colourful canines, complete with bones, leads and dog mess, bring out the big kid inside all of us. Deepa Mann-Kler first produced this installation for Lumiere Derry~Londonderry in 2013, and has a growing interest in working with neon.

Lumiere London lightbenches

Nestled amongst Mayfair’s world famous Michelin-starred restaurants, including Le Gavroche, Kai, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught and Fera at Claridge’s, is Lightbenches by Bernd Spiecker for LBO LichtBankObjekte. Illuminating the park benches of Grosvenor Square, this is street furniture with a difference, a unique resting point that transforms the concept of public seating. Lit by hundreds of LEDs, the Lightbench allows you to take the weight off your feet and strike up a conversation with a stranger.

Bernd Spiecker’s first bench was made in 1982 using acrylic material. He has since developed the idea of Lightbenches, seeing them as symbols of recreation. He plans to build 100 across the world in the hope that they will bring people together in conversation.

The four-day Lumiere London light festival runs from 14-17 January across Piccadilly, Regent Street and St James’s, Trafalgar Square and Westminster, Mayfair and King’s Cross. The easiest, most leisurely way to discover the spectacular installations at Lumiere London 2016 is by foot. Download the map or get the app for your iPhone or Android device.

How to plan live music at outdoor events

By Susan Heaton-Wright at Viva Live Music

Spring is now upon us and plenty of events are being organised for the summer. If live music is something you’re considering, here are 7 top tips to consider to ensure the venue is suitable and prepared and your musicians are well looked after:

1. Rain. Living in the United Kingdom, we are used to a variety of weather, even in the summer and it is wise and sensible to have a ‘plan B’ in place, in case it suddenly rains. In the case of musicians, there are health and safety issues when they are using electrical equipment and rain. If you insist they play outside, there must be cover of the equipment and instruments to avoid accidents. Also, many stringed instruments (e.g. violins, harps) will be damaged by rain, even a drop. Since these are very valuable, no string player will want to risk their instrument being damaged, so if in any doubt about the weather, provide temporary cover as a precaution. A good music company like Viva Live Music will advise you about this before the event.

2. Sunshine. Of course we want sunshine at your event! However, for some instrumentalists, this is a hazard. String instruments, in particular, could be damaged by direct sunlight and understandably musicians get jumpy if they are asked to play outside in sunshine. Provide a canopy or gazebo for the musicians to be seated under, or shade, then they’ll be happy. For bands, direct sunlight could cause hazard to their equipment, so do discuss this with the band before the event and if necessary provide shade or a gazebo.

3. Temperatures. If it is really hot, your musicians could wilt in heat; make sure you provide them with plenty of water and soft drinks! If it is cold, some musicians will struggle to keep their fingers moving after a period of time and instruments are more difficult to keep in tune. If necessary allow them to wear gloves and warmer clothing and provide a warm place for them to thaw out between their sets!

4. Access to power. Jazz bands, bands, dancers and singers require power. Make sure there is access to power sockets and have a discussion with your entertainment prior to the event and include this in your planning schedule. A good music company like Viva Live Music will highlight this requirement early on in the negotiation. Remember that any power provision must reach health and safety standards.

5. Noise levels. Some venues and localities have noise restrictions; either they are decibel level restrictions or timing restrictions. Some venues have a meter that measures decibel levels. It cuts off the power when music goes over this level. There is a venue in Hertfordshire that allows DJs and discos, but not ANY instrument, including a harp or string quartet, which are definitely quieter! So it is worthwhile checking what restrictions, if any, there are when planning. Ensure you inform the musicians and entertainers before the event to warn them.

6. Acoustics. Sound bounces on walls, but gets lost in a big field unless you have very powerful sound systems to enhance the sound. If you place an acoustic string quartet in the middle of a field, their beautiful sound is likely to be lost. Within a small space, such as a courtyard, any sound, including guests speaking, will be amplified. This is important if there are noise restrictions. An acoustic instrument like an accordion will sound louder than in a larger space. Take advice from your entertainment provider and if necessary place entertainment in a good spot to make the most of their music.

7. Wind. Wind plays havoc on sound! If you have been to an outdoor concert when there is strong wind, it sometimes affects the sound and quality of the music and entertainment. For musicians who have music, they always worry their music will blow away. If you can, put musicians in a sheltered place. They will provide clips for their music, but any shelter helps!

For bands and entertainment requiring sound systems, speak to the sound engineers so they have contingency plans in place to alter speaker locations if necessary.

We hope you have a great time organising your event and will use live music entertainment outside as part of your event! To discuss options for live entertainment, please talk to Viva Live Music.

House of Commons Terrace Pavilion open for summer bookings

Offering uninterrupted views of the River Thames and the famous skyline of the South Bank, the House of Commons‘ Terrace Pavilion provides a unique location for your summer reception.

The principal function rooms on the upper floors of the New Palace of Westminster include the Members’ and Strangers’ Dining Rooms and the Pugin Room, designed by Charles Barry in a generalised ecclesiastical style and Augustus Pugin, whose inventive genius for adapting gothic forms created the elaborate interiors. Individually, these spaces can host up to 170 guests for lunch or dinner and 200 guests for a reception or when combined the spaces will accommodate 300 standing guests.

The lower floor offers four smaller private dining rooms and the Churchill Room, so named as many of his paintings hang on its walls. These individual rooms can seat between 10 and 100 guests for lunch or dinner or 25 to 100 for standing receptions. Outside on the Commons Terrace is the Terrace Pavilion, a purpose built marquee, which can accommodate up to 200 guests for standing receptions and opens out onto the eastern river frontage of the Palace overlooking the River Thames.

The House of Commons has an enviable reputation for delivering first class catering and services. Whatever your occasion, they will work with you to create an experience to remember whether it is a showcase dinner or corporate event, planning your party or wedding, finding the ideal venue, or a drinks reception or working lunch. As one of the world’s most iconic buildings, no other venue in the world is more instantly recognised than the Palace of Westminster. It is impossible to walk through its corridors or dine in its imposing function rooms without a deep sense of awe.
It is a unique venue and a very special place. The team invites you to share it with them for your own special occasion.

To enquire about hosting your next event at the House of Commons, click here.

Summer venues: rooftops, gardens, terraces

As summer approaches and the capital steps outside and into the sun, rooftops, gardens and courtyards across London come to life. Sitting in the warm summer sun with a cocktail in hand is the perfect way to inject a little sunshine into your event. There is no shortage of exquisite outdoor locations in London but to make it even easier to find your ideal al fresco venue here’s our pick of spot on summer venues:

Nothing says ‘summer’ quite like being on the water and HQS Wellington provides the perfect combination of outdoor and indoor space, allowing your event to flow seamlessly regardless of the unpredictable British weather! Wellington is a unique London venue for any functions which benefit from the backdrop of its wonderful collection of marine antiques, including priceless paintings and model ships. It has four hireable events spaces suitable for meetings and dining, including the open-air ‘Quarter Deck’, ideal for summer cocktail parties, receptions and barbecues. From small meetings in a boardroom to a whole ship event, flexibility is a key attraction of this venue. It is licensed for weddings, with a highly personal, professional and innovative conferencing, event and wedding service provided on board by The Cook & Butler.

A venue that combines a flawless reputation for delivering incredible corporate events with the chance for some sunshine is The QEII Centre. The opportunities within this venue are truly vast and the beautiful and astounding interior ensures a slick and professional atmosphere at all times. When the sun does decide to make an appearance The QEII Centre has some lovely outdoor space where drinks and food can be served. The inside space can accommodate up to 1,300 people in the largest room and there is also a wide range of smaller rooms so you can choose the perfect space for your event.

Ideally located opposite Westminster Abbey is the Grade II listed Central Hall Westminster. Well known as a film location and boasting Europe’s largest domed ceiling, the venue is quite a spectacle. With its 22 room portfolio and dedicated team of professionals Central Hall can accommodate a wide range of events. The lesser known area of the building is the beautiful sun terrace where you can watch the sun go down behind London’s iconic skyline.

House of CommonsPerhaps one of London’s most recognised venues is the House of Commons. Unrivalled in its political history it has been a British institution since the 11th Century and is just as impressive today as it has ever been. The House of Commons offers a choice of seven event rooms, with one of the most popular being The Churchill Room (aptly named as many of his paintings hang on the walls) which can seat up to 100 guests for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Most suitable for the warmer months is the stunning Terrace Pavilion, a purpose built marquee perfect for all conditions, complete with panoramic glass doors allowing guests to take full advantage of the spectacular sunshine.11-Cavendish-Orangery-wedding-1200x900

No.11 Cavendish Square is a beautiful Grade II listed building nestled amongst the townhouses of central London. The venue has been sympathetically enhanced allowing it to cater for all types of events whilst still maintaining its original and charming features. The venue boasts a variety of rooms for both larger and more intimate events but perhaps most notably for the upcoming summer months is The Garden Room. Available for exclusive hire for up to 100 guests for a standing reception, it’s not only a beautifully bright space but it can also be hired with the adjoining courtyard allowing your guests to move freely between the two.

St James' CourtA mere stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace is St James Court hotel, a discreet Victorian masterpiece oozing with warmth and sophistication. St James Court offers 17 meeting and conference suites which all come with wireless internet, state of the art technology and video conferencing making it the perfect place to hold a corporate event. The hotel also offers a unique and secluded garden courtyard, complete with stunning flowers and tranquil water features allowing a place to recharge and recoup at any time of the day.

The summer months enable us to step outside, walk around and see a little more of what London has to offer. We hope that something in our top six summer hotspots has caught your eye and that the sun stays out long enough for you to experience them all!

Westminster Spotlight: Jaunty St James’s

Pull on your finely tailored suit and slide your favourite Cuban cigar into your pocket before you walk your dapper self through the wealthy district of St. James’s, an exquisitely presented neighbourhood with a retained 17th century exclusiveness that sees it home to a warren of grand hotels, corporate headquarters and gentleman’s clubs.

Find moreish delis and wine merchants, bespoke tailors and leather goods suppliers in and amongst art galleries, jewellers and restaurants on Jermyn Street and St James’s Street, before ogling posters of popular productions in residence outside the famed theatres lining Haymarket.

Moments from pretty Green Park and aristocratic Pall Mall, is St James’s Palace, a busy working palace which contains the London residences of The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William and Prince Harry. To its eastern side is iconic road The Mall which ceremoniously frames the route to Buckingham Palace in all its grandeur and provides entry to the tranquil, landscaped greenery of St James’s Park, the oldest of the capital’s eight Royal Parks, with its sociable wildlife and picture perfect lake.

Millions of Londoners and tourists from near and far visit the district of St James’s every year to witness such spectacular pageants as Trooping the Colour (13 June this year) and community sporting events as the London Marathon (26 April) and the lure of this destination doesn’t fail to bring in the business tourist too. It’s a heartland for global conferences and corporate get-togethers, exclusive awards ceremonies and parties.

10-11 Carlton House TerraceAmongst our favourite venues is 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, a Roman Classical styled terrace dating back to the 1820s. It was built on the order of the Prince Regent, who later became George IV, with a desire in mind for its residents to enjoy far-reaching views of St James’s Park. Both number 10 and 11 were private homes to such high profile members of society as Prime Minister Gladstone and it was at the onset of World War I that the residents of number 10 opened up their home as a hospital for injured officers.

Despite bad damage sustained to the terrace during World War II, much of the venue’s interior remains intact and today, its characterful rooms house both the British Academy and all number of conferences, meetings, dinners and receptions for up to 600. You might even recognise the venue’s façade as the Diogenes Club from the BBC’s recent Sherlock Holmes series and as a stately home to the period drama Mr Selfridge.

116 Pall MallAnother of John Nash’s architectural feats is the Grade I listed 116 Pall Mall, the Institute of Directors’ headquarters with many a story to tell to excite the event planner looking for glory and heritage under one attractive roof. The Dark Knight, Ghandi and Foyles War were all filmed at the venue and it is one of only a small number of London locations that conceals a large, private garden perfect for outdoor events. Light the 20 original cast iron flambeaux that surround the venue for atmospheric evening illumination.

Find magnificent original paintings of the Regency period on the balcony of 116, many reflecting the naval and military history of the building and include two 16-foot wide oils depicting the Battles of Waterloo and Trafalgar and portraits of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Marvel then at the magnificent 15-foot, hand-made Regency chandelier which was presented as a gift to the club by George IV in the early 19th century to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo.

With ability to cater for capacities of 10 to 400 people, 116 Pall Mall’s exquisite function rooms range from the elaborate and traditional to the understated, all revealing stunning Regency architecture and spectacular works of art. They can be hired individually or as interlinking combinations of spaces, all receiving natural light.

Army & Navy Club afternoon teaFor something altogether more leisurely, why not treat yourself or your clients to an afternoon of indulgence by escaping to the elegant surrounds of the Army & Navy Club’s Ladies’ Drawing Room for one of the most sensational, quintessentially British afternoon teas you’ll find in the area. Savoury treats and sweet delicacies entice and delight – choose from chilled, still fruit tea, strawberry dusted vanilla marshmallow, passion fruit and vanilla Catherine Wheels, lemon macaroons and British apple meringue pies – while traditional favourites, exquisite sandwiches and freshly-baked scones complete the enchanting experience. Priced at £38 per person, it’s an affordable treat for you and friends or colleagues. Just be sure to book at least 48 hours ahead by contacting Elana Kruger on [email protected].

The Westminster Collection brings together some of the finest and most unusual venues right across the City of Westminster, all located in zone one. Explore the venues we represent here, or use our interactive map to search by location.

Spend summer on Quarterdeck aboard HQS Wellington

If you are looking for a London venue with a difference for this summer, then look no further than a unique dining experience on board the HQS Wellington.

Moored on by the Thames Embankment, the HQS Wellington offers a memorable backdrop for summer parties. Her central location affords sweeping views of the South Bank, from the Shard to the London Eye, not to mention the ever-changing scene of river traffic.

Soak up the sun on Quarterdeck with up to 220 guests, as The Cook & The Butler’s dedicated hospitality service provides a fine dining experience including cocktails and a barbeque.

Email the events team to enquire about availability and the all-inclusive summer packages. You will never see the river the same way!

WW2 sea battle exhibition now open on HQS Wellington

This summer, HQS Wellington invites event organisers to take a break from sweltering site visits and instead climb aboard the last surviving example of a Second World War escort ship in Britain, to learn about one of the most important sea battles of this time.

The ‘Convoy: The Battle of The Atlantic’ exhibition marks 70 years since the Battle of The Atlantic reached its climax and it is a fascinating, poignant reminder of HQS Wellington’s role in the struggle. The exhibition is open to the public from 11:00 – 17:00 on Sundays and Mondays until 16th December 2013 and admission is free.

Moored at Temple tube station, The HQS Wellington’s extensive deck area is the perfect outdoor venue for all your event needs, from its sunny Quarterdeck, to the stunning Court Room, it is a perfect setting for events up to 220 guests. Event organisers are also invited to enquire about bookings and availabilities on their visit to the exhibition, and a dedicated on-board events coordinator will be happy to conduct tours of the venue and demonstrate the unique facilities of the Ship.

For more information about HQS Wellington please contact the venue and events team on [email protected] or by phone on 0207 240 9888.