London is one of the most culturally and historically rich cities in the world. Millions of people travel to London every year to enjoy its buildings, sights and tourist attractions, meaning event organisers planning conferences in the city are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a venue with a story to tell. So, how do you choose the right conference venue for your event? And why should historic venues be on your event shortlist?

Are historic venues a good choice for conferences?

The list of things to consider when choosing the perfect historic conference venue is long, but we’ve boiled it down to our top tips for brevity.

The building’s story

If you’re looking for a building with a tale to tell, take the time to investigate its stories. Perhaps the venue was once owned by a famous historical figure, or maybe some very well-known faces once visited, or it might be that a particularly significant event took place within its walls. Communicating these stories to your guests will enhance your relationships and encourage small talk amongst your attendees. It will also help cement the fabulous memories your delegates will have after your conference.

‘Our clients love the historic surroundings and being amongst portraits of well-known scientists, such as Isac Newton or Steven Hawkings.’ says The Royal Society’s Mariana Dumitrascu. ‘Each corner of our event spaces has an exciting story to tell and delegates love to explore and learn during their events.’

Modern conference venues in historic venues. The Royal Society in Westminster

Conference facilities

It’s more than likely that your historic venue wasn’t originally designed with conferences or contemporary events in mind and, while we don’t want to discourage you following your heart once you’ve fallen in love with a property, we would urge you to put your feelings to one side and be ruthless in your analysis of its facilities before you commit to ensure the meeting space is fully equipped for your event.

  • Is the venue accessible?
  • What state-of-the-art AV facilities do you have available?
  • Are there any restrictions in place I should be aware of?
  • What extent of event branding is possible in the venue?

All properties in the Westminster Venue Collection group have been sympathetically updated, and in some cases re-configured, to meet the needs of hi-tech, high-end events. With many of the buildings having been granted Grade 1 listed status, organisers can also rest assured that maintaining the spaces’ historical importance has been perfectly prioritised providing you with the hi-tech event facilities needed to create a seamless conference experience.

Conference capacities

As every event organiser knows, you can’t ignore the numbers. The most important you need to think about are the budget and venue capacity. If the venue is stretching you too far or doesn’t have enough space for your guest list, you need to move on – even if you’ve already lost your heart to it.

Westminster Venue Collection’s members accommodate a wide range of capacities, search for conference venues using our capacity filter if you have a specific large capacity event in mind.

Central Location

Never underestimate the importance of the location of your venue – whether you’re opting for a historic building or a contemporary one. Choosing a venue in a convenient location with excellent public transport links will break down one of the first perceived barriers presented to your invitees. If you’ve got guests coming in from further afield who are looking for overnight accommodation, then it’s important to ensure your conference room is situated amongst lots of hotels to suit varying budgets. If you’d like to offer guests nearby accommodation, see which hotels are part of Westminster Venue Collection – you’ll find our referral program will get you the best rates!

You might also want to think about the pre-event and post-event activities your delegates might want to indulge in – think about shopping, theatre, sightseeing and other business opportunities. Being situated in Westminster means our venues benefit from proximity to the River Thames (great for views and attractions) as well as being a short walk or tube ride to Covent Garden.

Conference Event Venues in Westminster, London.

The corporate event team

Finding an in-house event team with whom you feel a connection is an important factor when choosing a historic conference venue. You’ll come to lean on the venue staff throughout your project and you’ll end up with a very close, working relationship. You will have to place your trust in them, so make sure you’re confident they are people you can work with.

How modern conferences work in historic venues

The juxtaposition of old and new during a modern conference at a historic event venue is a powerful tool. Not only does the contrast create fascinating talking points for delegates, it also creates a unique atmosphere which takes people out of their day-to-day head space. Changing people’s environment, particularly for anything unusual or inspiring, is a fabulous way to get creative juices flowing and to encourage them to think outside of the box.

Why host your next event at a conference venue

Many historic venues in Westminster aren’t open to the general public, which means hiring one of these buildings for an event – be it a conference, product launch or drinks reception – helps add to its sense of occasion. Your guests will appreciate the exclusive access your event is offering them which will go a long way towards creating a truly memorable day or evening.

Historic Conference Venues in Westminster

If you think Westminster could offer you the perfect venue for your next event, start shortlisting your favourite venues ready to send your event brief. You will only hear back from the best conference venues in London who can fulfil your requirements. Please feel free to get in touch via [email protected] if you have any questions.