New summer menus launched at Bateaux London

Bateaux London is celebrating the very best of British cuisine in its new summer menus for its fine-dining Thames cruises.

The four-course dinner menu available on both its Harmony and Symphony vessels, which take in the sights of some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks, begins with a summer pea velouté and a choice of starters including free range chicken and Pimms jelly pressé, Scottish smoked salmon with yuzu pearls, asparagus and caviar or marinated heritage tomato salad.

Main courses of Cornish hake, South Downs’ lamb or crisp basil gnocchi are followed by sumptuous desserts including dark chocolate and Kentish raspberry delice, poached summer berries and artisan English cheese.

Lunchtime diners will be served roasted feta and pickled summer vegetable salad, roast Suffolk chicken or burrata and summer pea stuffed courgette flower, with strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

While those planning to spend Sunday on the river will enjoy a starter of pickled heritage beetroot, a main course of roast highland beef starter or traditional nut roast and a dessert of rhubarb and vanilla cream.

Or, for an alternative to the four-course menu, guests can enjoy a quintessentially British afternoon tea featuring smoked salmon and cucumber, egg and cress and coronation chicken sandwiches, a variety of cakes and scones, with strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream.

Gareth Brown, marketing manager for Bateaux London, said: “This summer we are celebrating the best of British produce with some classic, traditional dishes and where better to enjoy them than on the Thames, with a backdrop of world famous buildings such as Tower Bridge and the Palace of Westminster?”

Bateaux London’s vessels are available for exclusive hire for a range of corporate and leisure events.

For information, or to enquire about booking an event with Bateaux London, call 020 7695 1800 or email reservations@bateauxlondon.com.

Lights, Camera, Westminster – curtain’s up on venue collection’s starring roles

Fresh off the back of Sunday night’s glitzy Oscar ceremony, Westminster Venue Collection (WVC) has revealed its members witnessed a 30% increase in film location enquiries in 2016.

The recently rebranded collection, which features 34 members all based in London’s iconic City of Westminster, announced film locations bookings now amount up to 10% of their yearly event revenue.

With fashionable townhouses and private members’ clubs to luxury hotels, celebrated attractions, historic institutes and societies, it’s no wonder an impressive 86% of the eclectic mix of venues have been used as the locations for both the big and small screens.

Keen cinema-goers will know member venue One Great George Street has played a starring role in a range of productions including last year’s Hollywood blockbuster ‘War Machine’ featuring Brad Pitt as well as Woman in Gold (2015). The venue’s Great Hall became the Guildhall for Mark Darcy’s law society dinner in Bridget Jones’ Edge of Reason (2004) and doubled as the National Gallery where Mr Bean is a guard in Bean (1997).

The QEII Centre’s impressive and highly versatile space – the Churchill – which regularly offers a backdrop for a variety of large events ranging from conferences, award ceremonies, corporate dinners, parties and presentations provided an Oscar-winning performance in ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014).

Other productions have seen member venues providing key locations in Calendar Girls (2003), Spectre (2015), Sherlock Holmes (TV series) and the nation’s favourite wizarding series, Harry Potter.

Commenting on the trend, Kate McCarthy, marketing manager at member venue One Great George Street, said: “From the enquiries we’re receiving, the positive trend for location bookings definitely looks set to continue for One Great George Street in 2017. We’re looking forward to welcoming a whole host of new names and stars to our venue in the coming years.”

Clare Arouche, WVC chair and head of business development at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, added: “With a host of iconic, unique and historical buildings within our membership, Westminster Venue Collection truly is a location scout’s dream and with our new and improved search function on its website, the perfect setting is just a few clicks away. We look forward to hearing about all the fantastic film and television projects our venues are involved in throughout 2017 and beyond.”

If you would like to find out more about booking one of WVC’s venues for an upcoming film, television or documentary piece please visit the venue collection page and place your enquiry.

BAFTA plays host to ‘A Night to Remember’

During this year’s London Fashion Week, The Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) united with BAFTA and the British Fashion Council to present ‘A Night to Remember’ hosted by Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Anna Wintour, Natalie Massenet, Livia Firth, Amanda Berry, William Vintage and the Metropolitan Museum of New York Fashion Institute curator Andrew Bolton with Andrea & Guido Bonaveri.

‘A Night to Remember’ celebrated fashion from the world’s iconic red carpets – from the movies to the Met Ball and unveiled a unique exhibition of iconic vintage couture gowns discovered by William Vintage. Undeniable red carpet icons, they exemplify the values of artisanal skills and handcrafting from the 20th and 21st centuries with work by Hubert de Givenchy to John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. The event also saw an eco-world first: the unveiling of Bonaveri’s eco-mannequins. Bonaveri is world-famous for creating mannequins for the fashion industry and now launches the first biodegradable mannequin.

Guests including Victoria Beckham, Helena Bonham Carter, Joely Richardson, Luke Evans, Arizone Muse, Amanda & Tallulah Harlech, will.i.am, Caroline Rush, Mario Testino, Sabine Getty, Erin O’Connor, Daisy Lowe, Caroline Sieber, Christopher Bailey, Henry Holland, Stephen Jones, Erdem, Matthew Williamson, Hannah Weiland, Molly Goddard, Portia Freeman, Pixie Lott, Justin O’Shea, Laura Bailey, Lauren Santa Domingo, Nicole Farhi and Bianca Jagger attended.

Following the presentation, was the premiere of ‘The First Monday in May’, Andrew Rossi’s feature capturing the collision of high fashion and celebrity at one of the globe’s biggest fashion events: the Met Gala, famously chaired every year by Anna Wintour, artistic director, Conde Nast.

Amanda Berry, CEO BAFTA said: “The creative industries must take responsibility for their impact, seizing every opportunity to ensure the creation of art has a positive environmental legacy. Since 2011, BAFTA has chaired the BAFTA Albert Consortium, helping the film and television industries to act on their impact together. With over 400 organisations involved, the consortium provides the tools, guidance and opportunities to all those who recognise the urgent need for action on climate change. Five years of collaboration has seen the roll-out of environmental management tools, bespoke industry training and, most recently, the costume directory – a guide to ethical sourcing. The Green Carpet Challenge highlights important progress made in fashion and BAFTA is excited to be working with GCC and hopes that the collaboration will allow us to drive further sustainable progress.”

To find out more about BAFTA or to make a booking click here.

Photography supplied by Dave Bennett from Getty.

The Clubhouse opens new flagship site

The Clubhouse, London’s leading business club and meeting space has opened a new flagship site on St. James’s Square, one of London’s most prestigious garden squares and one of the Capital’s most prominent businesses addresses.

The brand new building at 8 St James’s Square was designed by renowned architect Eric Parry and sits on a site that was once home to Josiah Wedgwood, founder of Wedgwood Pottery. With an interior designed to a high specification the space redefines the concept of flexible working and boasts a stylish members’ club feel. The new Clubhouse has been designed around the needs of its members and offers a unique, sophisticated and flexible meeting and work space tailored to the needs of today’s entrepreneurs and growing businesses.

Home to businesses of all shapes and sizes and across all industry sectors, The Clubhouse offers a range of individually designed meeting rooms, hot desks, lounge areas, dedicated desks, flexible meeting areas, a Club deli, event spaces and conference facilities for up to 80 delegates. In addition, The Clubhouse has launched its first innovation hub with a fully interactive video wall in partnership with MultiTaction.

For more information or to enquire about your next event click here.

QEII to create new banqueting floor with stunning city skyline views

The QEII Centre is continuing its £12 million refurbishment and rebranding project this summer by transforming its 6th floor into an open-plan banqueting space with breath-taking views of Westminster and the London city skyline.

Work has commenced and will be complete by September, when the renovated space will be revealed at a dazzling dinner to celebrate QEII’s 30th birthday.

QEII’s ongoing programme of refurbishments is focused on improving the customer experience and opening up the venue to a wider variety of events including banqueting, awards ceremonies, cocktail parties, product launches and other corporate and private special events.

The renovation of the 6th floor will give event planners greater flexibility for how they wish to use the space, with a retractable wall opening up what is now the Mountbatten room into one large, open-plan floor with a stunning glazed elevation providing dramatic views out towards the Thames, capturing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and the Shard.

The 6th floor refurbishment, which has been designed by architects AHMM, the 2015 winners of the RIBA Sterling prize, comes as QEII celebrates its 30th year at the heart of the UK’s event industry, contributing £122 million to the economy annually.

QEII’s in-house catering team, QEII Taste by Leith’s, has recently appointed Jean Michel Viala as its new head chef.

For more information about the QEII Centre visit www.qeiicentre.london

The Westminster Collection makes an impact at The Meetings Show

Last month, leading venue consortium for Westminster venues, The Westminster Collection met with event buyers and bookers from around the world at The Meetings Show at London Olympia.

The stand, which was manned by a variety of event professionals representing venues from across the consortium, offered the perfect place to discover over 35 stunning Westminster venues and find out how the collection can save buyers time when looking for a wow-factor venue.

Announced on the first morning of the show, The Meetings Show also provided the perfect opportunity for the collection to share its plans for a complete re-brand, name change and new website set to launch later on this year and encourage registrations for the launch event.

Throughout the three-day show over 350 contacts were scanned with just shy of 40 specific enquiries generated which were promptly communicated to all member venues to make business proposals.

The collection’s success at the show highlights just one of the significant benefits for membership to The Westminster Collection and provided a dynamic business platform for both the member venues and the event buyers in attendance.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of The Westminster Collection, please click here. Alternatively, if you are looking to book a stunning venue for your next event, find our full collection here.

#EventProfs come and see us at The Meetings Show!

#EventProfs heading to The Meetings Show next week? Why not head to Westminster while you’re there?

Come and visit The Westminster Collection at stand J502 and discover our collection of unique Westminster venues.

We have a venue for every event from intimate and quirky meeting spaces to large-scale iconic landmarks all located in one of London’s most recognisable areas.

Register to attend for free here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Central Hall Westminster launches new virtual reality experience in China

Central Hall Westminster announced the launch of its new virtual reality (VR) experience during a week-long visit to China.

It was showcased at the IT&CM Exhibition Shanghai, the Department of Commerce in Zhejiang Province and at a meeting with the team at Alibaba HQ Hangzhou.

Central Hall’s new virtual reality technology aims to showcase the venue’s versatility and range of event spaces to both international and UK buyers. The VR experience not only enables viewers to get a 360 degree view of the event spaces on offer throughout the central London venue in a virtual show-round, but also features a variety of live events scenarios as a fully immersive viewing experience. VR live events include the BBC’s New Year’s Bryan Adam’s concert 2015, amongst other high profile events.

Paul Southern, Managing Director at Central Hall Westminster, said: “This has been an exciting development for us at Central Hall. Our ability to harness this technology and connect the venue to the most remote places in China, and indeed anywhere else in the world we take it, is an extraordinary advance within our sales process. We anticipate that this will help to strengthen our position within the Chinese market as we continue to develop relationships in this sector.”

Maria Schuett, Head of Marketing at Central Hall Westminster, added: “The objective is to support our clients to conceptualise their ideas within our flexible event spaces, not replace the physical experience. The new virtual reality package, showcasing various layouts, productions and visual settings, adds a new dimension to those earlier discussions with clients.”

The VR experience has been created by Trek Wireless, creators of interactive digital assets for the retail and hospitality industries that work seamlessly across PC, tablet, mobile and VR devices. For further information about Central Hall’s virtual reality offering please visit https://www.c-h-w.com/vr.

Increase in UK-based filming for big productions at One Great George Street

Historic Westminster venue One Great George Street witnessed a marked increase in filming bookings in 2015 with location managers for the BBC TV series The Night Manager, the film War Machine starring Brad Pitt and Wonder Woman all choosing to use the venue.

Shedding some light on this trend, Charles Somers of Charles Somers Locations, the Location Manager for Wonder Woman, said: “The UK tax incentive, combined with easy access to top rate crews and facilities, in conjunction with favourable exchange rates, make it highly likely that the trend for major US features to film in the UK will continue throughout 2016 and beyond.”

Mr Somers noted that there were many unique aspects to the venue that set it apart from other filming locations. He said: “The quality of the architecture combined with the proportions of the rooms gives One Great George Street the unique position of being one of the best locations in London for the type of scene we were filming.”

He added: “The building works on so many levels, not just from a creative point of view but also from a logistical standpoint. We were able to accommodate all the other departments inside the location, such as background artists costume, make-up and wardrobe, as well as the crew and crowd dining areas, which helps make the day run very smoothly for the location department.”

Find out more at http://www.onegreatgeorgestreet.com/news-centre/press-release/2016/a-wonderful-venue-for-wonder-woman/

RIBA Venues to host launch of new low sugar Prosecco Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco

RIBA Venues, the conference and events arm of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), based at 66 Portland Place in London, today announces it has won the contract to host the launch of new low-calorie Prosecco brand, Thomson & Scott Skinny.

Thomson & Scott Founder, Amanda Thomson has single-handedly created a portfolio of sparkling wine for people who like to enjoy Champagne and Prosecco but with the benefit of no or low added sugar. Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco will be showcased at a special event at RIBA Venues on 19th April to mark its UK launch. The Thomson & Scott Skinny range will also be added to RIBA Venues’ preferred supplier list and wine list, the first meeting and events venue to do so.

RIBA Venues’ Head of Venues, Stephanie Ellrott, says: “I was really excited when I met Amanda with her skinny drinks concept, which is a great idea and would suit a number of the events we host here at RIBA Venues.

“We look forward to welcoming Amanda and her team for the launch tasting and building a lasting partnership as the first venue to offer this product to the events industry.”

Amanda Thomson says: “RIBA Venues is exactly the kind of smart, innovative and stylish partner with whom I’m looking to collaborate.  I couldn’t think of a more beautiful venue to host what I believe is an elegant, new approach to drinking Champagne and sparkling wine.”