BAFTA 195 Piccadilly shows you how to bring Hollywood glitz to your next dinner party

With the 2016 EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony fast approaching, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly Head Chef Anton Manganaro has been hard at work designing a menu of mouth-watering canapés to feed the A-list guests assembled for the big night.

This year’s ceremony will see guests wowed by the following quartet of show-stopping canapés: Smoked Lincolnshire Poacher puff with chicken and apple salad, spicy tomato pickle and crispy skin; Loch Duart beetroot cured salmon, rye cracker, bergamot and dill mayonnaise; Lincolnshire hot smoked trout on Tattie scones with crème fraiche and lemon caviar; Crispy dark rye with pickled golden beetroot, pear gel and cranberry granola (vegan friendly).

Happily for those without a ticket to the event on 14 February 2016, Anton has adapted his canapé menu specially for preparing at home. These new recipes are straightforward to follow, allowing you to bring a flourish of Hollywood glitz to your next dinner party. Find them on the 195 Piccadilly website.

Christmas party planning tips to banish bad weather blues

Quick! It’s raining and dreary. Push cocktails and sun-soaked evening barbeques to the back of your mind and seize this miserable introduction to AW15 to start daydreaming about the most epic of Christmas parties, before everyone else does.

You’ve got to get in there quickly if you want a bite at the best London venues for your end of year bash, because it’s rain-soaked days like this that kickstart the festive fantasies and see the clever office elves begin their quest to plan enticing, amazing parties. Believe it or not, many companies start planning their Christmas events as early as March! Luckily, we’ve pulled together some tips to help focus your mind and get you into the festive zone fast.

1) Lock in the date

If you’re organising a company bash, first things first, fix your date. If it’s a company party for your staff, assess availability and preferences by reviewing diary dates with key members of staff in your next team meeting. For teams scattered across different offices, you could do this by running a poll, using a scheduling tool such as Doodle. Simply circulate the link to participate via email and you’ll soon have a tally of the most popular date options. Having first, second and third date options pencilled down will widen your pool of possible venues.

2) Theme for the majority

Dictating how people should have fun can be a recipe for a festive flop. Be sure to conjure up a Christmas concept that works for your audience and get the formal versus informal balance right. Are they a ‘slap-up lunch down the pub’, fuss-free sort of crowd, or are they adventurous extroverts who’d shun anything less than a fancy dress theme, a red carpet entrance and cocktail-fuelled antics at a headline-grabbing venue?

Over-engineered itineraries may please some but horrify others, so while budget is a big factor in what’s possible, be careful to always plan your Christmas party with the majority of your target audience front of mind. What would they see as an end-of-year treat that says thank you for their hard work? An opportunity to dress up and attend a glitzy, themed party with other companies at a unique London venue? A corporate away-day featuring interactive team building activities and a sit-down meal? Or maybe a private hire-out of a pub or bar, with self-service buffet, for all staff and their partners?

Creating an event that’s unique and memorable just requires a little imagination and a good knowledge of your audience. Just be sure to consider the after effects of a free-flowing bar and the impact on productivity the next day if you choose a week night!

3) Kill 37 birds with one stone!

Why spend hours trawling Google using every search term under the sun when you could save huge amounts of time with a free venue finding service like The Westminster Collection? If you know you want a central London venue, you know the style of event you’re looking to achieve, you’ve got your proposed dates, and you’re open to recommendations, this free venue finding service can slice through the noise and deliver you up to 37 options of venues, ranging from luxury hotels and private members clubs, to river boats, quirky Grade I and II listed venues, iconic tourist attractions, museums and trendy restaurants.

These venues offer their own unique, off-the-shelf packages such as shared party nights, exclusive hire deals and Christmas lunch or dinner deals, or more bespoke planning services. A service like The Westminster Collection really can make your party planning pain free. Why not come along to our free venue showcase on Friday 18 September for some festive venue inspiration?

4) Don’t skimp on the food or drink

Nothing says ‘we value you’ more than an indulgent spread of festive food. Work with your venue caterer to plan the very best menu your budget will buy, whether it’s a sit-down meal, a drinks reception with canapés, or a self-service buffet. Let your venue help you make clever choices and advise on the most practical types of food for sociable party settings. Avoiding smelly foods will help out people’s networking efforts, as will lighter choices for the folks who’d like to avoid an impending food coma and uncomfortable bloat in their party frocks.

Set menus offering three choices of starter, main and dessert can help your guests pace themselves responsibly, as well as being budget friendly for you, the organiser. Keep the bar well stocked too and ensure people have access to adequate top-ups of alcohol and free-flowing soft drinks to keep them quenched and in the party mood through to the end of the night. There’s nothing worse than a bar running dry to kill the vibe and see the DJ left rocking the dancefloor on his lonesome!


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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.

Westminster spotlight: Mayfair & Belgravia

Whether greasing your fingers at trendy munch spots Burger & Lobster or Goodman, or indulging in refined gourmet dining at the likes of Le Gavroche, Benares or Munaro are your personal style, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the well-heeled Westminster districts of Mayfair and Belgravia, which encircle iconic Buckingham Palace and border Hyde Park.

Refined London at its best, these enchanting streets house private estates, secluded gardens, luxury hotels and private members clubs aplenty, creating a destination for designer brands, wealthy residents, fashionable foodies and classy events.

Here are our favourite Mayfair and Belgravia haunts perfect for everything from drinks parties and standing receptions, to product launches, film screenings, private dinners and conferences:

BAFTA - Run Run Shaw TheatreBAFTA 195 Piccadilly
Nestled in the heart of Mayfair above the hustle and bustle of one of London’s busiest streets is BAFTA, home to some of film and television’s most iconic histories. The venue has five event spaces that are all available for exclusive hire, and at certain times of the year the venue can be hired as an entirety allowing the ultimate atmosphere of exclusivity. Accommodating numbers between 50 and 350 BAFTA offers a real versatility for a wide range of events. Within the Princess Anne Theatre space is an incredible state of the art cinema system which can play anything from timeless classics to the latest 3D blockbuster.

 

Athenaeum HotelThe Athenaeum Hotel
Combining the comfort of a family run business with the elegance of a 5* central London location is The Athenaeum Hotel. Located just a stone’s throw from Green Park and adjacent to Buckingham Palace, the venue’s location is truly spectacular. The events spaces range from 20 to 100 delegate capacity making it ideal for more intimate and personal occasions and with fresh fruit, unlimited bottled water and plasma TVs included as standard, The Athenaeum really does go the extra mile to ensure your event runs flawlessly. The venue has also launched a ‘Pick and Mix’ offer for meetings packages allowing you to receive a day delegate rate of £75pp and to enhance your package with a complimentary extra including a complimentary glass of champagne after your event. For more information please visit www.athenaeumhotel.com/events/meetings/piccadilly-pick-n-mix/

The RAF Club BallroomThe Royal Air Force Club
Opened in 1922, The RAF Club is ideally located along the edges of Green Park. A beautiful and historic building, it seamlessly combines fantastic history with contemporary facilities and interiors. Not to be missed at The RAF club is the incredible Badge Corridor containing an unrivaled selection of original squadron badges. The event spaces can accommodate between 20 and 200 guests all with complimentary WiFi and audio visual equipment.

 

 

 

The Chesterfield Mayfair
The Chesterfield Mayfair is a secluded and exceptional hotel with six events spaces catering for 50-150 guests, with an elegant yet welcoming home-away-from-home atmosphere. The Conservatory Room boasts marble floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and can seat up to 40 guests. On booking your event you will be assigned your own personal events manager who will guide you through the entire process and allow you to relax and enjoy every moment.

 

 

RIGB_JoannaandMarksWeddingTheatreThe Royal Institution of Great Britain
Grade I listed and established more than 200 years ago The Royal Institution of Great Britain, has history at it’s very core and has been at the forefront of scientific discovery, innovation and communication for two centuries. Sensitively restored it boasts a 440-seat theatre which is available for exclusive hire and throughout its collection of event spaces there are capacities for between 30 and 600, meaning there are endless possibilities when booking an event at The Royal Institution.

 

 

Lansdowne ClubThe Lansdowne Club
If exclusivity is what you are looking for then The Lansdowne Club in the heart of Mayfair has plenty to offer. Built in 1763 before being converted into a social club in 1935, it is now an exclusive members club offering a variety of options for your central London event. Perfect for business or pleasure the spaces on offer can cater for between 50 and 200 guests in a variety of seating styles. The spectacular library seats up to 100 guests and showcases jam-packed bookcases covering the walls, providing a unique vocal point for your event.

 

 

 

 

 

Club_Library_CaledonianClubThe Caledonian Club
Originally built for Hugh Morrison, a wealthy politician and land owner in 1891, The Caledonian Club is a little piece of Scotland in the heart of Belgravia. Showcasing their versatile events spaces, all with a quintessential Scottish flavour, the venue can accommodate between 50 and 250 guests. Function guests access the event using an exclusive private entrance meaning your event has an air of sophistication from the moment your guests arrive.

 

 

Great HallImperial College London (Knightsbridge)
Variety is in no short supply at Imperial College London as it offers more than 200 unique events spaces in the cultural heartland of Exhibition Road. Available for as few as 20 or as many as 620 guests, the options truly are plentiful. The venue is centered in an historic location, surrounded by historic heavyweights such as The Victoria and Albert and Natural History Museums. The Queen’s Lawn space, available for up to 700 people, can be hired as a stand-alone space or paired with The Queen’s Tower which is accessible using a marqueed walkway onto the lawn, bringing the outside in and allowing a spacious and airy feel. Booking a summer party before 15th May entitles you to 15% off with BBQ menus and Pimm’s on arrival. Find out more and visit www3.imperial.ac.uk/conferenceandevents/specialpromotions/summerparties

BAFTA draws crowd for annual Westminster venue showcase

Friday 10th October saw more than 150 event buyers gather at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly to discover and network with dozens of central London’s best event venues, brought together over breakfast by London venue marketing consortium The Westminster Collection (TWC).

It was TWC’s annual venue showcase, Destination Westminster, held once a year to create an opportunity for people who organise events to enjoy productive, face-to-face conversations with venue representatives from some of London’s finest historic institutes and societies, dedicated conference venues, river boat venues, luxury hotels, museums, tourist attractions, private members clubs and concert halls.

Guests in attendance came from a mixture of integrated marketing agencies, event agencies, charities, embassies, government organisations, law firms, accountancy firms, retailers and tour operators.

BAFTA 195 Piccadilly took the opportunity to showcase its bright and airy David Lean Room and Foyer Bar, as guests posed for twitter and Instagram photos alongside iconic BAFTA masks and enjoyed indulgent, sweet and savoury breakfast treats including cinnamon toast with roast banana on a chocolate milk shot, and spinach, potato and goats cheese tortilla with smashed avocado.

Guests then loaded up their pick ‘n’ mix bags with breakfast themed treats from the sweetie bar before seizing the chance to make like the stars by taking their seats in BAFTA’s illustrious Princess Anne Theatre. Here they watched short screenings of candid interviews with Hollywood film stars including the late Robin Williams and Tom Hanks, as well as British talents Idris Elba and Ricky Gervais.

Speaking of the event, Allyson Hargreaves, board director for The Westminster Collection says, “We always look forward to this event. It provides great sales leads for our venues and we hope serves to raise awareness of the excellent, free venue finding and event enquiry tools The Westminster Collection offers to event planners via our website. There are few events that offer such an intimate opportunity to network and have meaningful business conversations in a relaxed environment.”

You’re invited! REGISTER NOW

TWC showcase - register now

 

 

RSVP now to secure your attendance at London’s finest event venue showcase, The Westminster Collection’s ‘Destination Westminster 2014’, this year being held at the iconic BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. Famously the home of British film, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly is looking forward to opening its doors to event planners from all across London and beyond for a productive morning of networking, event planning and conversation with 43 of the city’s most celebrated venues, available for corporate or private hire.

Exclusively promoting venues within central London’s City of Westminster – which encompasses Pimlico in the south, to Regent’s Park in the north and from the borders of Kensington in the west, to Covent Garden in the east – guests of this enjoyable breakfast networking event can look forward to discovering luxury hotels, world-renowned conference centres, training facilities, historic institutes and societies, celebrated attractions, galleries, museums and private members clubs.

It’s free to attend. All you need to do is click here to register!

TWC showcase - register now

 

 

For updates follow @Venues_Wminster #DestinationWestminster

Claim your tasty ticket to our BAFTA showcase at stand G19 at The Meetings Show

Event buyers wanting an easy route to finding exceptional, centrally located London venues can look forward to Friday 10th October, when we will lift the curtain on our annual venue showcase, Destination Westminster 2014, taking place at the celebrated home of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, 8am – 11am. Event organisers can claim their tasty ticket to register by popping over to The Westminster Collection on stand G19 at The Meetings Show, 8th-10th July at Olympia, London, where all will be revealed.

The Destination Westminster 2014 breakfast showcase event at BAFTA, which is free to attend, is an opportunity for anyone in the business of booking corporate and private events, meetings and conferences to spend a morning with the sales and marketing teams at more than 45 of central London’s most iconic venues. We’re renowned for our eclectic portfolio of member venues, which encompass everything from historic institutes and societies, colleges, museums and private members clubs, to luxury hotels, concert halls, modern training venues, churches and Thames river boats.

All visitors to TWC stand G19 at The Meetings Show will also be in with a chance of winning one of a handful of luxury Westminster experiences, including an afternoon tea for four at The Rag – Army & Navy Club and a one-night stay for two, including breakfast and an exclusive dinner at Bistro, at St James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, London.

We still have a limited selection of diary appointments available for buyers wanting a more dedicated introduction to the Collection. Register now using invitation code EXIN14.

Eventbrite - Destination Westminster 2014: London Venue Showcase

London attractions welcomed record-breaking 34m visitors in 2013

London’s visitor attractions have experienced a 12% increase in visitor numbers, according to statistics released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today. With the top 10 attractions being based in London, and the city on course to welcome more than 16 million overseas visitors in one year, 2013 has been a record-breaker for the capital.

The most popular visitor attraction in 2013 remained The British Museum, which saw a 20% increase in its visitor numbers to 6,701,036 – making it the museum’s most successful year on record. In second place, was the National Gallery, which saw a 14% increase to 6,031,574 and in third place was the Natural History Museum, with 5,356,884.

Julie Chappell, director of consumer marketing and digital channels at London & Partners, said, “London’s cultural offering is unparalleled. We have a fantastically diverse range of attractions that showcase not only the history and heritage of our city, but also the wide range of cultural attractions. As the home to some of the most significant museums and landmarks in the world, it’s not surprising that 76% of visitors to London come to enjoy its world-class museums and galleries.”

Bernard Donoghue, Director, ALVA (The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions), noted that “London’s attractions had a fantastic year last year: new must-see exhibitions, great weather, superb new facilities like Tiger Territory at London Zoo, all contributed to record tourism figures for London – tipped to be nearly 16 million visitors in one year. Overseas visitors especially love their time at London’s attractions and tell us that our museums, galleries and heritage are the number one reason to visit our city.”

The top 10 attractions, amassing more than 34 million visits, are:

1. British Museum – 6,701,036
2. National Gallery – 6,031,574
3. Natural  History Museum – 5,356,884
4. Tate Modern – 4,884,939
5. Science Museum – 3,316,00
6. V & A – 3,290,500
7. Tower of London – 2,894,698
8. Somerset House Trust – 2,398,066
9. St Paul’s Cathedral – 2,138,130
10. Westminster Abbey – 2,020,637