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 venues@riba.org 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 robin.parker@churchhouseconf.co.uk

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!

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!

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For updates follow @Venues_Wminster #DestinationWestminster

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!

Balconies, roof terraces, city gardens: Westminster’s outdoor spaces

Little beats the buzz of London when the sun shines. People appear instantly rejuvenated and there’s a new-found energy that sees us immediately making plans, getting together for after-work drinks and generally finding any excuse possible to be outdoors rather than at home on the sofa.

With skies staying bright and light well into the evening, there’s no better time to seize these summer vibes and plan an event at one of central London’s ready-made outdoor hotspots.

Etc.venues Victoria, One Drummond Gate

Just steps from Pimlico station, discover a bigger-than-expected courtyard oasis tucked within the grounds of award-winning etc.venues Victoria at One Drummond Gate. Make yours a jug of Pimm’s or mojito and theirs a bucket of four beers (a reasonable £12 per jug or bucket) at a drinks-only reception, or for rumbling tummies, plan drinks around an informal, two-course barbeque for groups of 15 or more at £30 a head.

One Drummond Gate 2Sit on the grass, at tables, on wooden benches, or comfy outdoor sofas, whatever takes your fancy and if you’re planning an afternoon event, how about surprising delegates with a refined spot of al fresco afternoon tea, including a choice of four sandwiches, three cakes (£19pp) and even a glass of bubbly (increases to £25pp). Etc.venues Victoria’s garden is available for standalone hire, or as a bolt-on to a meeting, conference or teambuilding session in the adjoining Garden Suite, until 20th September. Pop in for a show round this month and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a picnic for you and 10 of your colleagues. Email Claire Bowman or call 020 3011 0990 to enquire.

No.11 Cavendish Square

At No.11 Cavendish Square, inhale the sweet and uplifting scent of juicy citrus trees within the venue’s glass-roofed Orangery, which leads onto a tranquil courtyard garden with a living wall and a candle-lit water feature. Bordering a popular garden square, just a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus, this Grade II listed townhouse is one of very few venues in London that can offer indoor-outdoor space for up to 200 guests. Add in the 100-capacity Garden Room, decorated in pretty floral and bird wallpaper and the space to entertain both inside and outside becomes substantial.No.11 orangery & courtyard

In the past The Orangery and Courtyard Garden have been used to host private events including weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, as well as parties and receptions for clients including the BBC, Christian Dior, Ben and Jerry’s and Elizabeth Arden. Summer party packages, including barbeque and cocktails, start from £84 per person. To enquire, call 020 7307 2474.

Westminster Abbey

If grand and globally significant landmarks are your thing, there’s nothing quite like securing private hire of Westminster Abbey’s College Garden. A hidden treasure that is not exuberantly advertised, this grassy green is nestled within the private grounds of the Abbey, hidden from the hoards of tourists busy getting their London culture fix in world-famous Parliament Square.

Westminster Abbey_College GardenWith stunning views of the Houses of Parliament and the Abbey itself, the garden can be hired for corporate receptions and dinners during summer events season, which typically runs from mid-June until mid-July. During this period a large 12 x 30-metre frame marquee is erected to one side of the green, capable of accommodating up to 500 guests for a drinks reception and 300 for a dinner. A handful of dates still remain for the summer season, but there is scope to arrange outside events at other times during the year. For further information and venue hire fees, contact the Abbey Events team on 020 7654 4913 or by email bookings@westminster-abbey.org.

116 Pall Mall

Hideaway garden parties are also on offer at 116 Pall Mall, home of the Institute of Directors. Starting from £55 per person, plan a canapés and drinks party for a minimum of 100 guests in the private terrace and garden, which includes use of the adjacent Carlton Room. This Grade I listed Regency venue is located a few minutes’ walk from Charing Cross and the team is happy to help arrange entertainment, marquee hire and customised food menus. Email functions@iod.com or call 020 7451 3107 to find out more.

No.4 Hamilton Place, Mayfair

No.4 Hamilton Place terraceView seekers keen to impress in stylish surroundings should investigate The Terrace at No.4 Hamilton Place, just off Park Lane. Elevated above the hustle and bustle of Mayfair, guests to this exclusive rooftop garden can peer out over panoramic views of London’s most popular royal park, the 350-acre Hyde Park.

Swathed in hot pink Pelargoniums and lush green foliage, the west-facing terrace is a real sun trap and a sought-after destination well suited to light summer dinners, bowl food receptions, canapé parties and barbeques. You’re guaranteed exclusive use and while patio heaters are available to counter evening chills, if wet weather creeps in, the adjoining and very ornate Argyll Room is available as part of your package, with an equal capacity for up to 200 guests. To enquire, call Aggi Bailey on 020 7670 4314 or email hello@4hp.org.uk.

Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate

At Central Hall Westminster, your guests can marvel at the landmarks for which London is so famous. Think Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square and the London Eye as you make your way up the beautiful Grand Staircase (a replica of the Paris Opera stairway) – or take an elevator – to the fourth floor Skyline Terrace, boasting incredible views of these iconic sights.Central Hall terrace

Perfect for VIP summer soirees or exclusive receptions for up to 100 people, the terrace was famously used by the world’s media to film the Royal Wedding in 2011 and it is connected to the indoor South Rotunda, a bright, circular room with skylight windows. It also offers direct access to the 2,200-seat Great Hall, boasting the largest domed ceiling of its kind in Europe. Talk your event through with the team on 020 7222 8010 or email enquiries@c-h-w.com.

RIBA, 66 Portland Place

Dominating the first floor of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is the magnificent Florence Hall, the largest and most exquisitely decorated room in this venue. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows and etched glass doors open out onto RIBA’s main roof terrace – one of three at the venue – which can be used as a shady and secluded area for conference breakout sessions in the daytime, or as a fabulous summer party area in the evenings, for up to 120 guests. Imaginative planting, contemporary furniture and discreet uplighting contrast and enhance the 1930s architecture of the building, with the terrace connecting effortlessly with the Florence Hall to create an enticing and sociable space in which to entertain. Book this year’s summer party (to be held in July or August 2013) before the end of July 2013 and quote “Summer Sizzler Offer” to claim a 10% discount on the venue hire.

RIBA terraceAlso at RIBA is the top-floor roof terrace connected to the Wren Room, which boasts panoramic views across London. A perfect spill-over for guests, the terrace comes as part of the hire package of The Wren Room, a space popular for meetings for up to 100 guests or dinner dances for up to 70. Email venues@riba.org or call 020 7307 3888 to enquire.

St Martin’s welcomes sunshine with launch of Café in the Courtyard

This May, St Martin-in-the-Fields is launching Café in the Courtyard, just behind the church. Open from late morning until sunset, Café in the Courtyard caters to both the local work force passing through for a quick coffee and the lunchtime picnicker hoping to catch a few rays of sunshine. In the evening, visitors can enjoy a drink and spot of dinner while catching up with friends and watching the world go by.

The inside will be open as usual, serving great food in the award-winning Café in the Crypt and hosting events from local and international clients. Whether it is a sizzling summer we see, or a bit of a washout, St Martin-in-the-Fields has a solution for both.

For more details on how to book your event at St Martin-in-the-Fields please click here to view the venue’s full profile and to enquire using our simple form.

College Garden summer hire dates released by Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is pleased to announce that summer season dates for hire of its beautiful College Garden have been confirmed as 17th June until 19th July.

With amazing views of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, College Garden is reputed to be one of the oldest gardens in London and we are delighted to be able to offer you the opportunity to host your lunchtime or evening event in this beautiful space.

Including the use of a marquee, College Garden has a maximum capacity of 500 for a reception, or up to 200 for a dinner. For further information or availability, please e-mail bookings@westminster-abbey.org.