Event buyers enjoyed business breakfast at Victory Services Club

On Friday, 15 July, member venue Victory Services Club (VSC) showcased its newly refurbished El Alamein & Trafalgar Suite to event buyers, industry professionals and fellow member venues, at a breakfast networking event.

Guests enjoyed delicious breakfast samples prepared by the venue’s executive chef and a chilled glass of prosecco while they networked with other attendees and explored the new and improved events space.

Rosa Davies, events manager at VSC commented on the event: “After investing £1.5 million into the new space and adjoining state-of-the-art banqueting kitchen, we were very proud to share the new rooms with fellow event professionals and would like to thank all those who attended. It was a pleasure to host you and we look forward to seeing you at the many more TWC events in the future.”

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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Christmas parties unwrapped
Get Christmas Licked! Venue Showcase

Christmas parties unwrapped

Deck the halls, hang your stockings and mull the wine because Christmas 2015 is on its way and no doubt Father Christmas has already set his elves to work. If you are yet to wrap-up your Christmas plans don’t panic, there is still a sleigh-full of options to make your Christmas party sparkle and we have rounded them up into one easy parcel.

If all-out themes and wall-to-wall sparkle is what you are after then 8 Northumberland Avenue, QEII Centre and No.11 Cavendish Square should be at the top of your list.

Less than 60 seconds away from Trafalgar Square and steeped in Victorian History, 8 Northumberland Avenue is going all out for Christmas 2015 with not one but two themes. They are transforming their Ballroom into a Great Gatsby inspired Vintage Affair and their Old Billiard Room and Annex will be covered in Christmas Market loveliness for A Winter’s Avenue. Seated lunches start from £95pp + VAT and dinner packages from £110 + VAT.

QEII Centre presents Christmas at the OscarsNot to be outdone, QEII Centre is offering up the ultimate A list party for Christmas at the Oscars. Feel like a superstar at one of London’s most iconic conference venues and walk the red carpet into your Christmas event. A stand up buffet starts from £43pp + VAT and packages include a photographer to act as your personal paparazzi for the night meaning you will really celebrate Christmas in style.

Christmas at No.11 Cavendish SquareNo.11 Cavendish Square is transforming into an authentic Ski Lodge this Christmas complete with burning log fire, antlers and wooden decorations. Feel like you are right in the heart of the Alps as No.11 Cavendish Square has every aspect covered from gazing at the Northern Lights to enjoying an exquisite dinner in the Glass House. Packages include exclusive room hire, unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks and a DJ and start from £110pp+ VAT for groups of up to 300.

For the more traditional amongst you there are plenty of venues keeping it simple with their Christmas offerings. At One Great George Street their ‘One Great Christmas’ will be filled with all the best of Christmas tradition including crackers and mulled wine as well as canapés and three-course meal packages. Packages are available from 28th November to 22nd December 2015 and start from £44.50pp + VAT.

From festive afternoon teas to champagne receptions and decadent five-course meals, The Athenaeum Hotel, conveniently located just nine minutes’ walk from Buckingham Palace, is serving up everything a traditional Christmas in the city needs. Available from Monday 16th to Thursday 31st December from £45pp their menus include roast turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding with Brandy sauce.

Army & Navy Club Library RoomTradition and military history go hand in hand and at the Army and Navy Club you are guaranteed to enjoy your Christmas party enveloped in British history dating back to 1837. The club, situated in London’s Mayfair, was first opened by Queen Victoria and is now one of the city’s most distinguished private members clubs. Christmas dinner packages start from £75pp and include a welcome drink, three-course meal, coffee and mince pies.

Blueboar Christmas lunchConrad London St James is offering up all the best and most traditional things about Christmas all wrapped up in two neat packages: The Christmas Cracker lunch package and The Jingle Bell Rock dinner package. Lunch events are £70pp and you can enjoy an evening affair for £95pp. Both packages include a three-course meal and room hire and both can be tailored to your individual needs.

If a traditional Christmas doesn’t quite light up your tree then why not try something a little more unique this year?

The centre of the British film industry and home to some iconic pieces of motion picture history, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly guarantees to throw you a star-sprinkled bash complete with red carpet, really giving your event the A-list edge. Booking an event with BAFTA comes complete with your very own alchemist to conjure up a personalised cocktail for the evening and packages start from £120pp + VAT for minimum numbers of 80.

hqs wellingtonAlso offering something a little more unusual is HQS Wellington. Step off dry land onto the iconic River Thames and soak up the stunning views of the South Bank and the London Eye while enjoying a Christmas party to remember. The ship is offering the complete package from welcome drinks of mulled wine to a three-course festive dinner before dancing the night away with music provided by a top DJ.

The festive season is a great time to take advantage of offers and 2015 is no exception. London Film Museum is not only home to 100 exhibit items that include vehicles, models, original production art, props and vintage memorabilia that span over 50 years of James Bond history, they are also offering 20% off venue hire for all Westminster Collection clients. The offer is valid on all parties booked before 20th September 2015 and with the latest in the Bond franchise hitting cinemas in November it is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas in style.

St James Theatre scallopsSt. James Theatre is a unique, award-winning arts complex in central London less than five minutes away from Victoria Station. The theatre prides itself on providing a cultural and theatrical platform for shows and productions with plans to conquer the West End. The venue has a capacity for 120 cabaret style and this Christmas they are offering a free glass of prosecco per person for all group bookings of eight or more confirmed by 30th September, because Christmas isn’t Christmas without a little fizz.

Also offering some seasonal savings is Victory Services Club. Set in the heart of London just five minutes’ walk away from Marble Arch, the club has seven versatile meeting rooms and is accredited with a gold award by the Meetings Industry Association guaranteeing quality of service. Exclusive to The Westminster Collection event bookers, Victory Services Club is offering 10% discount on any Christmas party booking, plus a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival for all bookings made by 16th October.

So whether it’s all the glitz and glamour you can lay your hands on or a quiet traditional Christmas meal in a historical setting that will make your Christmas events wish come true, Westminster has every taste and preference covered to celebrate in style for 2015. Explore now and if you want to enquire at all 30+ venues from our collection, you can do this with one simple form here.

We’re also hosting a special Christmas themed venue showcase this 18th September at {10-11} Carlton House Terrace. Find your perfect Christmas or New Year party destination, or fuel your planning for conferences, fashions shows, awards dinners and more, with a showcase of Westminster’s finest venues, complete with exclusive offers, arts and crafts, competitions and giveaways. It’s free to register. Simply click here.

‘Get Christmas Licked!’ Venue Showcase

Throw on your reindeer antlers and trot on down to 10-11 Carlton House Terrace this September, for festive frolics and good fun with more than 35 of Westminster’s finest venues. This year, Christmas cheer and creative, seasonal theming bring together a selection of unusual, historical, modern and exciting events destinations to inspire and entice.

Special offers, arts and crafts workshops, competitions and giveaways will all serve to introduce you to our wealth of individually unique central London properties, whether it’s late Christmas and New Year parties and drinks receptions you’re looking to organise, or forward planning for conferences, product launches, fashion shows, awards dinners, concerts and more into next year and beyond.

Meet friendly teams from luxury hotels, private members clubs, concert halls, museums and attractions, river boats, modern and traditional conference centres, historic institutes and societies. Enjoy one-on-one discussions in a dedicated and relaxed environment and fill your little black book with great new contacts, venue ideas, theming notes and confirmed diary dates for the personalised venue tours you’ve been able to organise with your new connections.

The Westminster Collection’s annual venue showcase is free to attend, subject to qualifying criteria. Register now! We look forward to seeing you in September.

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

Army & Navy Club to host talk on Britain’s war time songs

Join The Army & Navy Club at an interactive talk by Oskar Cox-Jenson, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Music Department of King’s College London, on Wednesday 3 June. Oskar’s talk will explore the songs and battle ballads as sung by British soldiers marching on Paris, by romantic poets in London Parlours and, most importantly, by ordinary men and women in Britain’s streets, homes and pubs.

The Waterloo Singers, a group of folk musicians and historians specialising in the music of the Napoleonic Wars, will accompany Oskar during the talk, which promises to bring to life the Waterloo songs in all its grisly tragedy and raw emotion – be it treason, pride, love or hatred.

The talk will commence promptly at 18.00 at the Army & Navy Club (36 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JN). Please allow approximately one hour for the talk.

There is no charge to attend the event, however tickets must be pre-booked by contacting Elana Kruger by emailing Club@TheRag.co.uk by Monday 1st June 2015.

Westminster spotlight: Magnificent Marylebone

Majestic Georgian squares and terraces, Edwardian and Victoria mansion flats and pretty mews houses marry with fresh-off-the-catwalk fashion boutiques, bustling independent coffee shops and luxury hotels to create the animated and cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Marylebone.

For a zone one, central London destination, Marylebone’s cosy village vibe creates a charm that sees it consistently one of the most sought-after places to live in the capital. Its venue scene is exciting too with a treasure trove of knock-out spaces available to hire and theme for parties, dinners, meetings, conferences and other events. Here are 5 of our favourites:

Weave off Oxford Street in the direction of Regent’s Park and discover four fabulous venues a stone’s throw from the cut-and-thrust shopping strip.

No.11 orangery & courtyardNo.11 Cavendish Square, bordering the gated public garden behind John Lewis, is one of the few venues in London with outside space of its own. Marvel at the lush green ‘living wall’ and candle-lit water feature in the courtyard garden while you perch on high stools with a glass of something tasty in your hand. It’s a treat of a space for drinks receptions and alfresco dining in the warmer months, linking with the ever-stunning Orangery, the Grade II listed townhouse’s light-flooded room popular for wedding receptions, dinners, exhibitions and networking events.

Some 30 event spaces, with capacity for up to 300, flood four floors within this contemporary venue, which maintains many of the period features installed when it was built during the reign of King George III. Several large lecture theatres, break-out rooms, board rooms and conference suites combine high specification AV technology with service and facilities worthy of sought-after AIM Gold accreditation.

20 Cavendish Square - Council Room

On the opposite side of the gated garden is 20 Cavendish Square, home of the Royal College of Nursing with its fine Georgian mansion exterior and recently refurbished interiors. The new RCN Library and Heritage Centre is a great space for members and the public and includes a cafe, library, seminar room, archive centre and merchandise shop, while the 14 conference and meeting rooms offer bright and airy spaces for all types of corporate and private events. The Council Room is particularly beautiful with its intricate 1930s glass dome ceiling, connecting with Cowdray Hall to create an ideal space for evening drink receptions.

Further towards Regent’s Park, on peaceful Duchess Mews, is 2014’s ‘Best Conference Venue for up to 350 delegates’, as named at last year’s Conference Venue & Supplier Awards. Cavendish Conference Centre enjoys a great reputation for customer service and has been designed and built with the business user in mind, featuring state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and bright, spacious and modern facilities.

Cavendish Auditorium 3 screens

The bright, tiered auditorium seats 250 guests and is as well suited to exclusive use as it is to corporate AGMs, multi-day government conferences or evening training seminars. The accompanying Whittington Suite can be split into four sections and can comfortably host table-top exhibitions, while two additional break-out rooms, named after Great Portland Street and the neighbouring Harley Street in medical heartland, can host hot fork buffets, drinks receptions and workshops.

Take advantage of Cavendish Conference Centre’s regular special offers and incentives, such as 25% off Monday and Friday events.

RIBA Florence Hall TerraceStroll up onto Portland Place, and you’ll find RIBA Venues at number 66. As the conference and events arm of the Royal Institute of British Architects, it’s no surprise that this architectural gem boasts an array of stand-out Art Deco inspired features, some of which have provided the backdrop to films and fashion shows.

Ascend the grand marble stairs, dine by candlelight in the Florence Hall surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and exceptional craftsmanship, or enjoy drinks and canapés on one of three roof terraces. Top floor rooms offer sensational panoramic views of London, while elsewhere you can find a range of hireable spaces, from a small boardroom for eight to a large conference for 280, dinner for 250 or a drinks reception for 400.

Since the extension of the BBC building, the area has buzzed with A-list celebrities, some of whom have dined in the RIBA restaurant – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Geldof, Dermot O’Leary, Dom Joly, Ewan McGregor and Ryan Reynolds to name but a few. RIBA is also a regular host to exhibitions featuring world-class architecture drawings, models and photographs, which provide interesting eye candy to guests attending events at RIBA Venues. Venture inside and you’ll discover a book shop, a café and one of the finest architectural libraries in the world.

KK-VSC-0039Perched on the outer westerly edge of Marylebone district, a few minutes from Marble Arch, is the Victory Services Club, a prestigious Military Members Club for retired and serving members of the Armed Forces. Famed for outstanding service and AIM Gold standard facilities for meetings and events, this historic home of hospitality, which counts the Duchess of Cornwall as its patron, has 8 rooms available for hire for everything from reunion and regimental dinners, to major conferences, business launches, concerts and wedding receptions.

A recent partnership with a hotel agency allows the VSC to help clients source affordable hotel rooms for delegates and clients holding events on-site.

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.

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