Shepherd’s of Westminster announces weekend closures to focus on events

Shepherd’s of Westminster has announced  its bar and restaurant will no longer be opening at weekends or on bank holidays .to concentrate on functions such as milestone birthdays, engagement parties and significant wedding anniversaries.

An application has also been submitted for a licence to perform civil marriages and civil partnerships on the premises which, if granted, would mean ceremonies could take place in the larger private dining room, whilst the main bar and restaurant would be set up for receptions and wedding breakfasts.

Proprietor Lionel Zetter said: “Many Westminster residents spend their weekends outside of London, and Saturdays and Sundays have always been quiet for us. By switching the emphasis to events over the weekend we hope to fill a gap caused by a shortage of elegant but affordable events venues in central London. We very much hope that our neighbours in the Westminster and Pimlico areas will consider using our facilities when celebrating landmark occasions.”

To find out more about booking Shepherd’s of Westminster for your next event, please contact info@shepherdsrestaurant.co.uk.

The House of Commons launches new menus

The House of Commons has launched its new menus ready for Autumn and Winter 2016. Whether you are looking for a free range chicken breast or a classic beef Wellington their wide range of dishes will help create a memorable feast for your next event.
The House of Commons offer an extensive range of poultry, game, meat and fish to ensure that your guests are well fed and its award-winning pastry chef uses seasonal fruits and ingredients to ensure that the desserts are the perfect end to a delicious meal.
The sourcing wherever possible of the best regional and organic produce is at the heart of all their banqueting menus. The South of England has some of the finest producers and suppliers in the UK and the House of Commons are delighted to champion their fabulous produce.
View the menus here.

London breakfast hang-outs to supercharge your 9-5 day

Whether it’s the first thing you think about when you wake up or it’s a quick grab on the way to work, breakfast still remains the most important meal of the day. With London Breakfast Meetings Week returning this October (5-9th) there is no better time to kick start your day with something special.

Breakfast is often an undervalued time of the day but a meeting of minds over a delectable Danish or two can actually increase productivity, save money and help kick start your day. Here we highlight some great breakfast meet-up spots in Westminster.

At the Army and Navy Club, just a stone’s throw from St James’s Park, they offer a budget busting breakfast with a selection of breakfast pastries and coffee for just £5.50. A continental and Full English breakfast total £12 or £15.50 respectively. Breakfast at the Army and Navy Club also provides for the more health conscious with energy boosting items like eggless omelette on the menu to supercharge your day.

To find out more about Breakfast Meetings at the Army & Navy Club and how their spread can enhance your meeting agenda, contact Elana Kruger on Club@TheRag.co.uk or call 020 7827 8031.

Also providing a health-packed breakfast to set you up for the day is 8 Northumberland Avenue, London’s most central venue. Their brain-boosting breakfast packages include superfoods such as avocado, goji berries and coconuts, ensuring you are alert and engaged for your morning meeting. Sitting just moments from Trafalgar Square, the venue has a wide variety of events spaces and can accommodate up to 600 delegates.

A short walk down The Mall from 8 Northumberland Avenue is Conrad London St. James conveniently located opposite St James’s Park tube station. The hotel’s restaurant, The Blue Boar, offers contemporary British dining and has two spaces that can be hired privately, connected to the main restaurant by a floor-to-ceiling wine wall.

The Blue Boar offers a classic breakfast menu including ‘The Full English’, Omelette Arnold Bennett and their ‘Wellbeing Breakfast’, where guests can chose between bircher muesli, fruit salad and other healthy treats. Breakfast is served between 6.30–10.30am, Monday to Friday and the full menu can be found here.

Moving from the modern to the historic, One Great George Street offers a more relaxed and informal buffet style breakfast set in a magnificent Grade II listed, four-domed, Edwardian building. With 21 function rooms accommodating up to 450 guests, the venue suits a vast variety of breakfast meetings, events and conferences. With everything from sun-blushed tomato and Caerphilly cheese scones, to individual goji and cranberry bircher muesli, the variety on offer at One Great George Street doesn’t just end at the events spaces.

Enjoy a variety of brilliant breakfast deals across Westminster this September, including 10% off breakfast when booking a meeting at the family-owned, five-star The Athenaeum Hotel. The hotel has three meeting spaces and can cater for up to 100 guests, with a focus on personalisation, so your wish is truly their command.

Breakfast meetings really are a smart choice for anyone looking to hold a meeting or conference. They allow you to catch your colleagues at their most dynamic and creative, make better use of the working day and are kinder to the budget. Find out more about hosting meetings over breakfast by getting involved in London Breakfast Meetings Week 2015.

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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Best London venues for cocktails and canapes

Summer 2015 has undoubtedly arrived (whether or not it is here to stay is another matter) and glorious sunshine, lighter evenings and rising temperatures creates the perfect atmosphere to indulge in tantalising cocktails and delectable canapés. Whether you are an undercover 00 agent and like to keep it simple with a martini (shaken not stirred of course) or you are looking for something brimming with colour and paper adornments, we have rounded up 7 of the top places to enjoy cocktails and canapés in London this summer.

For the more politically astute amongst you, you may already be aware that {10-11} Carlton House Terrace is the former home of Prime Minister William Gladstone. The venue has much more to offer too. Set the summer scene by sipping on a mojito jug while absorbing the rich, historical tapestry of the building itself. Cocktails start from £7.50 and {10-11} Carlton House Terrace can accommodate up to 600 for an evening reception, all just a 10 minute walk from Charing Cross Station.

Continuing the political theme, five minutes away from Hyde Park and Victoria is a venue steeped in Scottish heritage, The Caledonian Club, which was originally built for Hugh Morrison. Sensitively restored, the venue combines rich historical architecture with the latest in corporate technology. Perfect for ambient summer dining, The Caledonian Club offers a wide range of hot and cold canapés and refreshing cocktails which can all be enjoyed on the venue’s terrace which has a capacity of 50, reception style.

Moored on the Thames by the Embankment, the HQS Wellington offers a memorable backdrop for summer parties. Her prime Thames location affords sweeping views of the South Bank from the Shard to the London Eye, with added interest from 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 team provides a fine dining experience including cocktails and a mouth-watering barbecue.

Those searching for a more cinematic experience might prefer to enjoy their cocktail (unfortunately not made by Tom Cruise) at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. The venue marries a prime location with a wide range of cocktails and their culinary team were behind the cocktails and canapés served at the 2015 BAFTAs. The venue is available for exclusive hire at certain times and has a capacity of 150 for a standing reception.

Set in the heart of Westminster is the six-story Edwardian Broadway House. Having achieved AIM accreditation and a Conference Centre of Excellence, the venue has everything needed to create a memorable and successful event. The venue can cater for up to 80 with a canapé reception designed by their team of skilled chefs, and with 12 rooms to choice from you really are spoilt for choice.

Experience the ever-changing and diverse London skyline at Central Hall Westminster, with an unrivalled location opposite Westminster Abbey and adjacent to The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the views are guaranteed to wow your guests. The terrace can accommodate 60 guests for a standing reception, ideal to enjoy the extensive canapés on offer.

Open seven days a week is the Ribbon Bar and Terrace at the Army and Navy Club set right on the edge of St James’s Park. The venue offers incredible views of the surrounding areas as well as classic cocktails including Dry Martini and Paul’s Bloody Mary made with Dry Sherry. Families are welcome at The Army and Navy Club until 5.30pm and they can accommodate up to 200 for a drinks reception.

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!

Six extraordinary dining experiences #InsideTheCommons

The sensational interiors of the House of Commons will go on show to the public later this month as this unique venue releases a limited number of places to six extraordinary dining experiences in its Members’ Dining Room.

Offering a rare opportunity to dine within this iconic building, the House of Commons is delighted to invite bookings for 3-course menu experiences on 31 March, 1 April, 8 April, 9 April, 28 April and 29 April 2015.

Special permission granting rare access to this historic, members-only dining room comes as Members of Parliament ready themselves for the upcoming General Election, taking themselves away from the House of Commons to focus on campaigning.

The Members’ Dining Room menu focuses on fine British cuisine, with a 3-course menu and coffee priced at £35 per person.

Diners can take in the impressive surroundings, adorned with wooden sculptures, beautiful flock wallpaper and historic paintings. Previously intended as a conference room called the ‘Painted Chamber’, the Members’ Dining Room offers the perfect dining space and an ornate Royal coat of Arms sits proudly above the entrance.

Book a table online and begin your exploration of the rooms available for hire for corporate and private events here.

Whisky Socials at the Athenaeum

The Athenaeum Hotel is home to one of the biggest collections of whiskies in London, with over 300 varieties and counting. They aim to get their hands on every new expression they can, so that you can enjoy the widest possible choice on their whisky menu.

The bar is warm and welcoming, the perfect place to meet before going out or after returning to the hotel in the evening. It’s surprisingly discreet and full of quiet corners. Tuck yourself away with a paper. Enjoy a quiet romantic moment. The atmosphere is always merry. Not sure where to start or just want to know more? Work your way through the hotel’s extensive menu and read about drams from the Scottish Highlands to Japan, all with the help of their expert Whisky Sommelier.

The Athenaeum Hotel also hosts monthly whisky socials for guests and other whisky enthusiasts in its beautiful Hyde Park suite on the last Friday of every month. This unique and exclusive event pairs a different whisky with a specially selected menu and is presented by resident whisky Sommelier Ivo Silva and the brand ambassador from the respective whisky distillery.

To find out about the next Whisky Social please call 0207 640 3311 or email the events team on whisky@athenaeumhotel.com.