London – our capital city, is as fascinating as it is diverse. With insanely difficult geography to master (black cab drivers’ Knowledge test covers no less than 25,000 streets and about 20,000 landmarks), a GDP significantly larger than several European Countries (including Belgium and Sweden) and the oldest underground railway network in the world, when it comes to choosing a venue in London it can feel like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Having a large event to source a venue for narrows down your search slightly, however you are still looking at hundreds of possibilities. Our clients’ briefs range hugely from event to event; target audience, budget, business sector and purpose all play a part, but we like to add a bit of our own knowledge and experience to the venue selection process. Yes, you might know the capacity of the venue, but we can advise on what sets it apart and how it fits your brief, to create a shortlist of options that really grab you.
We asked our team of London venue finding experts for their thoughts, so in no particular order here are five of our favourite large event venues in London and why:
1. QEII Centre London
Central London’s largest conference space, the key to the QEII is its sheer size. With six floors to choose from (not including the mezzanine), this flagship venue can host up to 2,500 delegates, and draws high profile events from both the UK and Internationally. Event planners can take over an entire floor should they wish, enabling them to make the most of a dedicated area to direct delegates, and a built in catering area with plenty of natural daylight. Their website even offers an interactive floor plan which is very helpful in navigating such a large building.
2. Old Billingsgate
In the heart of the city on the banks of the River Thames, this Grade II listed building definitely has the wow factor. Offering three versatile and distinctive spaces; from the stunning triple-height sky lit ceiling in The Grand Hall, the exposed brickwork and vaulted ceilings of The Vault to the sleek contemporary lines in The Gallery, there is plenty to here to give your event that something special. Old Billingsgate also has some great outdoor space, a bit of a USP in a crowded city.
3. Hawker House
Over the past four years, Street Feast has transformed warehouses, car parks and office blocks into must-see destinations. Derelict buildings are given a new lease of life, and Hawker House is no exception. A warehouse that can house 2,000 people, just five minutes from Canada Water, it is more like a miniature town. Nine bars and fourteen independent street food traders provide everything from lobster to Thai street barbeque and capacity is increased by a further 1,000 guests in the summer months with the addition of the ‘The Land of Bamboo’; outdoor space filled with sand pits, trampolines, tiki huts and a giant towering fire pit. Funky, fresh and fun.
4. Battersea Evolution
The only limits to this purpose built venue are your imagination. A classic blank canvas set in the heart of the London, it has capacity to host up to 4,000 in conference or 2,000 for dinners, and as a stand-alone, exclusive hire venue event planners can take over the site and make it completely their own. Boasting 5,650sqm of event space Battersea Evolution has played host to awards ceremonies, product launches, conferences, gala dinners, exhibitions and charity fundraisers for good reason – there really are endless possibilities in this venue.
5. Sky Garden
According to the recent Paddington film, a Londoner has 107 different ways to say that it is raining. If you want to avoid getting wet however and bring the outside in, the Sky Garden is the place for you. 155 metres up, London’s highest landscaped garden provides panoramic views across the capital in breath-taking surroundings. Sky Garden offers two spaces for hire: exclusive hire of the whole garden (up to 600 guests) or the dedicated event platform, City Garden on level 36 (up to 250 guests). These beautiful spaces are complimented by the provision of ‘edible stories’ through elite catering supplier rhubarb, ensuring your guests are left with both visual and culinary memories.
So there you have it, five very different but equally fantastic large event venues and we’ve only scratched the surface of the possibilities available. That’s why at Conference Care we have a team of venue finding experts purposely dedicated to London; we’re constantly visiting new venues to keep our knowledge fresh and relevant. If you need a hand finding the perfect space for your large event in London get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org – they’d be very happy to help!