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Event organisers have been salivating over the potential of Battersea Power Station for years. Acres of space around an iconic landmark in central London: what’s not to love? The long-awaited opening of the gates in autumn 2009 saw the launch of a handful of superlative spaces in and around the famous building. We particularly like the Boiler House, a striking temporary structure that sits inside the Power Station walls, with a clear gable end and roof section giving up to 1,000 guests dramatic views of the towering chimneys above. There’s ample parking as well as AV kit and furniture hire on site and plenty of outdoor space to play with for larger events.
A new year-long exhibition has opened at the Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms. Commemorating 70 years since the War Rooms became operational, ‘Undercover: Life in Churchill’s Bunker’ lifts the lid on what life was like for government and military strategists working in the shelter during World War II. Previously unseen documents, letters, personal stories and artefacts have been unveiled and make a fascinating distraction as part of a day delegate package or boardroom meeting.
Photographic studios often make for fantastic event spaces but few are as handsome as Sunbeam Studios in Ladbroke Grove. A Grade II-listed former Edwardian showroom, it’s teeming with period features, including a curved vaulted ceiling, huge arched window and feature staircase leading to a mezzanine to break up the space. We particularly like the fact you can drive right up to the entrance and step out of a car straight onto the grand entrance steps.
We love the new afternoon tea package, TLSee, at Swissotel The Howard (tel: 020 7584 6601). London's iconic landmarks, such as Big Ben and the London Eye, as well as black cabs and old Routemaster buses, have been fashioned into delicious shortbread biscuits and 3D chocolates. Served up from 1pm to 5.30pm, they make the perfect pit-stop for meetings at the Temple-based hotel.
Following the high-profile launch of the Darwin Centre, the Natural History Museum has announced the names of three new caterers who will be joining its preferred supplier list in January 2010. With over 50 applications submitted for tender, The Recipe, Payne & Gunter and Table Talk are the lucky three who join the list of the Museum’s existing caterers, all of whom have also secured a contract for a further three years.
The Soho House Group bravely launched its latest venture, Pizza East (tel: 020 7729 1888), to an audience of critics and chefs in conjunction with the London Restaurant Festival Awards last night. And guess what? It paid off. An army of well-drilled staff served up delicious samplers from the well-priced menu and it’s clear to see the new site can cope with a crowd. There are plenty of long tables for groups and the moodily lit space with its open kitchen and centrepiece bar works a treat for large, exclusive-use events. Well worth checking out.
We are loving The Groucho Club's new look, unveiled after a busy refurbishment programme over the summer months. All areas have had a fresh lick of paint and new carpets but of most interest to event bookers is the transformation of the beautiful 80-seater Dining Room (pictured) into a more contemporary and elegant event space, and the 18-seater Mackintosh Room, which now looks far more warm and welcoming for boardroom meetings and private dining.
With a 3am licence, central Camden location and live blues seven nights a week, The Blues Kitchen (tel: 020 7387 5277) has definitely cooked up a recipe for success. Clever interior design gives the venue a laid-back 'lived-in' feel, while soul food and one of London's most extensive Bourbon lists are sure to please guests when you hire the venue exclusively for 300 people. Alternatively, hire an area for a minimum of 15 if you want to join the trendy Camden regulars.
The new-look Absolute Icebar launched this week, adopting a frosty nautical theme. Redesigned every six months to keep both ice and design fresh, the whole venue, including downstairs bar and restaurant Below Zero and the minus five degrees ice chamber itself, has taken on a marine slant, with underwater effects and visuals throughout. The venue is available for exclusive hire for 270.
We were seriously impressed by the £7m revamp of the Grand Connaught Rooms (tel: 020 7405 7811), viewed at the Principal Hayley-owned venue last Thursday. Formerly the New Connaught Rooms, the stand-out space is the Grand Hall, spectacularly restored to its former glory and holding 700 people for a dinner. A new restaurant, Tempus, features a private dining room while the Covent Garden Suite and 11 meeting rooms have all enjoyed a contemporary facelift.
Chop'd (tel: 020 7626 3706), the UK's leading gourmet salad bar chain, is bringing its delicious lunchtime treats to your door with its new office delivery service. Six postcodes are covered - W1, NW1, E1, EC3, WC1 and E14 - and prices are very reasonable, starting at £4 for a Tuna Nicoise. Those near Selfridges are in luck too, as Chop'd now has a concession in the store's Food Hall.
RIBA has recently been granted a wedding licence. Couples looking to tie the knot will be able to choose from seven spaces accommodating up to 100. The Art Deco wedding package starts from just £115 per person and includes room hire of the art deco Florence Hall, as well as a vintage car, a Silver Wedding catering package, half a bottle of house wine per guest, a wedding cake and live jazz.